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Ski Area News Archive October thru December 2010
hosted by Rick Bolger . with correspondents throughout the world
For current news, please click here. 2010 News Archive is below this notice...
Easy Way to Save Money on Lift Tickets: It's a "clearinghouse" of sorts that many ski areas use to raise cash by selling discount tickets in advance, called Liftopia . If you haven't used this service, it is important to know for certain that you are going on a specific date. The deeply discounted tickets must be purchased in advance; generally up to two days out. The sticking point is that some ski resorts only make a limited number of tickets available to Liftopia for any given day, so they might be sold out if you wait too long...so, as soon as you are absolutely, positively sure that you will be skiing on a certain day, click this link to get deeply discounted tickets . I've used this service many times, but again, ONLY when I am absolutely certain I will be skiing on a specific date. You need to have access to a printer to print out your receipt, and you have to take identification with you to the mountain. I've knocked a third off the price of some tickets. Not every area participates, but it's well worth checking if you've got a date nailed down.
12/30/2010 Mostly sobering news from around the country today, about how dangerous this sport can be...First off, a little more insight on the Sugarloaf derailment, which is actually called a "deropement." [Correction of some early info reported yesterday, the resort has not resumed operations on the Spillway East chair] Learning that the chain of events seems to be as follows. Probably started when high overnight winds had the ropeway (the cable) off alignment on the tower 8 sheave train (those are the rolling wheels). Patrollers noticed this after the lift was started, and called in lift mechanics. One stopped the lift while another climbed the tower and attempted to re-align the rope. They restarted the lift slowly to allow the rope to find its proper path. The rope did not re-settle as hoped, so the mechanic on Tower 8 ordered the lift closed. They restarted it at ultra-slow speed to unload the passengers, who by now had been sitting awhile. Unfortunately -- and here we'll quote Sugarloaf -- "Shortly after starting the lift at reduced speed, the lift cable deroped from Tower 8, leaving the cable suspended between Tower 9 and Tower 7. Lacking the support of the sheave wheels on Tower 8, five chairs struck the snow below." The mechanic radioed to shut down the lift, and evacuation procedures began for the remaining 150 passengers. Kudos to Sugarloaf mountain ops, patrollers, ambassadors, and the Carrabassett Valley Fire Department for responding smoothly and professionally. The total number injured now stands at 8. Monday morning quarterbacks insist the lift should've been shut down and evacuated, but I wonder if they would've said that whilst freezing on a stationary chair. Biggest takeaway is, let's be thankful that no one was seriously hurt...speaking of lift evacs, last night was the scene of an emergency shutdown and lift evac at Minnesota's Spirit Mountain. No injuries; a few guests even jumped down to soft snow. Kudos again to patrollers and Spirit Mountain personnel for handling the incident so smoothly...more happy endings, this time at Montana's Snowbowl Ski Resort, where two skiers out of bounds were caught up in an avalanche. Although injured, both men were able to hike out for treatment...sad news from Missoula, the young man injured Tuesday at Discovery Ski Area was scheduled to be taken off life support yesterday. 21 year old James Adie of Phillipsburg MT was an experienced skier -- actually a Discovery instructor -- and was wearing a helmet. Adie will leave a lasting and important legacy; the young man is an organ donor...The San Bernardino coroner has announced that the boarder who died at Mountain High on Monday was not wearing a helmet...back to Maine, for some better news: The US Cross Country Championships return to Black Mountain of Maine next week for the first time since 2004. The event runs from Jan. 2-8 in Rumford. And no, this isn't the Black Mountain in NH we report on. While both ski areas are associated with world class XC, Black Mt/ME has a state-of-the-art race course on premises. Black Mt/NH is "attached" to Jackson XC, and the race course is down the road...neglected to report yesterday from Bormio that US Ski Team member Travis Ganong got his first career World Cup points by finishing 20th in the downhill.
12/29/2010 Biggest news in recent days might be the derailment at Sugarloaf yesterday morning. The Spillway East lift is a Borvig fixed grip double that dates to 1975, with a modification in 1983. It is of course regularly inspected by the Maine Board of Elevator and Tramway Safety, and was inspected and given the green light this morning. Seven passengers were hospitalized following the derailment. Kudos to Sugarloaf, which has been thoroughly transparent following the accident...the derailment follows a major snowstorm in the east, which has given rise to epic conditions. Some New England resorts, like the small but mighty Bousquets in Massachusetts, are not yet 100% open but are providing darn near perfect conditions with powder stashes here and there...others, like massive Mount Snow have all but one or two natural snow trails open. Sneaux is at 97% with all lifts flying but one...moving south through the east, Belleayre has all but two non-essential trails open...New Jersey's Mountain Creek has all but 7 of its 44 trails open...Pennsy's Camelback is at 100%...and in Virginia, Wintergreen is also firing on all cylinders at 100% open...love these kinds of reports...rumors are that the jerky doctor from Decatur, Scott Filler, is banned for life from all six Vail owned resorts. Filler is the guy who punched out a little girl for accidentally crashing into his son. If this is true, we say "job well done" to Vail, which isn't something we say often....in World Cup news, Austria's Mickey Walchhofer won the Bormio downhill...awful news from Friday, Christmas Eve, as a collision claimed the lives of two people at Wyoming's Hogadon Ski Area. The Natrona County Sheriff's Office is investigating the deaths of Craig Shirley, a 23-year-old snowboarder who collided with 5-year-old Elise Johnson on a black-diamond run called Dreadnaught. Both died of internal injuries.
12/23/2010 40" of new snow means that Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort on Mt. Charleston will open for the season today. The deep stuff needed quite a bit of avalanche prevention work, roads had to be cleared, as did buried and overloaded lifts...With almost "too much" snow in the west and definitely too little in the east, it's surprising to say that we've just enjoyed the best pre-Christmas season in recent memory. If we look right down the middle, the Michigan resorts are mostly running full bore; even all-natural Mt. Bohemia is projecting for a Dec 26 opening. One of our faves, Nub's Nob has converted one of its hills to a dedicated race training area, complete with a high speed rope tow that will rocket skiers back up almost as fast as they can ski down. Kudos to Nubs....Lutsen is looking good with 8" of fresh snowfall over the last two days. Another Minnesota favorite, Coffee Mill has everything going except the Auggie's Chute run... Despite the lack of natural in the east, cold temps have allowed technology to fill in where Mother Nature has been lax. Killington is open clear down to Rt. 4, Okemo and Mount Snow are about 65%; Stratton has just about everything open but the natural trails. Speaking of New England, we neglected to report that with the new ownership at Wildcat, they'll be cross-honoring lift tickets at Attitash and vice-versa. In other words, ski the morning at the 'cat, break for lunch, and hit the steeps at Attitash in the afternoon....Mammoth Mountain CA needs just 14" before the end of the year to make this the snowiest December in recorded history at the resort. While that would be a godsend in the east, at this point it's a mere dusting in the Sierras. Five feet of fresh at Alpine Meadows put that Tahoe resort right behind Mammoth for most snowfall in the country right now...just about the only place waiting on white stuff is the terrific Arizona Snow Bowl in Flagstaff, which has such a shortage of snow that some the faithful have tried earning their turns by hiking, but even that has proven fruitless...a 24 year old Longmont, CO man was seriously injured yesterday at Eldora Mountain Resort after a collision with a woman on an intermediate slope. The woman suffered a leg injury while the man was airlifted to St. Anthony Central Hospital...a Maine newspaper reporter is suing Auburn's Lost Valley Ski Area for pain and suffering following a crash in a summertime ride attraction...that thug we reported on from Decatur GA, Scott Filler, is being officially charged with misdemeanor child abuse after punching a 14 year old girl in the face at Beaver Creek. We can't prove it, but this dude appears to be one overprivileged jerkoff prick...Merry freakin' Christmas Scott...in the Poconos we see small but mighty Shawnee looking to have 100% of terrain open for the vacation week...kudos to Lindsey Vonn, just named the Associated Press' Female Athlete of the Year...did some skiing in the Catskills yesterday, found fabulous early season conditions at Belleayre with about 2/3 of the terrain available.
12/21/2010 Remember earlier this month we reported that Yakima Washington's White Pass was adding a bunch of backcountry acreage called Paradise Basin? Well, it's been open 10 days now, and in that time 14 people have managed to become hopelessly lost in the wilderness. Six snowboarders found themselves having to ride and hoof seven miles to civilization. But the worst offenders are middle aged skiers, according to the White Pass ski patrol. (OK, score one for the riders) The resort says the boundary is well marked and that the skiers are ducking ropes. Some regulars are saying it isn't so well marked. Sounds like a good time...Neglected to report that small but mighty Mt. Pleasant in Edinboro, PA (that's western PA) opened this weekend with some serious lake effects snow and fabulous packed powder conditions. This is one of those little, hard-working areas that caters to locals but deserves support if you happen to be in the neighborhood...the World Cup ladies were in Courcheval this morning for a slalom event. Austria's Marlies Schild was on top, followed by talented Finn Tanja Poutiainen and Slovakian great Tina Maze. Highest American finisher was Julia Mancuso in 21st, but the real bright spot for team USA today was Resi Stiegler's 23rd place. Resi -- rhymes with crazy -- has been seriously hurt for a while now and we're pleased to see her back. A real talent on the technical courses...Bizarre story out of Beaver Creek yesterday, where the Birds of Prey stepped aside for the deranged behavior of Decatur GA skier Scott Filler. Filler, age 41, seems to have overreacted when a 14 year old girl accidentally collided with his 4 year old son. Help the kids out? Naw, he jumped on the little girl and punched her in the face. Isn't that what a thoughtful dad does for his kid? If the report is true, we hope the jackass rots in jail for a while...off tomorrow to scope out conditions in the NY metro area Catskills; next report Thursday.
12/20/2010 Monday greetings...good news/bad news kind of day...First the good, Idaho's troubled Tamarack Resort will officially open for the season today, and folks, it's snowing like crazy...bad news: Vail and Beaver Creek ticket prices crossed the century note threshold as the resorts move into the holidays...Best bet in the country right now? It was positively dumping in Steamboat over the weekend, putting down fabulous sugary champagne snow all over the mountain...good news: watching our favorite New England ski area Black Mountain open with two routes available, another small but mighty NH area Whaleback has a white ribbon of death but it's in good shape. Across the river, Vermont's Magic Mountain had its best early opening in recent memory; glad to see this underrated hill moving in the right direction...bad news: central Maine's Eaton Mountain, will offer tubing only this year, no skiing or boarding. Still, it's a step forward from last year when the mountain was totally shuttered...good news: same old same old in World Cup news this morning, Lindsey Vonn is on top of the standings once again after two wins this weekend in Val d'Isere. Vonn garnered top spot in the Super Combined yesterday after winning the downhill Saturday. Austrians Elizabeth Goergl, Nicole Hosp and Anna Fenninger followed in the super combi, with Maria Riesch in fifth place. Riesch was a disappointing 24th on Saturday, which put Lindsey within striking distance. Barring injury, I don't see her giving up the overall. Julia Mancuso finished 15th yesterday, 8th on Saturday which has her poised in the 4th spot. Super Jules is driven to push that into the top three -- and I say she does -- as long as she can grab those sorts of numbers throughout the season...great news: the men were in Val Gardena where the downhill Saturday had Switzerland's Silvan Zurbriggen grab his second career victory, followed by Austria's Romed Baumann and Swiss great Didier Cuche. The win pushed Zurbriggen past Mickey Walchhofer for the overall lead. Interesting to note that Team Canada put four in the top twenty. Yesterday was GS action, which means Ted Ligety was large and in charge. Ted the Shred was second after the first run, then took control for his first career victory on the fabled Gran Risa course. The win pushed him past Zurbriggen for the overall. Ted is the first to admit that he's not up to champion caliber on the speed events, and has no real claim to the overall. But the important thing is that he's skiing GS in some pretty rarified air, needing just one more victory to tie Bode Miller's career GS mark. One other thing to note from the weekend was the fine performance of Laurenne Ross, who finished 16th yesterday and 23rd on Saturday...sad news: yesterday at NH's Cannon Mountain where Joshua Vigeant, 31, of Pembroke, N.H was killed while snowboarding. Helmet pundits are quick to point out that he wasn't wearing one. Boarders, you gotta wear 'em. Skiers, not so much. Young skiers yes. But a boarder without a helmet is just asking for trouble; lots of head impacts on a board. Incidentally, this was the second fatality in a week at the NH icebox.
12/17/2010 News of all news: Ski area reopens! Eagle Point in Southern Utah, once known as Elk Meadows, cranked up a double chair yesterday after the mountain was quiet for eight long seasons...And...Our favorite small but mighty hill in the deep south, Alabama's Cloudmont has opened for the season! I'd like a mint julep, please...Busy the past few days scoping out the Poconos, which may not be the top of the ladder in the ski biz but those hills sure do a lot with what they got. Camelback especially has been covering their trails nicely. Dustings of overnight snow the past few days and super cold temps have made for some exceptional early season skiing in the New York metro area, maybe the best early season conditions in two decades...Vail was fabulous on Monday; a day at Loveland on Sunday was blustery to say the least...in New England, troubled Tenney sold at auction yesterday for a modest half million dollars. The buyer, an investment type from NY area, plans to sell to a developer. That's how it's done folks: buy low, sell high...in World Cup news, the ladies' Super G in Val d'Isere was cancelled earlier today. Overall standings remain Riesch/Vonn/Poutiainen...in other ladies' news, rising starlet Lara Gut was suspended by Swiss-Ski for the World Cup races in Semmering at the end of December; she criticized head coach Mauro Pini in a public forum and that is a no-no...on the men's side, the boys did get today's Super G in at Val Gardena; Austrian Ace Mickey Walchhofer finished 7/10 ahead of Germany's Stephan Keppler, Canadian Erik Guay showed a nice third. This is Walchhofer's fourth win at the Italian course, tying him with great Franz Klammer in lifetime wins there. Mickey is a favorite to win the downhill tomorrow, which would vault him into rarified air for sure. Benni Raich was 4th and moves into second overall behind teammate Walchhofer. Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal DNFd with a crash near the end, but still holds on third in the overalls. Bode Miller eeked out a 16th place finish, a pleasant surprise considering that he almost biffed near the top of the piste...skiing great Jimmy Zell of Jackson Hole Air Force fame passed away yesterday after battling ALS for the past few years. Zell was one of the extreme skiing pioneers before he was paralyzed in a 1996 paragliding accident. The Jackson Hole Air Force was known for flaunting boundaries and rules, and leaping down lines previously thought unskiable. Zell was 48 years old...Colorado officials say the $300 fine for ducking ropes is no longer enough to stop skiers and riders who want to venture into dangerous terrain. They're pushing in the statehouse to bump the ticket to $1000. Summit County Sheriff John Minor sez he cites about 80 skiers each season.
12/13/2010 Wind, wet snow, rain, sleet, warm temps, arctic temps: chances are, unless you were in the usual Utah or Colorado powder zones, you enjoyed one of these less-than-ideal skiing conditions this weekend...yesterday things got so nasty that Mountain Creek and a bunch of other mid-Atlantic resorts banged it up for the afternoon. The move was mostly about preserving snow; Creek is in good shape and should have the guns back on tonight for the NY metro area skiers and riders. A little bit north, the same skiers are finding great early season conditions at Belleayre, where it is snowing today...in Michigan, couple of deal days coming up at Ski Brule, and in Minnesota we see that Lutsen will go to 7 days/wk operations this Friday...in New England, Attitash opened Saturday, as did sister resort Wildcat. Although snow was all around, the Cat had just one "white ribbon of death" down from the summit. Fear not, they'll be at 100% soon enough. Wildcat is closed for the week but goes to 7 day operations Friday. Best and most open terrain in the Granite State right now appears to be Loon, thanks to a real aggressive snowmaking campaign...our first-hand report from Sugarloaf is that it's still early season, and not yet enough terrain if you're faced with a long drive. That too we expect to change any day now...first hand report from Killington from this weekend is wow, fabulous...Okemo didn't overwhelm anyone but had a LOT of terrain opening considering the dearth of natural snow thus far...
12/8/2010 Cold temps continue in the east; Mid-Atlantic areas such as Snowshoe are being dumped on...Blue Mountain Pennsy opens Friday...snow guns blowing like the hammers of hell in NJ at Mountain Creek and Hidden Valley...in Maine a foot of fresh at Sugarloaf in two days...Jay Peak was positively pounded last night, about 2' or so...and now for a wrap up of the World Cup action this weekend, which started as a bust with Chemmy Alcott breaking her leg in Lake Louise and then the Birds of Prey Downhill cancelled due to high winds at Beaver Creek. The gals did their 1st DH on the Mens Olympic course with Maria Riesch winning, followed by Lindsey Vonn and Elisabeth Goergl. Julia Mancuso nailed down a respectable 4th place. The second downhill event on Saturday had Riesch in first, Vonn in second, and Dominique Gisin of Switzerland rounding out the podium. See a pattern here? Super Jules was 6th, again good. Things really went crazy on Sunday with the Super G event, Vonn on top followed by -- you guessed it -- Riesch and Mancuso. Yep. Maria and Lindsey are now 1-2 in the overalls. Meanwhile the men in Colorado were all over the place; the Super G saw Austria's Georg Streitberger followed by Adrien Theaux of France, and Didier Cuche of Switzerland. Overall leader Mario Scheiber was fifth; top American was Steven Nyman in 25th. Ligety, Weibrecht, Miller and Sullivan all DNFd the first run...a couple of 'em at the same gate! Team USA turned it around on Sunday when Ted Ligety stomped the GS, almost a full half-second ahead of 2nd place finisher Kjetil Jansrud of Norway. Marcel Hirscher of Austria was third. The win moved Ted the Shred into the top ten overall. Bode is no real threat in 21st right now, but it's a respectable place considering his age. Benni Raich, by comparison, is another oldster and in 19th. Both have the experience and guile to finish in the top ten before all is said and done. The real story this season is probably the same as it was last season; barring injury it will be Riesch and Vonn battling for the top spot. Women's ski racing is their world right now, the rest of the ladies are just in it. But it sure would be cool to see a Mancuso or Rebensburg remain in the mix...
12/7/2010 Biggest news right now resort-wise is the snow hitting the northeast; as usual the area that has benefited the most is Jay Peak with Sugarloaf not far behind. Temps are allowing Okemo to catch up and will probably pass Killington in terms of open terrain by the weekend. Although I must say, short of driving to Jay or the Loaf, K-Mart is the place for easterners to be right now...Mount Snow has a bad bearing in the Summit Express lift, so it's a fixed grip ride on the old Summit Local until they have it back in biz...Facebook Friday this week at Sunday River...Facebook Friday at Okemo...dumping at Vail right now.
12/3/2010 Rough news from the women's world cup scene, downhill practice in Lake Louise had Brit star Chemmy Alcott suffer a broken leg yesterday when she lost control airborne in the "coaches' corner" section. Fortunately, Chemmy's skis popped, but the fracture is nasty just the same. Switzerland's Dominique Gisin had fastest practice; Mancuso and Vonn in top ten, overall leader Maria Riesch second....in Beaver Creek, Austrian Hans Grugger was fastest in yesterday's practice; Bode Miller was 3/10ths behind in 4th. Unfortunately the start of today's downhill has been lowered to the Super G start due to high winds...now here's a cool thing for World Cup fans, FantasySkiRacer.com, created by US star Steve Nyman...fly in the ointment at Stratton this morning, mechanical troubles with the Ursa Express chair. On the bright side, thigh muscles on some early season skiers will appreciate that news. The Ursa absolutely motors; it's one of the best places to ratchet up big daily vertical numbers. The crew at Stratton -- which I can personally tell you is top notch -- is working to restore service as I type this...NJ's small but mighty Hidden Valley is set to crank its fan guns this weekend...in NY, Windham opens for the season tomorrow morning...sad news from Aspen, where the AP reports that a SkiCo employee, 22-year-old Kiera Tongish was killed when she struck a tree Thursday at Snowmass. Tongish was wearing a helmet...in Washington, White Pass opens its 767 acre Paradise Basin expansion tomorrow.
12/2/2010 Another small victory for the good people who run underrated Arizona Snow Bowl near Flagstaff; a federal judge has thrown out the latest legal maneuverings from a group trying to stop the use of reclaimed water in the snowmaking system...Speaking of artificial snow, the manmade in the northeast somehow survived the rains yesterday, which were beginning to stray into Biblical proportions before moving out. Even soaked Belleayre has managed to reopen its two trails...at Mount Snow they're actually grateful for the rain, considering that their snowmaking ponds were so desperately in need of water. Sneaux's army of fan guns do suck a lot of liquid...race fans will want to tune in to NBC on Sunday afternoon for the men's World Cup downhill on the Birds of Prey course at Beaver Creek. Even if you aren't a race fan, this is an exciting course that really showcases the incredible speeds these skiers attain. Yesterday's training on the course was cancelled partway through, but not before USA's Travis Ganong put down a surprising top ten speed...Middlefield CT got a half million dollar grant from the state yesterday, for the purpose of rebuilding Powder Ridge, a local ski area that shuttered in 2007....Deer Valley kicks off its season opening this weekend with a benefit called the "Celebrity Skifest," which is something of a B-list group at best. At least the skiers are cool, including Steve Mahre, Phil Mahre, Tommy Moe and Deer Valley's ski Ambassador, Heidi Voelker...Pennsy's Seven Springs is set to re-open Saturday
12/1/2010 December dawns disastrous in the northeast -- at least for now. Cold temps are supposedly right on the heels of this storm, and the Vermont resorts should be back on the guns tonight; Maine areas will follow tomorrow. Killington looks to have close to 30 trails open for the weekend...at Beaver Creek Switzerland's Didier Cuche was quickest in the first training run for the Birds of Prey downhill. Meanwhile in Lake Louise France's Marion Rolland was tops in the first DH training there, with Julia Mancuso just 3/10ths behind. Perhaps the most significant news from Lake Louise is that injured Canadian star Kelly Vanderbeek is back on skis. She won't be competing just yet, but we're still glad to see her click in after a nasty training crash in Val d'Isere destroyed her knee.
11/30/2010 The FIS World Cup circuit is back in Beaver Creek as the men have a training run today for the Birds of Prey downhill. This trail has rapidly gained traction as one of the great courses in the season. Not quite up to the legendary status of the Hahnenkamm or Wengen, but well on its way...Great news out of the Seattle area, where Stevens Pass will open tomorrow morning...in southern Oregon, Mt. Ashland has announced a Friday opening...yesterday we reported some Michigan openings, neglected to mention that Pine Knob Ski Resort in Independence Township, Alpine Ski Valley in White Lake and Brighton Ski Area in Brighton all opened this past weekend...in Montana, Discovery, Great Divide Snowsports and Big Sky spun on Turkey Day, Bridger Bowl and Montana Snow Bowl cranked up for the holiday but closed for the week, will resume ops on Friday. Great Divide has been sort of open for a couple weeks and ramped it up for the holiday. Teton Pass and Whitefish will drop the ropes on Saturday. Flathead Valley residents aren't exactly waiting til then; reports have a lot of locals hiking Whitefish to earn their turns...looking eastward, word from WV is that Snowshoe is now calling for a Dec 10 opening due to unseasonably warm temps...interesting news out of California is that the upper portion of Thimble Peak known as "The Cirque", at Kirkwood Ski Resort will be open for limited guided tours this season...in British Columbia, a developer is working with the Chehalis First Nation to expand modest Hemlock Valley Ski Area into a massive resort tied into a nearby lake, offering year round skiing, boating, golf, shopping, condos galore, and of course the requisite Potemkin ski village. Either he's crazy, or the economy is really improving.
11/29/2010 Wonderful cold weather this weekend gave us a rash of openings all across the country; even Michigan's popular Mt. Holly was able to crank up the guns and spin the lifts. Boyne Highlands spun 'em Wednesday...WI has Trollhaugen open...in MN, Lutsen is now up to 4 lifts, Wild Mountain is also open for business...Tahoe area is still a mess from the storms; great skiing but not easy to get there...speaking of western lakes with treacherous travel, Salt Lake got 8" of snow this weekend; Snowbird had most of its lifts going, as did Solitude. Weather caused over 300 traffic accidents in the region...speaking of traffic, New York city's close biggie, Belleayre is indeed open, but heavy rains are forecasted for the Big Apple early this week. Windham and Hunter are holding off as colder temps are supposed to follow as we ease into December...a bit further north, Gore has a tenth of its terrain open, Whiteface about the same...Killington continues to crank the manmade; guns have turned to Skye Peak and the big wide fields of Snowshed. Elsewhere in the state, Stratton opened with fantastic conditions and no lines; Okemo is now top-to-bottom. In Brattleboro, some jerk stole five team jackets while the HS nordic bunch was training yesterday morning...in NH, Loon is the best place to be right now, lots of open terrain. Across the Kanc, Attitash is now calling for a Dec 4 opening...FIS World Cup news, at the Aspen Winternationals Slalom event, Swede Maria Pietilae-Holmner beat German star Maria Riesch by almost 7/10ths. Finland's Tanja Poutiainen rounded out the podium. This was Pietilae-Holmner's first WC victory. Interesting also that in her 16 races at Aspen, Poutiainen has podiumed in half. Not sure if that's a real verb, but whatever. Lindsey Vonn garnered her first points of the season, finishing 8th. Maria Riesch leads the overall standings, which is par for the course at this stage of the season. The feel-good story of the day was the return to competition for Resi Stiegler, competing in her 1st event in over a year. On Saturday, the GS event saw France's Tessa Worley grab her third career victory, second at Aspen. Germans Viktoria Rebensburg and Katharin Hoelzl went 2-3. Vonn, who doesn't GS well, skied off, and is probably glad to put Ruthie's Run behind her once again. Julia Mancuso put points on the board with a respectable 8th place finish...in Lake Louise, the men put on a good show; yesterday's Super G was all about Switzerland as Tobias Gruenenfelder and Carlo Janka topped the podium, followed by Austrians Romed Baumann and Mario Scheiber. Then it was back to Switzerland as Didier Cuche took fifth. The home team was a bit perturbed as Manuel Osborne-Paradis, Erik Guay, and Robbie Dixon went 15th, 16th, and 17th, respectively. Canadian fans had hoped for a much better showing. Bode Miller finished 12th. Earlier in the weekend, Austrian Mickey Walchhofer won the downhill, followed by teammate Scheiber. Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway was third. Bode took 8th; Jan Hudec's 11th was the top Canadian showing. Scheiber is presently atop the overall standings.
11/24/2010 Dreadful news from Wolf Creek Colorado where ski patrol director Scott Kay was killed Monday in an avalanche. Wolf Creek shut down for the day, then re-opened Tuesday in Kay's honor. A memorial fund has been established for his family...Women's World Cup racing action in Aspen this weekend will be broadcast live on NBC Sunday at 1:00 PM, don't miss it. Speaking of Aspen, SkiCo spins the lifts for the public starting tomorrow. There's a soft-opening for a nice fundraiser today on the Ajax hill...Michigan is getting the snow this morning; Boyne looks like a winter wonderland; elsewhere Brule has plenty of trails open, snow is blowing, snow is falling, it's all good...in New England, I continue to be impressed by Killington's "comeback" if you will, not sure what else to call it. They're being very aggressive with snowmaking and opening terrain, planning to add lifts & terrain at Ram's Head and Snowshed by the weekend...in New York, Belleayre has an on-again/off-again thing going with the snowmaking, all dictated by fluctuating temps. They're planning to open this weekend, just not sure when...same temp problems in much of New Hampshire, however Bretton Woods was able to open yesterday and has snow guns going as I type this...down the hill on 302, Attitash is trying to get there but not making much headway...Tahoe's Kirkwood set to open today with 72" of fresh pow up high, do the math; Dodge Ridge opens too. Revitalized and re-named Sierra Summit/China Peak spins lifts on Friday, with epic coverage. Sugar Bowl opens tomorrow, claiming eight feet...couple days ago I expressed doubts about Okemo opening in Vermont, well they did, so I have to give them kudos for making a go of it....storms in Idaho have put Bogus Basin on tap to open for Turkey Day...in the southwest, Taos opens today, a bit north and Crested Butte is doing the same. Steamboat opens this morning with Scholarship Day, a fundraiser for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. Lift tickets are $30, or $20 for lower-mountain access; as a special fundraiser day, season passes aren't valid. Hey that's fine, it's a good cause and a day earlier than the pass is promised for. We applaud that sort of thing...snowfall has taken Utah's massive The Canyons by surprise. In the midst of expansion efforts, the Park City sprawl will not be open as planned, and some passholders are pissed...back east, mighty Mount Snow will open tomorrow. We're also pleased to report that nearby Living Memorial Park in Brattleboro is ready and will operate the t-bar this season; volunteers have done the spiff-up, paint-up and general prep work and are waiting for ol' man Winter...in Washington the storm is wreaking havoc with the roads, but on the bright side, Snoqualmie's Summit West will spin lifts tomorrow...for our XC fans, Mason City IA will have expanded trails at nearby Wilkinson Pioneer Park, currently working on two more miles of terrain...Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, and many prayers for our troops overseas. Our next report will be Monday, November 29. Have a great weekend...
11/23/2010 The snow is dumping like crazy in the Tahoe area, but Mother Nature has been pushed off the front page with the announcement that the Cushing family has approved a deal that will sell Squaw Valley USA to a Colorado-based investment firm called KSL Capital Partners LLC. KSL will be the majority shareholder in the ski operations, the Village at Squaw Valley and related real estate holdings...Snows continue throughout the Pacific Northwest, the Washington State areas bearing the brunt...In NH, the first bit of tarnish is appearing on Peak Resorts' ownership of Wildcat, denying that it will honor any of the 110 "lifetime" passes issued by previous ownership. The USFS says it wasn't permitted, however, they did nothing when the passes were sold. It will get ugly before it's all settled...in VT, Pico Peak announced that it will be the state's first smoke-free resort, as of January 1 2011. Nice to know you won't be sharing a chairlift with some moron puffing away...in Colorado, Telluride and Sunlight will be opening for the holiday; Telluride has a really cool donation thing going for opening day tomorrow...Alaska's massive Alyeska is set to open tomorrow, unfortunately rains came through yesterday and terrain will be limited...across the country in Maine, Sugarloaf couldn't run the snowguns yesterday due to warming temps, but added to its base anyway with a wintry mix of weather...something called "Green Valley Holdings" out of Eagle, ID claims to have put in a $40 million bid on beleaguered Tamarack Resort. Co-owner Jean Pierre Boespflug, himself doing a bit of juggling to salvage the thing, called the offer an "unispired circus."
11/22/2010 Storm delivered to Big Blue as expected; Squaw Valley USA got four feet up high. Kirkwood, Boreal, Homewood and Sierra-At-Tahoe all pulled down close to five feet. East side resorts didn't quite get the same pounding, but more is on the way in the next day or so. Heavenly for example, got a foot, same deal at Mount Rose...moving south in CA, Big Bear, Baldy, Mountain High all received 4" of fresh. Not much, but it will be quite helpful...Word from New England is that Okemo will spin the lifts tomorrow (I have doubts about that) while Mount Snow will open Friday after Turkey Day...Killington continues to show its renewed commitment to being the "beast of the east", adding a couple more trails on Snowdon. Another of the big bad eastern areas, Sugarloaf opened yesterday with the pleasurable Tote Road route. Temps have warmed up in the northeast this morning, but snow guns should be back on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. At that point the 'Loaf will turn attentions to Hayburner and Candyside...8" of fresh snow in Summit County; word has it that A-Basin will open the Pally lift at noon today...Mt. Hood Meadows opened and promptly received another storm...Looks like the best pre-Thanksgiving opening in much of the country, however the northeast remains sketchy.
11/19/2010 Think Blue: The biggest story right now is at Lake Tahoe, where meteorologists are calling for a storm that will bring 3 to 4 feet tonight! Regardless, Heavenly and Mt. Rose open today, Squaw and Northstar tomorrow. Boreal opened a while back, and plans to add terrain after the storm. A bit south has Mammoth with four lifts open thanks to two feet of Sierra Cement that fell last week...Moving north, Crystal opens today, Mt. Hood Meadows opens tomorrow, as does Mt. Baker. Mission Ridge and Mt. Bachelor are planning for next weekend. Forgive me for lumping WA and OR together. Snoqualmie and Stevens Pass both got dumped on, looking to next weekend...Moving eastward, Idaho's Lookout Pass opens today, first in the state. Back from the dead Teton Pass is talking about next week! That's fantastic...In the Wasatch, these storms stacked up over the Pacific will do their thing early next week; calling for another two feet at Alta and the Bird...Now to the opposite coast, temps in New England are low enough (for now) that snowmaking is underway at most of the major resorts; Mount Snow and Sugarbush were on yesterday morning, Okemo cranked it up last night...In New Hampshire, Bretton Woods re-fired yesterday, and is making some rumblings about a white ribbon of death this weekend...Attitash is studying the forecast and says it plans to start cranking the guns on Saturday night, with potential opening for next weekend...moving to Maine, Sugarloaf is back in business on Tote Road, Hayburner, and the superquad area. At Sunday River a dusting of natural added visual ambiance to the aural cacaphony of snow cannons. They continue with one WROD but are hinting at as many as five trails tomorrow...Ski swaps this weekend: Grand Junction CO tomorrow at the Lincoln Park Barn; Cody WY High School Alpine and Nordic ski teams will host a Ski Swap/Gear Sale/Movie night and Winter Sports Event today and tomorrow at the Stock Activities Center; Sandy OR tonight and tomorrow at the Sandy High School in the upstairs gym B, 17100 Bluff Road; Ludlow VT the annual Okemo swap in the base lodge, today thru Sunday; Newbury NH tomorrow at Mt. Sunapee...other events: Ski Dazzle - Sacramento Ski Show & Snowboard Expo at California Exposition & State Fair, tomorrow & Sunday; Las Vegas SnowJam/The Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Expo, at the Cashman Ctr all weekend; Phoenix, AZ Ski Pro Avalanche Sale all weekend at the Phoenix Convention Center South Bldg...FIS World Cup inspectors have inspected conditions at Aspen and given the go-ahead for next weekend, pending further inspectification of course...Next report Monday, November 22...have a terrific weekend. If you don't ski tomorrow, you'll be at least one week older when you do.
11/18/2010 Last night saw some temps drop in the northeast; Killington has some snow guns on this morning. Kudos to K-Mart for managing to stay open through some dreadfully warm temps...guns went on this morning at Sugarloaf, hoping to open early next week...Stratton is still calling for opening on the 24th, assuming they can re-fire the system before Saturday...New Hampshire's quaint Tenney Mountain has struggled for a couple decades, goes on the auction block Dec 15...in New York State, layoffs are being planned at state owned and operated Belleayre, which is rather surprising that it hasn't happened sooner, when you consider the disaster that is Albany...things are looking much better north of that, where Whiteface has some snowmaking happening...in Michigan, Ski Brule has another $20 ticket deal this weekend...Coloradoans ought to take advantage of Loveland's mail offer of 4 lift tickets for $119. You can't beat that with a stick...Telluride is doing some public survey work before drafting final expansion plans; responses are "yes" to a Delta Bowl chair, "no" to most everything else...some New Mexico openings announced, Sipapu on Saturday, Taos on Turkey Day...Alaska's Birch Hill will open tomorrow at noon.
11/17/2010 Coloradoans anxious to get to Winter Park this morning for the season opening found the way blocked. Berthoud Pass was closed due to inclement weather as of 6 AM and the state was trying to get the road open...All this snow has SkiCo rethinking its plans to open Aspen on Thanksgiving as usual; right now there's a bunch of powder atop Ajax Mt. They're looking at taking a page from Killington and opening up high this weekend, using Ajax Express for skiing and downloading on the gondola...add Eldora to the list of Col. areas that will open Friday...in Canada, Whistler will open with five lifts Friday...The State of Idaho Land Board has given the OK to have the troubled Tamarack Resort spin its lifts on a limited schedule this season. The whole mess will be sorted out by a bankruptcy judge...Canada's Robbie Dixon won the U.S. Ski Team Invitational giant slalom held at Vail on Monday...unrelated news from Vail, the local police will offer a free ski & board "registration" on Friday and Saturday; the ID number and yellow sticker is said to be a bit of a deterrent to theft. Vail PD says there were 91 thefts in town last season...did you know that Apex Mountain in British Columbia has a zamboni-maintained ice skating track that goes on a 1-kilometer loop through a forest? Now that's pretty neat.
11/16/2010 British royal Prince William and Kate Middleton announced their engagement, perhaps the most famous couple yet to have kicked off their romance on a ski trip. It was at Klosters in 2005 that they generally acted like lovebirds and sent the tabloids into a tizzy. Look, I don't make this stuff up. I just report it...Good to know that Pope Benedict has given skiing a big thumbs up, decreeing that it gives man an ideal opportunity to contemplate the creator and "recognize the greatness of God." We don't want to steal the Pope's thunder, but are compelled to point out that Arnold Lunn, the father of ski racing, said as much some 80 years ago. Either way, it's nice to have the Papal blessing for my Catholic friends...on an unrelated note, ski fans at southern Utah's Brian Head will be hosting a bonfire to appease Ullr, the "snow god". Honestly, it's all in good fun...The northeast continues to sweat it out, however, small but mighty Woodbury in CT managed to open a jib park on 100' or so of snow. On its own, this is nothing to get overly excited about, but it is important to recognize their efforts to build enthusiasm for the upcoming season...In World Cup news, Womens' Super Combined champ Kathrin Zettel of Austria will sit out the next two races to rest an injured knee...Winter Park spins the lifts tomorrow, top to bottom terrain...Vail to open this weekend with 7 lifts, also top to bottom...The proposed Jumbo Glacier Ski Resort in the Purcell Mountains of British Columbia got another setback yesterday when representatives of the Ktunaxa Nation declared their opposition to the project, and produced documents verifying their claim on the watershed. The region already has a heli operation, as well as Panorama and Kicking Horse resorts. Jumbo has been on the drawing board since 1991.
11/15/2010 World Cup slalom action this weekend in Levi Finland; for the ladies it was Austrain Marlies Schild, followed by Germany's Maria Riesch. Finn Tanja Poutiainen rounded out the podium with a showing for the home team. And another name we're going to see more and more of: Susanne Riesch finished fourth. On the men's side, slalom ace Jean-Baptiste Grange of France garnered top spot, followed by Swede Andre Myhrer and Croatia's Ivica Kostelic...In California, Mountain High defied our prediction and opened Friday, to which we say, sometimes we don't mind being wrong! Kudos to the Southern Cali fun spot...New York/Massachusetts area Ski Catamount was in the news this weekend as a plane crash near the summit claimed the lives of two New Englanders...speaking of New England, Killington is somehow holding on to its open terrain, while the northeast just waits for cold air to sloooowwwlly move in...no such problems in Minnesota, where Lutsen got about a foot of fresh at the summit; 8" at lakeside.
11/11/2010 A salute and sincere "Thank you for your service" to all of our Veterans...In the Sierras, Boreal reopened yesterday after 8" of white stuff fell. They had opened in October, but it was the usual WROD publicity thing; this time it's for real...Apparently Utah's Brighton will wait no longer, and will begin spinning lifts this morning, a day ahead of schedule. And in keeping with the national day of recognition for service men and women, Brighton will put you on the hill for free if you're a Veteran or active military. The rest of us will pay $62, but dammit that's a small price to pay considering we non-vets haven't put our lives on the line...Solitude will run tomorrow as planned, with a $49 ticket price to ride three lifts...Next canyon over, Snowbird Steamboat fired up a bunch of snowguns yesterday; our connection says more than 90 guns were on, perhaps as early as Tuesday night...Michigan's Ski Brule will have $20 tix this weekend...30th annual University of Nevada ski swap this weekend at the Livestock Events Center Exhibit Hall located at the Washoe County Fairgrounds...Virginia's Wintergreen is adding an ice-skating rink for the upcoming season...some whizbang in Colorado has been selling shares in a proposed Pikes Peak Ski Resort, ordered to cease and desist by state authorities...speaking of investments, Riverhead Resorts planned indoor ski park for Long Island, NY appears to be a dead issue.
11/10/2010 Southern California skiers heard a major roar in the San Gabriels yesterday as Mountain High cranked up its new snowmaking system, rumblings about a white ribbon of death this weekend but more likely next...in the San Bernardinos, Bear Mountain and Snow Summit have the guns going as well...Fresno local (sort of) China Peak has the guns adding to an early snowfall...most likely the best CA skiing this weekend will be up north at Mammoth, which will spin 4 lifts tomorrow. The Sierra giant is taking advantage of cold temps to blow snow, adding to a generous 14" of natural...In Utah, Brighton and Solitude open Friday. Been dumping in the Beehive State; Alta has a two foot base and plenty of diehards earning their turns...New Yorkers may have to wait another weekend as Belleayre looks less and less likely for Saturday...Maine's mid-sized Mt Abram will have a new race program this year, under the guidance of 3X Olympian Julie Parisien, who grew up skiing at the Rocky & Bullwinkle-themed ski area...Canadian World Cup star John Kucera is back on the hill after last year's devastating leg injury. It will be quite a while before he'll be back in the gate...Breckenridge opens Friday...Great little ski swap at Hidden Valley NJ this weekend, 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Sunday.
11/9/2010 Kudos to Jay Peak, which is offering a free season pass to all immediate family members of any Vermonters serving in, or set to deploy to, Iraq or Afghanistan. That deserves a big "way to go" and more resorts ought to follow Jay's lead...It appears that the Tamarack Resort saga has taken yet another twist; Credit Suisse and the homeowner group are now working together to try and reopen the new posh resort in Idaho. It still requires say-so from bankruptcy court, but since Credit Suisse has taken this new stance -- and they're the ones holding the bag -- it sure looks a lot more likely than it did a week ago....Weather in the northeast was a mixed bag yesterday; Belleayre and Hunter got some natural snow while Mount Snow was rained on; Okemo got a light blanket of white while Killington turned into a skating rink. As a result, K-Mart will be opening at noon today due to heavy ice on the liftlines...29th annual Boston Ski Show this weekend at Seaport World Trade Center, Boston Harbor, a new venue for the event. Tommy Moe, the delightful Hannah Kearney and mad-mixer/glad-hander and all-around ski ambassador Glenn Plake are the feature celebs lined up for the event...The International Ski Federation (FIS) has decided that the upcoming 2011 World Championships at Deer Valley and Park City will now include slopestyle competition. Deer Valley, which does not have a terrain park, is an odd choice for this competition. It seems this will be a sort of trial balloon for another shot at the Olympics for slopestyle and ski halfpipe...the enigmatic Bode Miller has attended each of the US Team meetings thus far...legendary Daron Rahlves announces a new race series at Tahoe resorts Alpine Meadows, Kirkwood and Sugar Bowl that will combine skiercross and some slopestyle events in a go-for-broke format.
11/8/2010 Dixie ski resorts weighed in with their white ribbons of death this weekend; North Carolina's Cataloochee beat nearby Sugar Mountain by a half hour Pleased to inform that Michigan's small but mighty Ski Brule opened for the season this past weekend. Brule will be closed during the weekdays for the time being, which is the smart thing to do...In Maine, Sunday River had top-to-bottom skiing this weekend, also closed today...Killington is still in good shape but closed today due to high winds...in Colorado, Copper was among those spinning lifts this weekend, open today with 3 routes despite warm temps and likelihood of rain...in FIS World Cup news, Italian GS star Denise Karbon injured her right knee in a training run and will be out for a month or so...the 2011 US Ski Team is official; Men's "A" Team is Jimmy Cochran, TJ Lanning, Ted Ligety, Bode Miller, Marco Sullivan, and Andrew Weibrecht. Women's "A" Team is Stacey Cook, Julia Mancuso, Alice McKennis, Sarah Schleper, and Lindsey Vonn. Men's "B" Team is Thomas Biesemeyer, Will Brandenburg, Erik Fisher, Tommy Ford, Travis Ganong, Tim Jitloff, Nolan Kasper, Cody Marshall, and Steve Nyman; Women's "B" Team is Hailey Duke, Chelsea Marshall, Megan McJames, Laurenne Ross, Leanne Smith, and Resi Stiegler. Bode Miller says he will ski "all disciplines" as long as he feels good. Stiegler and Nyman, as mentioned last week, are both attempting to return from devastating leg injuries.
11/5/2010 Huzzah! Arapahoe Basin goes top-to-bottom today with the Lenawee Face/Dercum's route...Problems in the northeast due to inappropriate precipitation, however the damage isn't as bad as you might expect. Killington and even Mount Snow both got snow up high; it did turn to rain but the previous manmade seems to have survived. Downside is that Mount Snow will not open the jib park this weekend as expected...if you ever wanted to get your hands on some obsolete resort stuff -- snowmaking equipment, parts, who knows what else -- unique opportunity next week, Nov 9 when Blue Mountain PA will be holding an auction of excess stuff, open to the public....elsewhere in the Keystone State, Laurel Mountain, a state-owned ski area in Ligonier, will not open this season. It's been operated under contract by nearby Seven Springs, but Harrisburg has been sluggish with some six million dollars worth of improvements. Hopefully the lifts will spin next year, but knowing how governments are so skilled at squandering money, I have my doubts...another swap we neglected to mention, Ski Sundown in CT this weekend. Usually a good source for everything from youth race skis to twin tips...next weekend sees another good swap at Mt Ashland OR...the sad saga of Tamarack continues. The homeowner group is still pressing ahead with hopes of reopening, while Credit Suisse says liquidation is the only option. A Boise judge will decide in early December...next report Monday.
11/4/2010 Game on in Canada, where Lake Louise has opened for the season...Chicagoland is ramping up for the season with the Ski Dazzle event this weekend at Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL. Along with new equipment and the latest clothing and accessories, quite a few midwest resorts will be represented, including Ski Brule, Boyne, and the Shanty Creek resorts, among others...in Yakima WA the White Pass Ski Patrol will host its 45th annual Ski and Snowboard Swap this weekend; yakimaskiswap.com has the details...Congrats to Ted Austin, new VP of Marketing for Okemo...the USA World Cup ski team will be introduced in Vail this Saturday, always a gala event. It will be broadcast free on UniversalSports.com. In addition to big guns Vonn and Super Jules, Sarah Schleper, Stacey Cook, Megan McJames, Chelsea Marshall and Leanne Smith will return to the women's squad. Young guns Alice McKennis and Laureene Ross will have a spot this season, and indeed, Resi Stiegler will be back. Sidelined last year by a broken leg, Stiegler is a technical skier who has been badgered by injuries the past three seasons. Through it all, she's shown remarkable tenacity and, at least in public, a very positive attitude. We surely wouldn't blame her for feeling down in the dumps from time to time, because when we reflect on what she's missed, it seems like such a shame. Resi ran some gates recently at Saas Fee, but it is unclear exactly when she'll be back in competition. On the men's side, Bode, Ted the Shred and Andrew Weibrecht will be joined by Jimmy Cochran, Marco Sullivan, TJ Lanning, slalom up-and-comer Tim Jitloff, and others. Steve Nyman continues to work his way back; may be on the slopes this year.
11/3/2010 In Colorado, Loveland has added more open trails, now running chair 6, the Keno & Blackjack stuff. It's some of the most pleasant intermediate terrain anywhere...A-Basin has dropped the ropes on two more routes down the hill...Copper will have some sort of big hulabaloo festivities when it opens this weekend...Vermont's Mount Snow has been cranking up the fanguns and will open a few jib features for a free afternoon jib session today...Killington has turned its guns on Downdraft and Mouse Run...Stowe is well coated with natural up high...The new HS quad at New York's Holiday Valley has passed state testing and will cut the ride time for that section in half...In other Empire State news, Whiteface cranked up its snowmaking system...Belleayre also...New Englanders are pleased to hear that Wachusett did a lengthy test of its snowmaking system yesterday...Maine's Sunday River will most likely have two routes down when it opens this weekend...A pair of swaps in NH this weekend; Franconia Ski Club at Lafeytte Regional School and Pat's Peak Ski Club which I assume is at Pat's Peak...Whistler raised $300 million CD with its IPO yesterday. We'll go way out on a limb and predict that the stock will climb, but ultimately sink into the abyss...moguls star Johnny Moseley will appear on the TV show Skating With The Stars...inquiry about Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort, which you may remember was first to open last year. Season won't be quite as marvelous; at least not yet anyway. Morning temps are 72ºF.
11/2/2020 Game back on in the northeast: Killington has opened a couple trails on the upper mountain and is blowing snow on Bunny Buster. A bit south of K-Mart has Mount Snow blowing those massive fan guns on their usual early season assortment. Okemo is said to have fired up some snowmaking last night, but Big O fans may not be aware that their system doesn't work quite as well at higher temps. When the mercury drops well into the 20s, however, it is said to be much more efficient than the bully to the north. Sugarbush intends to fire up their system tonight...in New Hampshire, Bretton Woods is cranking it out top to bottom...Over in Maine, Sunday River has been quiet since that one-off weekend, but their snowguns have been making a lot of noise, and barring catastrophe will re-open Saturday. Speaking of the Pine Tree State, Sugarloaf USA received 2" courtesy Mother Nature as a Halloween surprise...North Carolina's Maggie Valley is still quiet right now, but temps are expected to drop by Thursday and Cataloochee is calling for a Saturday morning opening...the USA mens alpine world cup team is due to arrive in Vail today, but it's sort of like, "who cares," because Lindsey is already there...news from the Olympic Peninsula is that Hurricane Ridge has two feet of fluffy on the ground right now, but won't open for a while. At $27 per lift ticket, we like it. It's limited to two ropes and a poma, but it's still a fabulous bargain. The National Park Service is talking about keeping the road open all winter long for snowsports enthusiasts......Ski & Snowboard "Expos" this weekend in Albany NY and the biggie in Denver CO...Swaps too...38th annual Park City Ski Team Swap, Friday through Nov. 7, at Basin Recreation Field House, in Kimball Junction; Bogus Basin Swap at Expo Idaho; Pocatello Swap at Idaho State University; Toledo Ski Club Swap at the Mountain Man Sports Tent, 2735 N. Reynolds Rd.; In Wisconsin the Wausau Nordic Ski Club Swap welcomes alpine stuff too; that's at East Gate Hall in Marathon County Park; the Eau Claire Ski Striders swap will benefit XC trail development in the Chippewa Valley, it's also an Alpine/XC swap, located at Spring Street Sports in Chippewa Falls; in Michigan the Marquette Mountain Racing Team Swap at the Lakeview Arena...and finally, Whistler-Blackcomb cut the price on its IPO for the second time in a week...congrats to John Hess, new sales director at Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Pennsy.
11/1/2020 Season has officially started in the midwest, as Wild Mountain MN is again first to open. Wild ran a "white ribbon of death" for the weekend, and hopes to reopen next weekend...in MI, Ski Brule continues its tradition of making lots of snow early. The U.P. fave isn't open yet, but consider the amount of snow they've made and the temps forecast, we predict they'll kick it off by Saturday...word in the northeast is that Killington will open tomorrow in time for Election Day; plan is to run the North Ridge chair (Glades area) with two trails. Skiers & riders will upload on the K1 gondy and ski to the open section. When finished, they'll do a short hike on a walkway to download the same way...The LA Times is reporting that lift ticket prices at Mammoth have passed the unpleasant $90 threshold to $92 for the coming season. But it's a bargain compared to Telluride at $98. Worst is Vail, which will feature a $99 pricetag on holidays. This is one of the reasons Skiernet.com generally recommends "Hidden Gems" as an alternative to the big mega resorts. Don't want to shell out a hundred bucks? Opt for Homestead instead of Mammoth, Purgatory (Durango) instead of Telluride, and Ski Cooper as opposed to Vail. You'll also find closer parking, cheaper eats, and shorter liftlines...speaking of hidden gems, news from Boise ID is that Bogus Basin has added a second carpet lift in the beginner area...Summit County area biggie Copper Mt will be opening this coming weekend, but is already spinning lifts for the US Ski team, doing some training work.
10/29/2010 Move over Loveland and A-Basin, down in Pagosa Springs the underrated Wolf Creek is going to spin three lifts tomorrow morning! That's fantastic....In California, Boreal will spin the lifts this morning for a white ribbon of death, but we can't complain as tickets are only $15 today. Price doubles tomorrow...Northeast news today is that Belleayre has tentatively announced a November 13 opening...Montana's Great Falls Ski Club hosts its annual Ski and Board Swap today (drop off) and tomorrow (sale) at The Montana ExpoPark Trades and Industry building...in Wyoming our backcountry friends are enjoying midwinter conditions at Teton Pass. Nearby Jackson Hole has a 33" base up high, but doesn't plan to open until Nov 27...In the Wasatch, Brighton is claiming two feet from the recent storm...New Jersey Ski Council hosts its annual jamboree at the Whippany Marriott tonight. Next report Monday...think snow!
10/28/2010 November looms, and if you aren't stoked for the season, what are you waiting for? Tahoe resorts Heavenly, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Boreal and Diamond Peak all have the snowguns blazing. And we've got the Cali openings; Boreal is set to spin the lifts tomorrow...Mammoth Nov. 11, Heavenly, Mt. Rose, Northstar-at-Tahoe & Squaw Valley Nov. 19-20, Kirkwood Dec 3, Alpine Meadows Dec. 10, Diamond Peak Dec. 16.. ..as expected, Timberline will open the lower mountain tomorrow. Snow continues to make its mark at Mt. Hood; another 2-4" expected at the 6000' level today. Even so, local favorite Mt. Hood Meadows isn't quite prepared to open...The International Olympic Committee has redefined "sluggish." Skiers will need to wait until next year to find out if two events, women's jumping and ski halfpipe, will be added to the mix in 2014...good news from Alaska, some snow has fallen and the Fairbanks area XC "twig season" has commenced. Birch Hill is open with a 5" base, weeks earlier than a year ago.
10/27/2010 We get press releases on every sort of season pass program you can imagine. They usually say all kinds of meaningless stuff like "bring 4 friends to get the best deal" or "the diamond deal expires at midnight" or other nonsense. But here's one that did catch our eyes, and so I pass it along: Shawnee Peak has pledged $15 from every Kids' Season Pass plus 4% of all season pass sales to be donated to the Maine Children's Cancer Program, based in the Barbara Bush Children's Hospital at Maine Medical Center in Portland. Now that's something worth sending out a press release about...news from China Peak (formerly Sierra Summit) is that the terrain park has been moved and will be served by a full-time t-bar...all that snow in the Pacific NW has prompted Timberline to announce that it will spin the lower lifts on Friday. The resort is well known for offering glacial/snowfield skiing throughout the summer; this is the earliest Timberline is opening the lower mountain in recent memory...Winter Park announced 22.5" at mid-mountain, looks to be right on schedule for their planned Nov 17 opening.
Older News Continues Below...
10/26/2010 Vail Resorts Inc. has acquired Northstar-at-Tahoe for $63 million cash...the guns were turned on yesterday in Aspen, weeks earlier than expected as the area was hammered by snow last night...snow is falling now through Summit County, and Vail has a lovely midwinter look...Eldora got a few inches yesterday...speaking of Aspen, the U.S. Forest Service will allow a tree-thinning plan to improve the forest health over a five- to 10-year period. This will include thinning, planting, treatment, and other measures on 2,694 acres at Snowmass, 845 acres at Aspen Highlands, 403 acres at Buttermilk, and 185 acres at Aspen Mountain....Sugar Mt North Carolina has updated its "red" lift with a new drive station and all new chairs. Sugar has also replaced its aging fleet of grooming machines.......That storm in the Pac NW has really got folks hopping in the Oregon cascades; we mentioned the Mt. Hood resorts yesterday but take a look at what's on the ground at Mt Bachelor:
10/25/2010 Biggest news of the weekend is the surprise first-to-open USA for Sunday River in Maine, followed quickly by Loveland in Colorado. But what the big print giveth, the fine print taketh away: Sunday River is closed for the week (at least) and Loveland is open. The Big L, in fact, just received a nice dusting of snow. Arapahoe Basin cranks up their new high speed lift this morning, using the High Noon trail for their white ribbon of death....more than a foot of snow at Mt Hood Meadows this weekend; the popular Cascades destination hopes to open for Thanksgiving...The German ladies were the story in Sölden this weekend, as reigning Olympic GS gold medalist Viktoria Rebensburg won the 2011 World Cup opener. Second was countrywoman Kathrin Hoelzl, while Italy's Manuela Moelgg garnered third place. Julia Mancuso's 12th paced the U.S. women. On the men's side, GS Discipline Champ Ted Ligety was poised in 2nd after the first run, but the fog rolled in and race officials said machts nichts and cancelled the event. If you weren't aware of it, canned World Cup races are seldom rescheduled...since we're discussing international, International Olympic Committee committee-ites are deciding today whether to add women's ski jumping to the 2014 Winter Games...news from Idaho is that Brundage received first snowfall this weekend, always a good sign. Meanwhile Sun Valley has almost a foot up high....and in Montana, you can opt for a license plate that supports the volunteer National Ski Patrol.
10/22/2010 My hopes for Loveland today are not in the cards, but there is snow in the clouds, so it'll be any day. Incidentally the Big L has announced plans to replace aging chair 4 with a fixed grip triple next summer...FIS World Cup kicks off this weekend at Sölden, some of the chatter naturally is about big names switching brands. Reigning GS Champ Ted Ligety and 2-time overall Aksel Lund Svindal are now on Head, and Julia Mancuso has moved to Völkl. Up-and-comer American Meghan McJames has moved to Fischer. 2006 overall champ Benni Raich tested Fischer and Head, signed another 3-year deal with Atomic...the Annual Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Ski Swap kicks off today in Elkhorn...the Buffalo Niagara International Ski and Board Sale begins tonight; Tommy Moe and Andrew Weibrecht are slated to make appearances...sad news, just learned that Butch Reimer, longtime XC coach at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay lost his battle with leukemia Tuesday...fans of Burke Mountain in Vermont's northeast kingdom will need to wait at least another season for that new chair they've been hoping for. Fortunately I think most skiers understand the whole recession thing, so they're looking forward to another great season from Vermont's "quiet giant"....next report Monday...off to The Head of The Charles Regatta.
10/21/2010 You read it here first...I predict Loveland will spin the lifts tomorrow morning...NH news...Wildcat is slated to be sold to Peak Resorts, which already operates Attitash down the road. Peak is known for its properties in the midwest, and now has jumped into the northeast with Mount Snow and a few others. So far they're getting good marks, as Sneaux and Attitash were on a downhill slide. Wildcat's been a great area for years, but since a sale was inevitable, Peak is about the best situation Cat fans could hope for...more NH...pundits are rattled about the silence surrounding Tenney Mountain, concerned that it will also be quiet this winter. It's sort of normal operations at the pleasant ski hill in Plymouth; winter ops tend to ramp up all at once when the snow falls...Inside word across the river in Springfield VT is that Ascutney will not spin the lifts this season, as no inspections have been made. A statewide Nov 1 deadline looms, and while rumors abound that a new owner is nigh, it may be too little too late for 2010-11....Litchfield CT jury deliberated just over an hour before returning the verdict that Ski Sundown is not liable for the paralyzing injury to James Malaguit. This is highly unexpected, but a welcome decision for the ski industry. While we certainly feel for Mr. Malaguit, it is refreshing to see a jury hold an individual responsible for their own actions...More on Tamarack; the Tamarack Municipal Association homeowners group says the judge's denial of a $2 million loan is not the end of the story. They need a mere quarter million before Nov 5 to pay the state of Idaho, leaseholder of the land the lifts and runs are on. Unfortunately the homeowners group don't have the final say. Credit Suisse and the bankrupt resort -- and therefore the judge -- have to actually make the payment. The State has no intentions to let skiing proceed without the lease payment...Update to yesterday's Colorado openings; Ski Cooper plans to operate weekends beginning Nov 25, then go daily on Dec 17...Perhaps the USA's northernmost ski swap is this weekend at West Valley High in Fairbanks, AK Saturday at 10; drop off Fri. night; benefits the West Valley XC team...news from the pending FIS World Cup action in Sölden this weekend: Switzerland's Iceman, Carlo Janka has been named the 2010 "Golden Skier" or Skieur d'Or by the International Association of Ski Journalists. Lindsey Vonn garnered the award a year ago...Team USA sees Vonn and fellow Olympic Gold Medalists Bode Miller, Julia Mancuso and Ted Ligety at the season opener. Sarah Schleper and Megan McJames round out the women's team, which kicks off with GS action Saturday. The men go Sunday, with Tim Jitloff, Tommy Ford, Nolan Kasper, Warner Nickerson and Will Gregorak completing the American squad...Aspen operator Skico has announced that lifts will spin later in the afternoon/evening in the spring, planning to extend daily ops to 6 pm on March 18, 2011
10/20/2010 California's Snow Valley appears headed in the right direction. Chair 8, one of its several disused lifts, has been refurbished and will crank this season...Bankruptcy judge has ruled against the town and homeowner group looking for a $2 million loan to re-launch Idaho's troubled Tamarack resort...Closing arguments in the James Malaguit v. Ski Sundown case took place in Litchfield CT Superior Court yesterday. Folks, the outcome of this could forever change your access to terrain parks...In Colorado's annual race to open, Loveland appears to have the upper hand right now, needing just to finish up the "Home Run" trail to have its route ready...While Loveland and A-Basin duke it out and will probably open this month, the rest of the Colorado resorts have announced openings. November 5: Copper, Keystone, Wolf Creek; Nov 12: Breckenridge; Nov 17: Winter Park; Nov 19: Vail; Nov 24-25: Aspen, Beaver Creek, Crested Butte, Purgatory/Durango, Monarch, Snowmass, Steamboat, Telluride; Dec 1: Echo Mountain; Dec 3: Sunlight; Dec 11: Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk; Dec 15-16: Powderhorn, SolVista. No announcements yet from Silverton, Eldora, Ski Cooper, or Howelsen, which usually crank up mid-December. Cooper (not Copper) relies on natural snow, and may open earlier depending on what Mother Nature delivers. If you haven't skied The Coop yet, put it on your short list...There will be snow in Atlanta this weekend, courtesy Ober Gatlinburg which will have a short tubing slide and skiing demonstration set up at the Mall of Georgia...sad to report that Richard Abruzzo, a member of the family that owns Ski Santa Fe and Sandia Peak is now presumed dead after a hot-air balloon accident in Italy on Sept. 29...Seven Springs near Pittsburgh will be hosting a job fair this weekend...Quebec's Le Massif will debut a new 8 passenger gondy this season, as well as new magic carpets and beginner terrain...elsewhere in the Great White North, Whitewater Ski Resort in BC is busy installing a Dopplemayr triple purchased from Vail. It will serve the "backside" and increase vertical to 2,042 feet...We usually ignore press releases from ski areas blabbing about discount passes and such, but here's a good one for Michiganders (Michiganites? Michiganians?) Anyway, you'd do well to grab the $189 Michigan Gold White pass which allows one day of skiing at each of 29 resorts! The only blackout period is Christmas week. Trying to reach all 29 far-flung areas in one season is tough, but even if you could reach 10, it's still just $18.90 per ticket. (I use that example because the math is easier).
10/19/2010 Pre-season word from Utah is that The Canyons will debut a heated, bubble-covered chair this season...underrated Powder Mountain is expanding its cat skiing ops with 1,000 additional acres...kudos to Dave Fields, recently promoted to Vice President of Resort Operations at Snowbird...opening day yesterday at Ruka Ski Resort in Northern Finland. Ruka has been first to open in Europe for the past 10 seasons...snowcats have begun to push and polish the manmade piles at Loveland...right now Timberline's weekend ops continues to be the only lift-served skiing in the USA...Mount Southington CT is hosting a ski swap this weekend; drop-off is tomorrow...the 48th annual North Tahoe Ski Swap is slated for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at North Tahoe High School gymnasium in Tahoe City...Kissing Bridge is hosting the Cleveland Metro Ski Council's annual ski queen pageant party Oct 29 at the Cleveland Old Arcade Hyatt...apparently the White Mountain Apache tribe will operate Arizona's Sunrise Mountain Resort again this year. The season was looking quite uncertain...Bode Miller has signed on with POC Sports, a Swedish manufacturer of helmets, goggles, etc. POC already has Julia Mancuso on its roster...industry icon Warren Miller got a mixed decision from a Colorado arbitration panel, ruling on a suit brought by Warren Miller Entertainment. Miller no longer owns WME, but they own the rights to his name, likeness, and voice as it relates to ski movies. WME apparently thought it went beyond that, but the panel says no. Miller plans to embark on an "Evening with Warren Miller" tour to reconnect with his fans.
10/18/2010 Looking at a La Niña year, expecting the Pac Northwest and even Montana and Jackson, Wyo., to get buried while New Mexico, Arizona and Southern California should be cold but dry...Speaking of Wyoming, Grand Targhee will have two new intermediate runs on the trail map this season...The east is beginning to catch up to the Continental Divide areas; Killington has some snow guns firing this morning...Bluewood in Dayton WA is up for sale; long time instructors Mike and Kelly Stephenson are looking to buy as Stan and Nancy Goodell are retiring. This is one of those terrific local areas on USFS land; we certainly wish them every success...the pundits seem to feel that the Malaguit vs. Ski Sundown case hinges on whether the jury is instructed that "jumping" is an integral part of skiing. If the jury finds for the plaintiff we expect this to further divide park features from non-park terrain. Might even see parental consent forms for every park rat...US Ski Hall of Fame announced new inductees on Thursday: Former downhill and super G star Daron Rahlves, former National Champ Bobby Cochran, the late Shane McConkey of mogul and freeskiing fame, former Hot Dog champion, film star and all-around ski ambassador Glenn Plake, Paralympic medalist and World Champion Muffy Davis, and Earl Holding, who revitalized Sun Valley and created Snowbasin.
10/14/2010 The lawsuit against Ski Sundown CT by James Malaguit, 20, has taken an interesting turn with the defense's presentation of a video showing pre-teens skiing over the same jump in a "Little Big Air" competition. Malaguit was paralyzed after taking a header off the same jump a day earlier in 2006. The defense also called Dr. Jasper Shealy, of Fair Port, N.Y., as an expert witness. Shealy is a U.S. technical delegate for International Standards Organization (ISO) and has testified at over 200 ski injury related trials. Said the skier could've controlled his speed...Ski Fever & Snowboard Show in Seattle this weekend...Alpine Meadows CA has announced a tentative opening date of December 10.
10/13/2010 Breaking news, the EPA has ordered Jay Peak to clean up some wetland damage created by its golf course...IPO looms for Whistler Blackcomb; the W-B Holding co. is taking the monster resort public to pay some of its debt to Intrawest...incidentally Freeskier magazine just named W-B as its number one resort, sort of a freeride answer to the traditional Ski magazine list released last week...more great news in Colorado; yesterday Eldora received 6 inches of snow, A-Basin and Loveland tallied 3 inches, and Winter Park was the big winner with 10 inches at mid-mountain. Reborn Echo Mountain reported 7 inches....any skiers in the Milwaukee area is encouraged to head to Delafield this weekend. The nordic center at Lapham Peak was damaged by water this past spring, and a work detail is being organized on Saturday to fix it.
10/12/2010 Snow teasing quite a few peaks these days; some reasonably substantial stuff put a white coating on summits of Breckenridge, Crested Butte and Telluride...Ski magazine has released the results its annual "best ski resort" polls, winning overall is Deer Valley while Whiteface grabbed top honors in the east. This is that wacky thing where Holiday Valley somehow ranks higher than Sugarloaf, so we really don't pay much attention...Swiss great Daniel Albrecht isn't quite ready for the FIS World Cup opener in Soelden on the 24th. Albrecht had that nasty crash in Kitzbuehel that left him with brain and lung injuries and prompted docs to put him in a medically induced coma for a while. Swiss coaches are hoping he'll be ready for Lake Louise in late November...the sad saga of the Yellowstone Club continues; yesterday owner Tim Blixseth appealed to remove U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Ralph Kirschner from the bench, claiming the judge denied him the right to due process, and obstructed the criminal investigation...software and systems giant Resort Technology Partners says business should be up again this season; naturally they credit technology for enhancing the guest experience...update from NJ's Mountain Creek following the demise of the ancient "Sojourn" chairlift; Creek claims a new trail is being cut from the top of the former Great Gorge (now "South") and will connect to the base of North (now known as "Granite") allowing transfer between the area's far-flung slopes. Creek says it's underway, but the topo maps say otherwise. Perhaps dynamite will make it so....word from oft-maligned Magic Mountain in Vermont is that the Vermont diamond-in-the-rough will have top to bottom snowmaking this season. A test this past weekend proved successful.
10/11/2010 Weekend news roundup: Loveland and A-Basin saw temps drop again, snowguns have fired on both sides of the divide. Although they're only a couple minutes apart, Loveland's snow will eventually make its way to the Atlantic, while A-Basin's ultimately goes to the Pacific. Not to be outdone, neighboring Copper Mountain unleashed a fury of manmade this weekend, pointing to an early November opening...more impressive manmade is flying in Maine, where Sunday River had guns blazing atop Locke...update on Elk Meadows, the lost southern Utah resort we said was reopening; indeed it is, but it will have a new moniker: Eagle Point. New owners bought it at a liquidation price, own it outright. The mountain plans to re-open this season, but they're taking a "do it right" rather than a "get it done" approach...And now for a recap of the summer upgrades in the Tahoe area. First let me say I've sorted through a heap of press releases that blab about new mobile phone apps, GPS tracking systems, load-as-you-go ticket purchases, blah blah blah. Do me a favor: If I ever start to brag about my new mobile ski app, brain me with an aluminum ski pole until I stop. Anyway, here are the upgrades that matter: Alpine Meadows has installed a child-friendly chairlift, which uses magnetized seats and vests to keep junior from falling off the lift...Heavenly has finished its massive new mid-mountain lodge...Sierra-at-Tahoe has added two new beginner carpets....Moving to the northeast, Waterville Valley sold again, this time to a group of investors headlined by New Hampshire's Sununu family.
10/7/2010 Georges Salomon, founder and namesake of Salomon, passed away Tuesday in Annecy, France at the age of 85. A moment of silence, please, and loud "thank you" from my ACL & MCL for the man who invented the releasable binding....a gentleman named Richard Bartlett of York, Maine wants to put a rope tow, trail and lights on Mount Agamenticus, former home of The Big A lost ski area. Unfortunately the York Parks & Rec board seems to be opposed to the idea...snow fell yesterday up high at southern Colorado's Silverton Mountain, which is scheduled to open Dec 4 but may accelerate the date if the white stuff continues...other Colorado news, A-Basin says its new "Black Mountain Express" lift (replacing the fixed-grip Exhibition) should be ready to go for the season...kudos to Snowbird where you can enjoy a fall foliage tram ride in exchange for a canned food donation to Utah Food Bank. Dates are Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 16-17 and 23-24, weather permitting...Vermont's Jay Peak has been busy this off-season. In addition to the usual upkeep and improvements ski resorts tend to blab about, Jay has three that stand out: An enclosed beginner carpet, a new Nordic center, and an indoor ice arena. These are the sorts of things they need to make the "northern kingdom" section of Vermont more of a winter destination. Already noted for skiing, snowmobiling and ice fishing, this puts Jay solidly in contention for family vacation dollars...other off-season improvements that actually matter include Ober Gatlinburg in TN, now with an expanded beginner area. A similar move at Hidden Valley Four Seasons in Pennsy, demolished a building to create a nicer learn-to-ski zone......Good weekend for ski swaps...in California the Mount Shasta Junior Ski Team and the Mount Shasta High School Ski & Board Team are sponsoring a swap at Mount Shasta High School on Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., while the town of Grass Valley, CA is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9, at Nevada Union High School girls' gymnasium; drop-off is Friday evening....in western NY both Peek'n'Peak and Holiday Valley are hosting ski swaps at their "Fall Festivals" Sat-Sun....Maine's Rocky & Bullwinkle themed Mt. Abram has one too; drop off is Saturday afternoon, sale starts Sunday at noon...also in New England this weekend, Wachusett kicks in today in Princeton, MA, New Hampshire's Waterville Valley Academy hosts one at the town ice arena in Waterville Val, and the Bromley Outing Club is hosting one Sunday at the venerable Vermont resort. In Exton PA, Wick's Ski and Sport Consignment Sale is this weekend, and the Alpine Ski Shop swap in Sterling VA is a nice event for our Mid-Atlantic friends. In Colorado, Steamboat Springs will host one at the middle school next weekend.
10/6/2010 First snow of the season in the mid-Atlantic, a few flakes spotted at Snowshoe Mountain Resort. Not much, but it sure looks good...update on that reopening of Teton Pass; all lifts have been renovated, a new lift added to the backside, and all base area buildings have been gutted and are being rebuilt. A new groomer has been purchased, and all runs have been cleaned and stumps removed. All in all 1.6 million has been spent, with another 1.5 million slated, from a Kiwi businessman....Litchfield, Connecticut court is currently hearing testimony regarding a teenager who landed on his head after launching off a terrain park booter at Ski Sundown. Sadly, the young man has been left paralyzed; unfortunately he thinks the ski area is to blame. Nobody reads those responsibility codes anymore, do they? About staying in control? No?
10/5/2010 The reopening at Tamarack (Idaho) mentioned on Friday appears to be waiting only for an "ok" from the judge handling the bankruptcy stuff...a Tampa Bay FL youth injured a few years ago at Beech Mt NC has won a lawsuit against the church that sponsored the trip. Idlewild Baptist Church has been ordered to pay $4.75 million to the unnamed plaintiff, who was 14 at the time of the accident. The jury agreed that because the church organizers didn't provide proper instruction to the absolute beginner, they were at fault. The boy lost use of his left foot in the accident. This is not good news for church youth groups, although I imagine some signed parental form agreeing to lessons for beginners would fit the bill. At least Beech was not held liable...speaking of Beech, the North Carolina Ski Area something or other is offering a limited number of "Gold" passes, providing unlimited season-long access to every downhill operation in the state, including Cataloochee, Sapphire Valley, Beech, Appalachian, Wolf Ridge, and Sugar. Considering the Cat is usually first to open in the east, and the variety of terrain offered, this is a darn fine deal if your Carolina pockets are deep enough for the $795 price tag...we're flying...United Airlines is adding a daily shuttle flight from San Fran to Mammoth Mountain for the upcoming season, beginning Dec 16...we're not flying...Vail has discontinued its subsidy for the Minneapolis to Eagle County Delta flights, so the daily shuttle will be dropped. Delta is hoping that traffic will support Saturday flights this season...other news from Vail is that the High Noon lift is being replaced by a high-speed quad. The old fixed-grip quad will go north to Whitewater in BC...congratulations to Mountain Creek's Joe Hession, named VP/GM of the NJ ski area. This is one of those good-guy success stories; Hession began his Creek career as a parking lot attendant and has steadily climbed the ladder...and congrats to JP Martin, new Terrain Park Manager at Squaw Valley, who swiped him from nearby Sugar Bowl in CA.
10/4/2010 Good news in the northeast for fans of Mount Snow, which received approval from the USFS to proceed with expanded snowmaking plans. The "Finding of No Significant Impact" by the Forest Service will allow construction of a dam near the base of the old Haystack ski area, and a pipeline to the mountain. It also gives Sneaux the go-ahead to change a few of its trails, with some widening and new routing here and there...more good news concerning re-opening western areas, this time it's Teton Pass on the Rocky Mountain front in Choteau, MT. Apparently an investor from "down under" wants to bring it back from the dead.
10/1/2010 Bring it on...Snowguns fired optimistically but briefly at the highly underrated Loveland ski area in Colorado last week, milder temps have kept them on hold since then. Either way, we're ready to start the reporting...And we've got some damn fine news to report! Looks like Elk Meadows may be reopening in Utah's color country. It's been closed for the past 8 seasons but apparently things are moving ahead with a guy named Shane Gadbaw of SLC, who plans to operate it as a public ski area THIS SEASON! Huzzah! In southern Utah, Brian Head has been the only game in town...And still more good news, Coconino National Forest is finally allowing the southwest's favorite politically-incorrect punching bag, Arizona Snow Bowl, to clear a new trail and to add a conveyor lift. The snowmaking fight is still tied up in courts. It's a fantastic ski area, and deserves the same operational freedoms that its competing Native American casino ski resorts enjoy...Suppose the most significant news right now comes from Idaho, where the troubled and shuttered Tamarack Ski Resort appears to be on its way back from the dead. Tamarack homeowners have ponied up a cool quarter million to re-start the operation this season; beginning Dec 20 it will spin lifts Thursdays through Sundays each week. The current owners of the ski operation are about $300 million in the hole, and the homeowner group is hoping to attract a buyer. $68 million is being bandied about as a potential selling price. It's a recession, folks...A big winter or two paid off big in summer spending in Washington State. Crystal Mountain has added a gondy to the summit, which will launch you up its 2500' vert in about 10 minutes. The sprawling Summit at Snoqualmie installed two more chairlifts, these at Summit East. But most impressive of all is White Pass, which is finally opening the long-awaited Paradise Basin with the installation of two chairlifts. Folks this is 767 acres of fabulous tree skiing, open meadows, rolling trails. It's really fantastic....the US Womens Ski Team just broke training camp in Chile, by all accounts the gals should be every bit the force they were last year on the tour. FIS Alpine World Cup opens with a GS event Oct. 23 in Soelden, Austria. Notably missing will be Olympic champ Didier DeFago, who tore his ACL during training....Capitalism isn't dead just yet, at least it survives in the former Soviet bloc. Five (count 'em, FIVE) new resorts will be built in the Caucuses. Specifically, Matlas (Dagestan), Mamison (Northern Ossetia), Arkhyz (Karachaevo-Cherkessia), Lago-Naki (Adigeya) and Elbrus (Kabardino-Balkaria) with $14.6 bln earmarked for the projects. I have to be honest, other than Elbrus I have no idea what any of that means...Looking to the northeast USA, not a lot happening, although New York metro area Mountain Creek is going to make Snookie and The Situation ride a bus back to Vernon; the 40-year old Sojourn double was just dismantled...Pre-season news out of Vermont is that while Ascutney may be on shaky ground, things continue to look up at Magic Mountain, with snowmaking improvements and possible re-use of the second chairlift this season.
Did you ever feel like those big money ski movies are often a big let-down? You get all pumped up for the new release from some ski film company, and it's mostly incredible footage of guys jumping out of helicopters and shredding down some un-named mountain on the far side of the globe. They're neck deep in powder, skiing lines that you'll never, ever see. If you want ski movies you could actually relate to, a bunch of guys called The Meatheads, from Burlington, VT have made a series of "Ski The East" films. They film at real resorts like Sugarloaf, Blue Mountain, Big Boulder, Mount Snow, Ski Sundown, Stowe, Jay, Mountain Creek, Killington, plus some backcountry New England stuff, as well as a few urban locations. It's simply fantastic -- and since it's the same terrain we can get to, it's inspirational!
Their most recent release is Wild Stallions, although the one that is probably their best is from a year ago, called Head For The Hills. Both DVDs have hours of "bonus" footage, so it's like getting three ski movies for the price of one. The links go to Amazon.com, which enables you to order and return if you don't like them. And a small percentage of the sale helps us pay the expenses of this website, at no extra cost to you.
Here's a preview, courtesy Youtube...
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