The Buzz: Ski Area News

hosted by Rick Bolgerwith correspondents throughout the world

ARCHIVED NEWS FROM OCTOBER THROUGH DECEMBER 2012

24 December 2012 -- Will kick off with an across the country conditions roundup...Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Holidays...snow has finally returned to the northeast, and in a big way. Sugarloaf managed to open Brackett Basin sidecountry this weekend, has most of the mountain cranking, all but the snowfields more or less...in VT Sugarbush is absolutely the place to be, almost all terrain open...Killington skiing some 74 trails and traverses (a little humor there) now open on Needle's Eye, and blowing snow impressively off Bear Peak and down on Great Eastern...Okemo is about 40%, has opened the South Face Express...over in NY, a nice Saturday snowfall helped Belleayre quite a bit; prior to the fluffy stuff, conditions were scratchy to say the least...all in all the northeast is looking at one of the better Christmas weeks in past years...in the Poconos, Camelback was best prepared for the return of winter, and it shows, they don't have a lot open this morning but the crowds aren't too bad. There is quite a roar in the air as they're blowing on about a dozen different trails, it's a beautiful thing in the banana belt...a bit north, Elk Mountain is skiing on the lower mountain and a couple of the regular routes off the summit, looking for some more snow overnight...western Pennsy kudos to Seven Springs which looked like a cow pasture just last week, now with some nice manmade cover and decent conditions...speaking of places that recently looked good for grazing, Virginia's Wintergreen has the Dobie slope open and a lot of guns firing, it's a beautiful sight and sound...West Viriginia saw Winterplace open yesterday...moving south, Tennessee's Ober Gatlinburg spun the lifts yesterday, somehow, and is open today with limited terrain and uncomfortably high temperatures...back north a bit, Boston Mills and Brandywine Ohio turned the guns on Saturday night around 10 pm, no confirmed opening date yet...in Indiana, Paoli Peaks is open today until 4 pm with limited terrain and discounted tickets. They've done a nice job of getting what they can open...in Michigan, Caberfae is skiing on some 40" of manmade and natural base, lines are short this morning and the skiing looks positively fantastic...up in Minnesota, no recent snow but Lutsen has managed to open about 3/4 of its terrain...in Missouri, Hidden Valley spun the lifts yesterday, closed for the holiday today but will reopen Christmas night at 6 pm...moving way west, pleased to report from Utah that Santa brought Powder Mountain almost a foot of fresh...in Colorado, my fave Ski Cooper opened this weekend, today spinning lifts frontside and backside, everything but the platterpull, terrain is 100% except they're still working on the terrain park...still tough sledding in one little part of New Mexico, Pajarito just doesn't have enough to open yet...Montana's Missoula Snow Bowl is open for its 51st season, skiing on about 90% of terrain...more than a foot of snow in the past 24 hrs at Oregon's Mt. Bachelor, summit cone should open today after storm passes...in Tahoe, the only place late to the party was Mt. Rose, will spin lifts this morning at 9 am and serving up 100% of terrain...Merry Christmas, it's been a long time since I've had this much good news this early...Now on to the bad news...two skiers injured on KT-22 at Squaw Valley USA yesterday when some riders triggered an avalanche. Skiers were treated and released, although a 16 year old boy suffered some sort of shoulder injury. The incident follows the Friday death of 71-year-old California resident Theodore Sorensen, an expert skier who died after slamming into a tree on KT-22...nearby skier went missing in the backcountry at Sierra-at-Tahoe Saturday, she was found three hours later, safe and sound...has been a tough season in Tahoe, 24 year old ski instructor Annalise Kjolhede died while freeskiing at Alpine Meadows back in November; the resort was closed at the time of the accident...back to the present, and not in Tahoe, snowboarder fell 20' from a lift at Hidden Valley Pennsylvania Saturday, survived with apparently no lasting effects. The teenager plunged after leaning too far forward to adjust his boots...13 year old skier hit a tree at Copper in Colorado yesterday, no word on the young lady's condition, please keep her in your prayers...odd news in Vermont, an "environmental court judge" has ordered all construction at the old Haystack ski resort to stop after allegedly finding some violations, right now reports are all over the place but the crux seems to be a snowmobile trail that is in violation of some animal habitat...and we'll wrap it up with some terrific news: Montana's Teton Pass ski area is back from the dead, reopened yesterday with a lot of smiling locals.

21 December 2012 -- Unbelievable, incredible: 17-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin won -- yes, WON -- the World Cup slalom event in Aare, Sweden...wow...sad to report that Austrian great Marlies Schild was injured while training for that event; she's going to miss the rest of the season.

19 December 2012 Update 1: -- Viktoria Rebensburg held on for a surprise upset in the Ladies slalom event in Aare; Anna Fenninger also edged Tina Maze, who garnered 3rd spot on the podium and an ever-increasing lead in the overall...word from Sugarbush VT is that Mt. Ellen will open this weekend; snow has been decent there in the heart of the Green Mts...

19 December 2012 -- Snow falling nicely in parts of New Mexico, Red River has a couple inches fresh this morning and it's still coming down; same at Ski Santa Fe. Over at Taos a number of skiers with pow sticks are hiking their way to untracked as I type this...next state over, the same system hit Flagstaff and favorite Arizona Snow Bowl will open tomorrow...otherwise get yourself to Idaho, Pomerelle received an inch an hour for the past 30 hours, you do the math...across the country, New Englanders were teased with snow that was followed by rain. Except if you really go "Down East", Sugarloaf is absolutely the place to be but even that's not without issues. It's been dumping -- dumping! -- at the 'loaf, and patrol dropped the ropes on 58 trails this morning, enough to make competitors in Vermont downright green with envy. Then of course the power failed, so patrons are limited to two lifts running on diesel. Whatever, the skiing is fantastic in Central Maine this morning...sister resort Sunday River still getting snow, has 57 trails open across almost all of its peaks. So I'm telling you if you live in New England and you want to ski some darn fine stuff this weekend, head for either of those, or for more likely stashes, go to Black Mountain of Maine or Saddleback. And if you're way up country, Big Rock will be astonishingly good...things just not as good in NH, although Wildcat has some very nice new snow...continuing west, Vermonters would do well to head for Jay Peak, offering discounted tickets and serving up some 18 trails, but I'll tell you what, you could do a lot worse than what Okemo is offering today, surprising considering the recent hodgepodge of weather...Killington is like a winter wonderland up in the Glades section...continuing west, Gore might be your best bet; Whiteface has a bit more open with 25% of its terrain but is a bit scratchy...down to the mid-Atlantic, Camelback is slated to reopen Friday. If they can, it will be a white ribbon of death, but it will be better than expected. A quick look at their current cover on the route reveals some remarkably decent manmade snowpack despite recent temps soaring into the 60s...major kudos to Shaun White, who had his trademark red hair cut, donated the clippings to "Locks of Love", an organization that supplies wigs to kids who've lost their hair due to illness, cancer treatments, etc. Shaun gets major points from the old school...world cup action saw defending overall champ Marcel Hirscher of Austria win the slalom under the lights in Madonna di Campiglio. Hirscher moved into 2nd in the overall ahead of Ted Ligety, who did manage to finish 9th. The event was marred when a gatekeeper apparently died of a heart attack...the ladies are in Aare Sweden today, first run on the GS has Viktoria Rebensburg with a suprise lead over seemingly unbeatable Tina Maze...snow fell in Colorado yesterday, 10" at Steamboat, Purgatory, Crested Butte, half a foot at Granby Ranch, Sunlight, Telluride, Eldora...weather set to turn in the mid-Atlantic, which desperately needs cold.

17 December 2012 -- Foot of fresh snow at Powder Mountain...back across the country, half a foot of fresh at Sugarloaf and more falling. Get it today or tomorrow in New England, because it won't last the warm spell before the weekend...my favorite and most reliable weatherman, happens to be caretaker of NELSAP, tells me it's all gonna be good after this weekend in the northeast. It's about time...big goings on in World Cup this weekend, Tina Maze dominating the ladies side, Lindsey Vonn headed home for more recovery and will skip the next few events which are all technical anyway, Ted Ligety stomps again in GS, Aksel Svindal looking untouchable in the overall. But the biggest, most unbelievable, most incredible news: STEVE NYMAN WON. Regular readers know that I seldom, if ever, type all caps. It was a downhill, which is his specialty, or was his specialty before umpteen injuries over the past decade. Anyway, he beat the field in Val Gardena, so I guess you'd have to say it's his specialty all over again. It's unbelievable, that's what it is. I have to admit I didn't give him a snowball's chance, despite having the 5th best training time last week...thoughts and prayers especially for all the families suffering as a result of the Newtown, CT horror.

14 December 2012 -- Skiers and ski area operators in the northeast will have their eyes on the skies this weekend as some precipitation is expected to move in by Sunday. The only thing that seems to be uncertain at this point is whether the weather will bring snow, or that form of precip that shall not be mentioned...big goings-on in womens' downhill on the World Cup circuit, today in Val d'Isere where Swiss starlet Lara Gut won her first DH. Also great for the American ladies -- well, most of them -- as Leanne Smith finished second, Julia Mancuso, Alice McKennis and Stacey Cook all placed in the top ten! OK, you can stop scanning for Lindsey Vonn's name, she crashed heavily but appears to be alright. She'll be back with a vengeance in tomorrow's Super G...the men are in Val Gardena where Aksel Lund Svindal edged Beaver Creek winner Matteo Marsaglia in the Super G by 1.07 seconds. Werner Heel was third. Ted Ligety got a few points with a finish in the high 20s, he's consistently showing something in almost every event and if he keeps this up, may contend for the overall if Hirscher and Svindal run into trouble...seems so unlikely after Hurricane Sandy dumped 2-3 feet of snow a month ago, but now most West Virginia areas are pushing back opening dates due to a dearth of snow. Winterplace and Timberline are now calling for Dec 21; Canaan Valley looking to the 26th. Snowshoe is open, might be the only thing south of the Mason-Dixon Line...New Hampshire police were on the job yesterday, looking for a man walking down the median of I-93, said to be carrying a rifle toward his small gray car. As a skier you might be thinking something else, and you'd be right. Sure enough, a man matching every other part of the description contacted authorities to say he was the guy -- retrieving a wayward ski rack, no weaponry involved.

12 December 2012 -- Quick correction to yesterday, Taos is indeed open; two others in the Land of Enchantment are Sipapu and Red River. And we can confirm some more for the weekend: Ski Apache, Ski Santa Fe and Angel Fire will all be spinning the lifts...ladies World Cup training in Val d'Isere had Anna Fenninger atop the speed chart over Julia Mancuso, Lindsey Vonn a second and a half back but that is completely meaningless when it comes to race day on a downhill course...Aksel Lund Svindal atop the time chart at Val Gardena, nice 5th place showing for Steve Nyman, trying to get his mojo back...plenty of resorts offering $12 tix today, great deal if you can escape whatever place it is that gives you the $12 at the end of the week...Steamboat ratcheted up the Four Points lift this morning, putting the number of open uphill conveyances at five. Elsewhere in Col, Granby Ranch opened this morning, and Winter Park will drop the ropes at Mary Jane tomorrow. First chair enthusiasts will be lining up at the Super Gauge Express. Other Colorado areas will be going this weekend, namely Monarch and Sunlight on Friday, with Buttermilk, Powderhorn and Silverton on Saturday. Biggest buzz concerns a weather pattern set to blow in by Friday that may dump up to a dozen inches at resorts around the state...New Englanders meanwhile are resigned to a December with little or no snow; fortunately the majors will be able to open a few more trails in time for the holidays. Even the nordies can get in on the action, in VT for example, Trapp Family Lodge is one of seven XC areas that cranked up some snowguns this morning...just in from Colorado, the Rio Grande National Forest accepted part of Wolf Creek's new master development plan, calling for new lifts and remodeling lodges and what have you. Wolf Creek is also looking to expand into San Juan National Forest, but that part hasn't been considered yet...and announcement this morning from Washington State, Bluewood (near Walla Walla) will open this weekend...a bit more info on the unfortunate skier who died this weekend near Cypress in Canada. Apparently fell down a ravine, wound up in a tree well and suffered a heart attack. He was 26 years old, name withheld...a season that began so nicely in the Carolinas back in October has now screeched to a halt; Sugar, Beech and Appalachian are all closed since the white stuff melted last week. Beech had the guns on this morning and did put down some white stuff, but temps have risen and we have to hope it sticks. Will try to keep track of it with a photo below this report...better temps in Maine have the Sugarloaf snowmakers moving to the Whiffletree area, a section of the mountain that is dismissed by 99% of the regulars but don't let that fool you, it is one of the best lower intermediate pods in New England...don't know if I mentioned, we've assembled a fairly complete list of 2012-13 indemnified bindings -- find the link here -- and I have to say that a LOT of popular models fell off the list this year. Was startled when I corralled a couple dozen pairs of skis to take to a swap and had to leave almost half of them at home. Your take-away is, give any used bindings a real close look before buying, because some very current looking models were dropped this year.

Here's the live cam view at Beech:

11 December 2012 -- Snow in the southwest, Ski Santa Fe plans to open this weekend on a mix of natural and manmade. Sandia Peak was planning to do the same, but now saying they'll postpone a bit more. Snow covering parts of Taos but not all; Angelfire looking good and should be ramping up soon...and Colorado has received some of the same, we're still waiting word from small but mighty Ski Cooper which was open last season at this time, however the Leadville area doesn't usually spin until mid to late month...real snow fell in the upper Midwest, Lutsen gleaned 8" from the recent storm, and Hyland XC is bustling with activity after receiving 17" of snow. Hyland Hills is skiing downhill on most everything, just a few slopes remain closed. Last season Hyland was shuttered most of the time for lack of snow. Western MN's Buena Vista was looking good Saturday and Sunday and will reopen this weekend...sorry to report that a Canadian resident died Saturday in a backcountry accident near Cypress Mountain, apparently fell into a muddy creek area, no other details...the ladies of the World Cup roadshow rolled into St. Moritz this weekend, and Tina Maze continued her winning ways with Lindsey Vonn disrupting the party here and there. Maze won the Super Combi, no points for Linz. Vonn won the Super G, Tina took second and Julia Mancuso was third. Rubber match was the GS on Sunday; Maze won that while Lindsey finished last but gleaned a few points. Apparently she also cussed at Maze which caused a bit of a stir, but it was just Lindsey being Lindsey and they talked it out. Guys, she's available, but she just might be a handful. Anyway, Maze has a commanding lead in the overall, up some 230 points over Maria Hoefl-Riesch. Vonn is another 30 behind in third...the ladies head next to Val d'Isere, where the men ran little and big slalom events this past weekend. Alexis Pinturault won on his home turf, followed by Germany's Felix Neureuther and reigning overall champ Marcel Hirscher finished second. Ted Ligety was 12th. Moving to the GS course on Sunday, Hirscher copped the top spot, Ligety third, German Stefan Luitz was in between with his very first podium. Aksel Lund Svindal was 6th and maintained his edge in the overall, 40ish points over Ted the Shred and 60 ahead of Hirscher. The boys are off to Val Gardena for a couple of speed events this coming weekend. Last year's Super G saw Bode Miller finish second to Beat Feuz, sadly won't be seeing Bode on the hill this year.

10 December 2012 -- Got word that Hoodoo opened this weekend. Just don't rush out today, the Salem, Oregon area (well, the town is Sisters, but Salem is the closest most of us are familiar with) is one of those that doesn't open Mon-Weds...turning to Washington state, Duncan Howat, manager of Mt. Baker Ski Area, was awarded an Honorary National Appointment from the National Ski Patrol. Every now and then the NSP does this to recognize someone -- not a member -- who has gone above and beyond in helping/promoting the organization...New Hampshire's Attitash spun the lifts this weekend...very patchy start to the season, even the fabled Arapahoe Basin is sending out "powder alerts" for a measly 4" of fresh snow...one of the few places where snow is not a problem this season is Tahoe, where Alpine Meadows and Tahoe Donner joined the open ranks on Friday. Only regional ones still waiting are Homewood and Soda Springs, which will go this coming weekend. Also Diamond Peak, waiting on snow but could drop the ropes at any time...will update World Cup results after time for some analysis...pleased to announce that we're working on a blog type thing for Gondyline correspondent Liz Holste.

3 December 2012 -- Plenty of surprises in today's report, count 'em...Unless you live under a rock, no surprise that we open with the spectacular Lindsey Vonn hat trick in Lake Louise World Cup action. Linz took both downhills and capped it off by winning the Super G yesterday, so we can safely assume she's put that stomach bug behind her. The only thing really to talk about is the fact that she is still making a bid to race against men, and that her top speed in Lake Louise would have her about 17th among the boys. Some surprise in the runners up lists, namely that teammate Stacey Cook was 2nd in both downhills. Maria Hoefl-Riesch was third in Friday's DH, while Marianne Kaufman-Abderhalden rounded out the podium Saturday. A teammate was again second in yesterday's SG, this time Julia Mancuso. Anna Fenninger was third. Tina Maze was fourth, which enabled her to hold on to her lead in the overall, just ahead of Hoefl-Riesch and Vonn...the men were on the Birds of Prey course in Beaver Creek, where Italy's Christof Innerhofer won the downhill by 3/10ths over Norseman Aksel Lund Svindal, whose compatriot Kjetil Jansrud was third. Super G on Saturday saw another Italian, Matteo Marsaglia, take the top spot with Svindal again just 3/10ths behind. Hannes Reichelt of Austria was third, Ted Ligety delivered with a 4th place finish for team USA. Ligety returned yesterday to positively dominate the Giant Slalom event, no great surprise but for the nearly 2-second margin over runner up Marcel Hirscher of Austria, Davide Simoncelli of Italy in third. Svindal skied to sixth, so there's no surprise that he's on top of the overall standings, with Ligety 2nd and looking surprisingly strong in 3 disciplines...good news from the east coast where a bunch of 2nd tier openers opened this weekend, including a surprise opening at Blue Mountain in Pennsy. New York's Windham opened with good conditions...bad news from the east coast where it is currently very warm, and raining on some of the hills. Tomorrow slated to be even warmer, then back to cold and more snowmaking Thursday, possibly as early as Wednesday...in the midwest, Treetops Resort may be small, but they're offering a big sized promotion in conjunction with some area lodging -- stay at one of 11 local hotels and ski Treetops for free, program is offered not this weekend but next...story in California right now is the haves and have-nots, specifically Mammoth skiing on 60-70 inches top to bottom, 14 lifts running to serve over 2,000 acres. The "nots" are led by Mt Shasta Ski Park, where the namesake peak is solid white but the ski area is solid dirt...Tahoe the situation is one of highs and lows, "high" being the snowfall total up high and "low" being the snowfall total, or lack of it, at the base of the resorts. Squaw Valley, for example, is skiing on four feet of fresh up high, with just four inches of not so fresh at the base...back east, kudos to Sunday River for again hosting the "skiing santas" toy drive, with some 300 donning santa suits for a good cause.

26 November 2012 -- Up on Mt. Charleston, Las Vegas Ski and Snow Resort opened this weekend...in New Mexico, Ski Apache did not; they're now talking December 7th...but the biggest news has to be from the World Cup scene, this time from Lake Louise and the unbelievable podium finish for Marco Sullivan in the downhill. Sullivan, in case you don't remember (and I don't blame you if you don't) is an oft-injured skier from Truckee CA who lost his sponsors, got demoted to the B team, and has been gamely hanging on to his ersatz career. Turns out Marco still got game, surprising everyone but himself with a 3rd place after starting 42nd! If you aren't that familiar with World Cup, 42nd starting place means he was skiing in ruts with trust fund wannabes racing for Team Djibouti. Anyway, Sullivan finished in a virtual dead heat with Austrian Klaus Kroell, Austrian Max Franz was second, while top spot on the podium went to Norwegian great Aksel Lund Svindal. Other notables: Erik Guay was the best Canadian on home turf, finishing 6th, his countryman Jan Hudec was 17th. Svindal returned to win the Super G the next day, followed by Frenchman Adrien Theaux and Austrian Joachim Puchner. USA's Ted Ligety was a surprising 4th, just his 2nd Super G podium and first non-GS podium since 2009. That finish put Ted the Shred in 2nd overall behind Svindal...the ladies meanwhile were in Aspen, GS won by Tina Maze of Slovenia, followed by Kathrin Zettel of Austria and Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany. America's 17-year-old sensation Mikaela Shiffrin surprised with a 9th place finish. Yesterday in the tight gates Austria's Kathrin Zettel edged compatriot Marlies Schild; Maze was third. Shiffrin? Seventh...how about that. Good to see Resi Stiegler back on the piste, however, she was too slow to qualify for the second run. Maze is the early overall leader, and as of today the highest ranking American is -- you guessed it -- Shiffrin in fifth. Lindsey Vonn did race in the GS and finished 21st, which is not too shabby considering it was always her worst discipline and she has just gotten over a NASTY stomach bug. Linz recently shed a little light on that, explaining that her doctors first thought was Crohn's, then figured out it was a vicious infection, and a cocktail of antibiotics finally knocked it out. The bout left Vonn exhausted, as demonstrated when she collapsed after the second run. We're glad to see she's on the road back, and hopefully will be fighting it out at the top of the rankings very soon...word from the Poconos is that Camelback has been cranking out snow most of the weekend.

21-23 November 2012 -- Happy Thanksgiving to all, we have much to be thankful for. And I'm not even talking about the skiing...haven't said much about the Pac northwest, so here goes...Washington state skiers have a bit more to be thankful for, as Stevens Pass got the ball rolling for WA yesterday, running the Brooks and Daisy lifts with $39 tix...more terrain at Mt. Baker, which opened this morning with seven lifts. Crystal cranked it up today as well; Gondola, Green Valley and Rainier Express lifts operating. Crystal plans to add Chinook Express, Forest Queen and possibly High Campbell for access to Powder Bowl by Saturday...Mission Ridge calling for a Saturday opening, meanwhile 49 Degrees North can't say for sure but word is they are clawing and scratching and hoping for Friday...a bit south in Oregon, both Mount Hood Meadows and Mt. Bachelor are planning to open tomorrow...moving to Idaho, Sun Valley and Lookout Pass are hoping to open tomorrow; Silver Mountain is targeting Friday...in Montana you've got Big Sky and lots of hoping...back east, can't say enough about the way Loon NH has been kicking off recent seasons; tomorrow they are planning to drop the ropes on Sunset, Haulback, Lower Walking Boss, Link, and Lower Bear Claw, making some six miles of trails. And they'll be running a top ticket price of $49 through the weekend...in VT, Mount Snow will be opening this weekend with Canyon and Launch Pad in the main area, and a route down Carinthia to boot! Skiers can shuttle back down to the main area via Long John, but have to drive or hoof it to get to Carinthia base. Still, that's an impressive opening...new ORDA management of NY metro biggie Belleayre already showing that things have changed, won't be opening this weekend due to temps. Back under DEC control they would've bulldogged through the varying weather.

19 November 2012 -- New York's Whiteface opened with a run this past weekend, has closed today and will re-fire on Friday...Gore scheduled to join on Friday...in NH Loon continues to impress with their snowmaking efforts, opened Friday with downloading on the gondola but by this morning they are skiing top-to-bottom...Wildcat slated to open Thanksgiving Day with a WROD off the Bobcat chair, tix just $15, then going to normal ops Friday with higher pricing...in VT, Okemo is now top-to-bottom, offering a couple different routes down the mountain...just up Route 100, Killington has top-to-bottom and is running the Snowdon poma for skiers preferring to stick with the likes of Mouse Run...in Michigan -- home of NASCAR Champion Brad Keselowski -- small but might Ski Brule has a couple runs open, fiercely making snow on Bambi, Big Bear, Sunrise, Snowshoe runs...elsewhere in MI, Caberfae has made some snow but is expecting weather conditions to put the kabosh on opening for the holiday...Lutsen opened on Ullr as reported, otherwise not much happening in the midwest...in CO, Vail Mountain and the Eldora Mountain Resort opened Friday...Monarch was planning to give it a go but the weather said no...personal fave Ski Cooper in Leadville is looking to open on Thanksgiving, which is a few weeks earlier than usual, glad to hear it...Loveland started spinning chair six this weekend, offering the Roulette trail...over the hill, Arapahoe Basin now has the Lenawee/Dercum's route open, which is heaven on earth for intermediate skiers...reigning World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn was skiing at Vail over the weekend, doing some freeskiing Saturday and working some GS gates yesterday. Report is she may do a Super G training run today, but no word yet on whether Linz will be competing in the SL and GS events in Aspen this coming weekend...on the men's side, Super G world champ Christof Innerhofer will be on the hill in Lake Louise this weekend, recovered from his various summer injuries...in other WC news, Canadian speedster Robbie Dixon broke his leg while training at Copper Mountain Thursday. Dixon has a bunch of top tens and a podium, let's hope he can recover to get this once-promising career back on track...Utah's Deer Valley will be opening Dec 8th with a "star-studded ski fest." DVR says the Mahre brothers, Tommy Moe, and their own Heidi Voelker will be on hand along with some celebs...a US Bankruptcy Court in Greenbelt, MD is now mulling over the rules for the proposed sale of Wisp to EPR Properties...in southern California, warm weather and rains forced Mt. Baldy to shut down. Bear Mountain, Snow Summit and Mountain High remain open with mostly hardpack...turning back east, Sunday River is running the Barker chair only today after a very decent weekend, working the snow on Locke and blowing on South Ridge in an attempt to open that section for the holiday.

15 November 2012 -- Word from upper midwest is that Lutsen will crank it up on Saturday, offering a pair of runs on Ullr. Minnesota's biggie has added 32 SMI fans to its snowmaking arsenal, these are the computer-controlled jobbies that adjust for humidity and whatnot...looking to the northeast, Sugarloaf will reopen this weekend with a nice mix of trails, more than just the usual white ribbon of death...speaking of the WROD, Killington kicked off today with its first top-to-bottom of this early season, which will eliminate the hike of death on that staircase. We're still tickled that K-Mart is returning to its old ways of opening early and kicking some ass...nothing happening yet in NH but we're delighted that Attitash is adding a small handle tow and a short slope at the Bear Peak base. Who cares? Well, it's going to be a free try-it-out/learn-to-ski area that will be available to anybody anytime the Bear Peak area is open. Free. Now I think that's terrific, you've got plenty of people who might give the sport a try, but for the fact that it costs a bloody fortune. So major kudos to Attitash...in New Mexico, Ski Apache is making snow, targeting a Turkey Day opening...Lindsey Vonn is home from the hospital: "She is resting comfortably at home. Doctors are still working to determine what specifically was the cause of her illness, but thankfully she has responded well to their treatment," according to spokesman Lewis Kay...you may have heard that NY metro area biggie Belleayre has gone from State Parks (DEC) control to Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) control. ORDA is the group that runs Whiteface and Gore. Yesterday ORDA president Ted Blazer said there are no wholesale changes in the immediate future, although some of the deep discounting is coming to a screeching halt. Belleayre did turn on the guns last night, finally...word from West Virginia, where 3' of snow knocked out power and roads for a while , Snowshoe has officially called for opening next Wednesday, Nov 21.

14 November 2012 -- Neglected to report that Jiminy Peak in MA opened this past weekend, believe it was some sort of fundraiser event. Warm temps killed the snow, no word on when they'll take another shot...a bit north of Jiminy, Mount Snow was able to re-fire the fan guns last night...Idaho's Winter Wildlands Alliance, a backcountry ski group, is askin a federal judge in Boise to force the USFS to create travel management plans for snowmobiles. In 2005 the USFS had to do this for wheeled vehicles, but snowmobiles were exempted, and it is up to each NF to decide if travel will be restricted. Some, such as NH's White Mountain NF created snowmobile plans, but others have chosen not to -- which leads to some huge conflicts between snowmobiles and BC skiers. Sled supporters say the over-the-snow travel has no impact on the land, while skiers say the tracks destroy ski trails and the noise is deafening. Gondyline.com agrees; snowmobiles are great fun, but let's leave some forest untracked for the skiers...word from UT is that Sundance will have a new chair ready for opening day, will improve skier flow AND eliminate the shuttle from that parking area...in MN, small but mighty Mount Kato cranked up the snow guns on Sunday night, has been blowing steadily...The Bulletin in Bend, OR is reporting that ski manufacturers are starting to figure out that most skiers aren't surfing over waist-deep powder, and are scaling back on production of all the rocker skis that have dominated the market for the past couple years. Jeremy Nelson, owner of Skjersaa's ski shop in Bend, says "To have a ski that just feels like an elephant on ice skates is no fun."

13 November 2012 -- Big snow in the Wasatch over the weekend, big snow! Brighton opened today, Solitude will open tomorrow, and Snowbird set to go on almost four feet of fresh on Thursday. Alta and Brian Head plan to open this Friday, with Park City set for Saturday... The Associated Press reports that reigning world champ Lindsey Vonn has checked into a Colorado hospital for severe intestinal pain. A spokesperson for Vonn says this is what kept Linz off the piste in Finland this past weekend...well it looks like the season will really get going this weekend in Tahoe; Heavenly and Northstar are set to open tomorrow, Kirkwood and Squaw Valley open Friday, and Sugar Bowl will spin 'em on Saturday...Colorado isn't about to let openings in Utah and Tahoe go unanswered; Wolf Creek and Winter Park will crank it up tomorrow morning...in New England, mark your calendars for December 12 as Bretton Woods will be offering $12 lift tix in honor of 12/12/12...Ski Dazzle hits the Los Angeles Convention Center on Thursday, runs thru the weekend...Warren Miller movie event in New York City Saturday...Montana's Discovery Ski Area looking for a few more inches, and optimistic about a Thanksgiving opening...Killington has managed to make it stick this time, now working on some of the Snowdon trails to get more open...Okemo open with a white ribbon of death, gearing up for its annual ski swap, tomorrow is last day to drop off consignments...Sunday River offering two routes down Locke Mountain.

12 November 2012 -- Southern Cal cold front last week saw Mountain High open yesterday; Bear Mountain and Snow Summit following this morning. All three of the So Cal biggies are offering free tix to US military vets in honor of Veterans Day. Tix for non-vets are in the $35 range for early season conditions...Helena MT local ski area Great Divide opened with a surprising amount of terrain yesterday, about 40 acres. They're closed for the week, will re-open Saturday...elsewhere in Big Sky country, the Bitterroot Cross-Country Ski Club just got permission to groom roads and set up track & skate trails on U.S. Forest Service land, and equipping its grooming crews to do the job. The operation will have 12 miles of new trails in the Lost Trail Pass area...speaking of nordies, Waterville ME Quarry Road Recreation Area XC volunteers are asking for local donations, they need about $30k per season to operate. Don't know why they're just asking locals; here's the link... FIS World Cup action this weekend saw Maria Hoefl-Riesch surprise no one by winning the slalom in Levi, Finland. Tanja Poutiainen took second, followed by -- surprise -- American Mikaela Shiffren in third. Tina Maze finished 4th and has the early overall lead. Swede Andre Myhrer won the men's competition, with defending champ Marcel Hirscher and Jens Byggmark rounding out the podium. Best American effort for the guys was Ted Ligety, who finished 13th. Hirscher the early leader...Entertainment Properties Trust appears to be in line to purchase troubled Wisp ski resort, Maryland's only. Wisp owners filed Chapter 11 about a year ago, and are now asking the bankruptcy court to approve the sale to EPR for $20 million. EPR owns and leases the Peak Resorts properties...Wayne Wong and Jeremy Bloom headline the 2012 inductees into the US Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame in Ishpeming, MI. Other Class of '12 inductees are world championship medalist Kirsten Clark, world champion and snowboarding pioneer Craig Kelly, ski instructor Horst Abraham and developer Hans Geier...Aspen Skiing Co bought a coal mine in Somerset CO, the key being that this particular mine uses the operation's methane gas by-products to generate electricity, which is all inline with SkiCo's sustainability initiatives...according to OnTheSnow.com, four Washington State ski areas, 49 Degrees North, Mission Ridge, Stevens Pass and Mt. Spokane are biting the bullet and will be listing tix on Liftopia this season.

6 November 2012 -- Election Day...everybody says "be sure and vote!" but I assure you that you'll never hear me say that, unless you tell me who you plan to vote for. Then, if and only if I agree with your choices, you'll hear me say it...news from the northeast is that Sunday River opened a white ribbon of death this morning. Just yesterday it didn't seem likely (see below) but from what I've heard the conditions are decent. Sister resort Sugarloaf has the guns going on Tote Road...Vermont biggie Okemo plans to follow suit Thursday if all continues to go well. They'll be running the usual twig season route on Countdown with downloading on the base chair...So Vermont has both Stratton and Mount Snow blowing some snow around; look north a bit and Sugarbush is laying down some fluff...one early season regular that has yet to spin the lifts is Wolf Creek in Pagosa Springs, CO. Last year at this time they were serving up powder days; right now the only thing on the mountain is basalt. But on the bright side, that could change overnight...interesting but not surprising news from the UK, Essential Travel, one of those ski trip insurance companies says that "it is now compulsory that you wear a helmet whilst participating in winter sports activities to be fully covered by our winter sports travel insurance policies," which is noteworthy for a couple reasons. First, the Brits love financial and legal instruments and they all travel with this sort of insurance, so you can expect to see caravans of 100% helmeted English skiers in the Alps and New England. Second, can you imagine an American consumer website using words like "whilst" and "compulsory" in a sales pitch? Me neither. We're in trouble.

5 November 2012 -- It's "game on" again in the northeast as Killington is spinning the K1 gondy to access a white ribbon of death on the old Glades chair section, return to download via footpath. Hey it's a start, again. Let's hope it sticks this time. The guns are still blazing and the North Ridge section (Glades) looks like a winter storm as I type this...in Maine, Sunday River is cranking the guns on Barker. No word yet on opening...nice snow up high at Bretton Woods, but they've fallen out of the early opener sweepstakes and are confirming Thanksgiving to spin the lifts. New at BW this season is a throwback t-bar to access new terrain on Mt. Stickney...FIS World Cup news, first off, officials dismissed Lindsey Vonn's bid to race with the boys. And sad to report that Austrian team member Bjorn Sieber was killed when his car rolled 70 meters down a hill in the Alps. Sieber was a sometime starter and former junior championships medalist...Pac NW has some snow up high at Mt. Bachelor, looking to a Nov 21 opening...raining right now at Timberline, which is on a weekend schedule for the time being...and down in California Bear Valley got expansion approval from Stanislaus National Forest for new, summit access lifts but that is getting some friction from an environmental group called the Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center. According to the CSERC they are ok with most of the proposal, but have some issues with habitat loss and visitor impact. But it seems this might all be for nothing, because Bear Valley is not moving forward too quickly due to the recession.

2 November 2012 -- As you can see, SkierNet.com is moving on to a new publishing team, but we're sticking around as Gondyline.com. We picked this new name to fit our "old school" approach: We celebrate what used to be, and we still ski it...Gondyline...well the hurricane has certainly helped the mid-Atlantic ski areas; Ski Beech was first to open as far as we can tell, but temps have soared and they are closed today...in WV we know that Canaan Valley got dumped on but has no power and is currently closed...people were buzzing about Snowshoe with two feet on the ground, but you'll have to wait until November 21st to jump on Shay's...sad to say the state is just knocked out...so the place to ski in the east -- and if you're reading this you can probably guess -- is Cataloochee in the Carolinas, running two lifts on a mix of manmade and natural on the lower runs...moving to the midwest, the usual early opener Ski Brule is cranking up the lifts on the Upper Peninsula this weekend, a tow and a chair to service a pair of runs...Colorado has A-Basin adding Ramrod to the High Noon offering, and is turning the guns on Lenawee. Neighboring biggie Keystone scheduled to open today...Back down on I-40 and a few miles west you'll find Copper opening for the season today, two trails off the American Eagle quad and one beginner hill with a surface lift...in Utah the Park City Ski Swap is this weekend...New Jersey ski clubs kicking off the pre-season with a "jamboree" tonight in Whippany, our own Liz Holste will be on hand.

1 November 2012 -- Please be advised that SkierNet.com has been purchased by an exciting new skiing web publisher and we expect the new SkierNet to quickly become one of the top sites in the sport! As for me, this news column and the "old school" ski area reviews will not directly be part of the new site; we're moving this "blog" to a new site during the next few days. Please bookmark this web page and when the new site is ready, there will be a live link on that page. Thank you for your support over the years, and "stay tuned" for a whole new SkierNet!

-- Rick Bolger

29 October 2012 -- Hurricane Sandy bears down on the east...please be advised that indeed, it appears that SkierNet.com content will be moving to a new website which has yet to be determined. Because of the storm, this transfer may be quite haphazard. So in the meantime, please bookmark this web page and when you can no longer find SkierNet, there will be a live link on that page. Probably will go live this weekend...meanwhile Ted Ligety showed that he is once again the top dog in GS winning the season opener in Soelden by 2.75 seconds over Italian Manny Moelgg. Reigning overall champ Marcel Hirscher of Austria was third...Slovenia's Tina Maze took the womens competition, beating Austrians Katrin Zettel and Stefanie Koehl respectively. The third place was Koehl's first World Cup podium...West Virginia's Snowshoe, Timberline, Canaan Valley etc. are looking for massive snow, currently projected by the NOAA on the heels of Hurricane Sandy.

24 October 2012 -- World Cup news has word that Swiss star Beat Feuz is "doubtful" for the season opener GS in Soelden this weekend. Feuz, who went neck-and-neck with champ Marcel Hirscher for the overall last season, had knee surgery during the off-season and is apparently not yet 100%...Winter Park is running a lifetime pass giveaway on Facebook; "friend" WP and fill out some sort of form between now and Jan 10 and you're eligible. Talk about building a database! And really, when you think about it, this isn't costing them a nickel...season is underway finally in Europe; Ruka Ski Resort in Finland spun the lifts yesterday. Ruka generally takes these first-to-open honors...snow in Tahoe; Heavenly got about a foot to a foot-and-a-half, slightly more at Kirkwood and up to two feet at Northstar. Heavenly & Northstar are set to go November 16, while Kirkweed will open the 21st. Tahoe skiers won't have to wait that long, however, as Squaw Valley is taking advantage of the storm and plans to spin the lifts tomorrow. If they do, it will be the first time in years that someone has beaten Boreal to the punch for Tahoe bragging rights. Boreal is said to be opening on Friday, but I wouldn't be surprised if they gin something together this afternoon...across the lake, the US Forest Service is planning to implement a prescribed burn right across the street from Mt. Rose over the next couple days, so don't be alarmed if you happen to see that...up in Canada, Nakiska is gearing up to open this weekend...Ski Swap this Saturday at New York's small but mighty West Mountain near Glens Falls, always a great event...and finally, more World Cup news, this from a reporter in Australia of all places, supposedly German Ace Maria Hoefl-Riesch says the FIS calendar is "madness" with 37 World Cup events and the world championships on the schedule....alright, aside from that, just want to point out that Maria is one of the all-time greats, it's just her misfortune to be skiing at the same time as Lindsey Vonn.

22 October 2012 -- Great news from Colorado's Front Range; Loveland opens tomorrow, joining A-Basin on the other side of the hill. Tix will be $49...and in Oregon we're glad that Timberline reopened for the season this past weekend. We say "reopened" because they don't usually close until late August. For now just open Fri/Sat/Sun...there is a rumor that Vermont's Sugarbush is looking to sponsor a free ski slope in Queens NY this winter, slated to be a learn-to-ski operation in Astoria Park with snowmaking equipment and some temporary buildings to outfit young skiers. If it happens it would mark the first skiing on Long Island since the 1980s. Long Island/Queens once had as many as five ski operations. If it's true, kudos to Sugarbush...more snowmaking tests happening in the east; word has it that New Jersey's sprawling Mountain Creek tested last night...more hulabaloo from that proposed Cherry Peak Ski Resort near Logan, UT, turns out the enviro watchdog group that got all up in arms about tree cutting neglected to mention that said tree cutting was done on private property. Now I'm all for good environmental stewardship, but -- except for unusual circumstances -- landowners can cut trees on their own property, dammit! Turns out the whole resort is planned for private property, it just happens to be wedged between some watershed and wilderness areas. Should've done my homework on this. Private property? Boom! Buzz! Build away! Wonder if the enviro guys ever thought about the animals that suffered when their houses were built...more lawsuits at Pennsy's Elk Mountain. The Village of Four Seasons, which sued Elk last year when their private access gate was closed, now claims Elk built a sewer line on their property, is asking that the line be removed....in Tahoe news, Sugar Bowl just signed an agreement to operate the Royal Gorge XC Resort. The two were already interconnected; the agreement should improve snow and grooming conditions at Royal Gorge, as well as provide some joint-skiing opportunities for passholders...Squaw Valley is replacing the old High Camp lift with a high-speed six pack, also removing the Links double and putting in a triple that will be realigned to work better with the Solitude and Silverado lifts...and yes it appears that SkierNet.com content will be moving to a new website; we'll keep you posted.

18 October 2012 -- Well I'm taking some heat for not reporting that New England's early-to-open Mutt & Jeff team was back at it this past weekend, with massive Killington opening the Rime trail to passholders only, and tiny Woodbury Connecticut managed to open with a half-acre of mush on Saturday. Neither one is open now. These are really publicity stunts more than anything else, but hey, that's fine. Woodbury was a thorn in Killington's side years ago, but it all slowed down for a while when K-Mart was in financial straits and stopped going for early opening. Since the renaissance at K-Mart after being purchased by PCMR, they're back at it, and Woodbury is right there with them. It's a throwback to yesteryear, and gosh it makes me hopeful for a good season...Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum is celebrating its 10th anniversary. The museum is located right smack in the middle of Stowe -- the town, not the resort....Bitterroot National Forest is working with Lost Trail Ski Area on the Idaho/Montana border to cut dead and dying trees in an effort to slow the spread of mountain pine beetles...sorry to report this, but it probably makes sense: Hurricane Ridge will only be open weekends this season. The club-operated ski hill is located way up on (you guessed it) Hurricane Ridge, which is located in Olympic National Park. Last season they only averaged 38 cars on weekdays, so the National Park Service said it wasn't worth the expense and would cut out mid-week plowing of the 17-mile torturous route from Port Angeles...and finally, we may be moving this newsblog to a new website; stay tuned for details.

17 October 2012 -- And so Arapahoe Basin wins the first-to-open honors, outside of Timberline of course. First chair spun this morning and a few hardy skiers are making turns down High Noon, which looks to have decent coverage. Meanwhile over the hill at Loveland, the Catwalk/Mambo route continues to look good up high, but not so much back down to the chair...snow guns went on for a bit at New Hampshire's Loon Mountain this weekend...but the most jaw-dropping news of all -- if it's true -- is that Vermont's Jay Peak has reduced ticket prices this season. That's not a typo, folks, a resort spokesman says that tix are going from $75 last year to $64 for the 2012-13 season. Jay says it can do this because of the additional revenue it is enjoying thanks to the new waterpark and hotel. Whatever the reason, kudos to Jay Peak...best news of the week is out of Montana, where it was just announced that shuttered Teton Pass will re-open this season after a $1.8 million cash infusion. Owner Nick Wood of New Zealand is targeting December 15 for opening day. The lifts have been quiet since 2009...Aspen Senior VP David Perry says early season reservations are down; industry pundits are calling it a result of the "snow hangover", meaning that skiers are gunshy about committing to costly trips after last year's early season debacle...the Bear River Watershed Council in Cache County, Utah is claiming that Cherry Peak Ski Area developers cut some trees at the proposed resort near Richmond. The BRW council says this violates the conditional use permit. This is all located north of Logan, and it seems to me it will fight with Beaver Mountain for skier dollars if it ever gets off the ground....Bode Miller, my longtime close, personal friend, has announced that he will skip the season opener in Soelden.

11 October 2012 -- Snow guns kicked on at Killington overnight up on the North Ridge. Not much to see, but it's a start...Snow bearing down on Colorado this weekend; work crews at Vail have helicopters working on tower installs for the new gondy. The guns are blowing on the Golden Peak section...down the road at Beaver Creek they're finishing up some redesigns on the finish area for the Birds of Prey World Cup course, talking about turning on the snowmaking apparatus next week...Speaking of Vail properties, White River National Forest approval of the Peak 6 expansion at Breckenridge now faces two appeals, the most meaningful being a petition signed by individuals and a couple environmental groups including the local chapter of the Sierra Club. The petition is mostly regarding the lynx habitat, but also gets into disruption of the scenic beauty and takes exception with Breck's (owned by Vail Resorts) reasons for expansion, claiming that the terrain isn't suited for what the developer says it needs...."Town meeting" type thing scheduled for for 6 pm tonight at Idaho's Soldier Mountain to discuss the future of the ski area; Bruce Willis is donating the operation to a non-profit foundation that will run it...at least one pro has lent support to Lindsey Vonn's desire to enter the mens downhill in Lake Louise; Canadian speedster Kelly VanderBeek, who still is recovering from a serious knee injury, thinks it would be great publicity for the sport...U.S. Paralympic skier Chris Jefferson of Grand Junction CO will receive a grant from the High Fives Foundation Winter Empowerment Fund. High Fives is a nonprofit out of Tahoe, CA that is "dedicated to raising money and awareness for athletes that have suffered a life-altering injury while pursuing their dream in the winter action-sports community." The grant will help Jefferson travel to competitions; he is a regular at Powderhorn Mountain Resort where he regularly assists other skiers in adaptive programs...Not sure Loveland can make a go of it this weekend, they've got Catwalk and Mambo covered but the rest of the route is still too thin. I guess it all depends on what the storm brings...guns are scheduled to re-fire tonight over the hill at A-Basin, I honestly think they might get the jump on Loveland again this year because they have the fan guns and a shorter opening route.

8 October 2012 -- That sleeping giant known as the Average U.S. Skier awakened from his and her slumber as small but mighty Wild Mountain in Taylors Falls MN opened yesterday on a combination of blown snow and ice chips. And by "open" we mean a rather short bunny hill, but hey! Game on in the midwest...more good news, snow fell at higher elevations in New England overnight. Mainers awoke to a fine dusting from mid-mountain on up at Sugarloaf; across the region notable dustings fell at Jay Peak and Cannon, and finding some white stuff as far south as Stratton. This is just a dusting, and yes the region got an October storm followed by a horrifying dearth of snow last season, but it gives us something to talk about...wouldn't it be a pleasant surprise if Killington was laying some hose out on the old Glades area. I still can't get used to the new name, whatever it is...coming into Ski Swap season, we'll keep you posted on some of those...speaking of New England, Mad River Glen and Sugarbush buried the hatchet Saturday as promised; announcing a bunch of pass options and ski-three ticket deals...Middlefied CT selectmen are breathing a sigh of relief now that Sean Hayes, the new owner of hopefully-to-be-reopened Powder Ridge has indeed secured $2 million in funding, and has it in writing...in Colorado, the guns blazed most of the weekend at Arapahoe Basin and Ski Loveland, quiet now in the bright warm sunshine, but the base is looking good...and from the FIS World Cup circus, you may be aware that Lindsey Vonn has requested an opportunity to race against the men at Lake Louise, even though she projects to be five seconds slower than the top competitors. FIS is probably trying to figure a way out of this, even though they have yet to say "no". Their "out" will probably come from the rule that says no skier can test a course in the week prior to the competition, and Lake Louise DH is essentially the same course for men and women.

5 October 2012 -- Big news in a big way from New England where Sugarbush put out a statement that they will announce a joint seasons pass with valley rival Mad River Glen on Saturday. This is quite a breakthrough, as the 'bush swiped MRG's GM when they started up, and supposedly the deal was done in MRG's own lodge. This isn't quite as big as when the Berlin Wall fell, although some VT skiers might say otherwise...Skico always managing to find its way into the news, announcing that the new "Elk Camp" restaurant will be ready for the season opener at Snowmass. They've been building for two years and the cost is now topping $13 million. The 15,000-square-foot structure will replace the old Cafe Suzanne....ok, let me start by saying, I am not making this up. These are the first three sentences from a press release that Vail Resorts put out yesterday, concerning their Tahoe/Truckee properties. Here goes: "The mountain experience at Lake Tahoe has been re-imagined. It has been reborn thanks to significant on-mountain investment over the past decade. It includes a cultural movement that embraces the skier or snowboarder and takes their experience to the next level." And it goes on with "service initiatives" and other pseudonews that I can't sort out. To the writer's credit, it does cover the who/what/where/why and how. But no matter how I re-imagine it, I still don't know what it means...I do know that Arapahoe Basin has every intention of fighting Loveland for first-to-open; right now A-Basin has a nice ribbon of white on the skier's right side of Sundance, and the fanguns are spinning as I type this. Over the hill, Loveland has guns going on the usual early season Catwalk/Mambo route...not to be outdone, Idaho's legendary Sun Valley cranked up a few guns yesterday, but conditions are limiting them to 4 or 5 hours of snowmaking per day...news from the North Cascades, where Methow Valley Ranger District says North Cascade Heli-Skiing blatantly cut a number of high altitude trees in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest to accommodate their operations after being issued a warning. Company owner Paul Butler says "we made a mistake and we apologize," and that he fully expects to be put on probation. Bullshit. Their permit should be rescinded.

4 October 2012 -- Huzzah! Mountain ops fired up the compressors at Loveland in the wee hours this morning. They've been getting periodically dusted, then warmed, then dusted, etc. for the past two weeks and now it looks as if they might be able to make it stick...Skico is hosting a job fair today at the Bumps Restaurant, base of Buttermilk, accepting applications for jobs in hospitality, lift operations, rental/retail and ski school...New Mexico's Angel Fire just announced that they will keep their zipline open during the ski season. Not that I care, but you might...By now you've heard all about Glen Plake's avalanche adventure on Manaslu, interesting backstory is Plake said he was in his tent, reading his Bible when all hell broke loose.

4 October 2012 Footnote -- I have to start the season with a tribute to the legendary Andy Williams who passed away recently. In addition to being one of the all-time great vocalists, Williams was an outstanding skier and a fixture at Aspen through the 1960s and 70s -- it's a shame his ski-related legacy has been overshadowed by the Spider Sabich firearm lesson gone awry. Anyway, he was a great skier and ambassador for the sport back in the day. More importantly, he was one of the all-around nice guys. Williams played a small role in U.S. history when he accompanied Ethel Kennedy back to New York after RFK was assassinated, then escorted her to the funeral, where he sang "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." Little bit of trivia, RFK was buried wearing Andy Williams' necktie after John Glenn hastily collected suitable clothing for the body. Prior to the horrors of 1968, Williams, Kennedy, and Glenn helped kick off the opening of Waterville Valley. Somewhere in a ski lodge this season the unmistakable voice of Andy Williams singing "Canadian Sunset" will be piped through the loudspeakers...

Out there, on that ski trail
Where your kiss...filled me with thrills


...and we'll quietly say, thanks Andy, rest in peace.


Archival News

News from January 2012 to the dismal end of the season is located here.
News from January thru December 2011 is located here.
News prior to January 2011 is located on the Oct/Nov/Dec 2010 page. Previous season and earlier news has been deleted and moved to the old "skiernet" news archive from 2009-2010, or for 2008 and older seasons click here.


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Use this to get Lift Tickets at Discount: There is 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 usually best 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, usually when I am absolutely certain I will be skiing on a specific date. Some resorts offer "flex" tickets with which you can specify the date, and some have a few different tiers of pricing. In other words, you might be able to get a lift ticket that can be used on different days, but you'll pay a little more for that privilege. 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 -- even half off -- the price of some tickets. Not every area participates, but it's well worth checking before you head to the slopes.

A tiny portion of your Liftopia purchase helps fund this website, at no added cost.

Ski Movies for Mere Mortals

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, Sunday River...urban locations ranging from Virginia to Quebec...mogul skiing with The Hammer and Radio Ron...and backcountry throughout New York, New England, and the Chic Chocs. It's simply fantastic -- and since it's the same terrain we can get to, it's inspirational!

Their most popular current release is No Matter What , which received the ski equivalent of an Oscar for the Jay Peak powder segment, filmed during 2012 of all things. One that is probably their best is from a year ago, called Prime Cut . Another favorite is Wanderland: An East Coast Ski Thriller. All Meatheads 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...