Friday, November 30, 2007
Palmer Land Trust has won the 2007 El Pomar Award for Excellence in the Environmental Category. The Awards for Excellence program was established in 1989 to recognize and reward Colorado nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individuals that serve their communities with distinction and excellence.
For over 30 years, Palmer Land Trust has worked to preserve open space, natural areas, and agricultural lands in southeastern Colorado. To date, Palmer has permanently protected over 60,000 acres in 10 Colorado counties.
These include 11 public open space areas that offer recreation and nature study, including Red Rock Canyon Open Space, Stratton Open Space, Paint Mines Interpretive Park, Red Mountain, and Catamount Ranch.
“We owe this distinction to a number of visionary citizens and supporters who recognize that land protection is not just an environmental cause,” said Scott Campbell, the organization’s executive director. “When we protect important lands for future generations, we ensure a high quality of life for our region and maximize its economic potential.”
Palmer Land Trust was awarded $15,000 along with the recognition.
As a new resident of the area and a frequent user of local open space, a tip of my touk.
These passes are only available at
On Saturday, Dec. 1 the resort plans to offer more than 550 acres of terrain accessed by 14 lifts. Beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2007 the following lifts and portions of terrain in these areas will open for the 2007-2008 ski season.
- Avanti Express Lift (Chair 2)
- Wildwood Express Lift (Chair 3)
- Mountaintop Express Lift (Chair 4)
- Game Creek Express Lift (Chair 7)
- Born Free Express Lift (Chair 8)
- Minnie’s Lift (Chair 9)
- Gopher Hill Lift (Chair 12)
- Little Eagle Lift (Chair 15)
VistaBahn Express Lift (Chair 16)
- Eagle Bahn Gondola (Lift 19)
- Pride Express Lift (Chair 26)
- 3 Beginner Surface Lifts (at Eagle’s Nest, LionsHead and
) Golden Peak
First, save money. Here are the best discount and overstock Websites for outdoor gear:
www.steepandcheap.com (careful, it's addictive)
www.sierratradingpost.com (small quantities, don't waffle.)
Second, feel free to covet.
I love the Colorado-based Osprey Backpacks Talon Series -- super light packs that don't cut back on the bells and whistles. Mountain Chalet carries most of them.
I've really been coveting the Cadillac of jackets, the Alpha LT from Canadian company Arcteryx. Light, simple, strong, stylish, but ouch, it's like $400.
For that much, I could pick up a pair of the Black Diamond Kilowatts, and all around fun and super light ski. Wanna know what the ski techs at Mountain Chalet ski? The Kilowatt. 'Nuff said.
And what would go better with it than a pair of Scarpa T1 Telemark boots. I skied them recently at a demo, and can't wait to get back into them.
How 'bout a last minute hut trip? Most of the slots are full, but keep your eye out on the forum and you can score cancellation spots.
Nothing goes with a hut trip like down booties. When the floorboards of the outhouse are 8 degrees, these guys are key!
Thursday, November 29, 2007
The winter weather event is set to happen beginning Friday night and last through Saturday as a storm from the south meets a storm from the north resulting in a serious can of whoop ass. By Sunday morning, some places in Colorado's southwestern and central mountains could have 1-3 feet of new snow!
But now you can just buy one.
Granite Gear has a new pulk sled. I'm sure it's better designed than our DIY models, but it's also $600!
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
BIRDS OF PREY World Cup race training CANCELLED at Beaver Creek TODAY DUE TO HEAVY SNOWFALL WITH 8 INCHES ON COURSE
BEAVER CREEK. – A winter storm blew through the Colorado Rockies delivering 8 inches on the Birds of Prey World Cup race course as this morning. Race organizers cancelled downhill training due to the snowfall. (Ski racers prefer ice) World Cup races will begin at Beaver Creek tomorrow at 11 a.m. and continue through Sunday.
I was stuck in a serious blowdown event in the Adirondacks once. It's pretty scary. Dodging a falling tree is harder than it sounds.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Channel has released a limited addition, $13,000 vintage commuter bike with Chanel’s signature quilted leather touches. It will be available in Chanel boutiques in time for Christmas..
The guys over at the Goat say "Steal this bike. It’s likely that the person who buys the Chanel commuter bike lives in a money-insulated bubble where nothing bad ever happens. It’s this feeling of safety that will cause them to buy a cheap bike lock for their $13000 cruiser. If you see this bike with a cable lock and you are a cyclist, then you are morally obliged to break the cable lock and ride the bike away as fast as possible. Donate it to a kid or just ghostride it off the monkey bars in the park. At that point it only matters that you’ve taken this limited-edition 8-speed bike off the streets and out of the hands of someone who can’t appreciate the economic and social importance of cycling."
Monday, November 26, 2007
The plan will put $4.6 million toward additional equipment and advertising for the existing Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, covering a 124,000-acre swathe of trees and mountains that for thousands of years has served as the winter nesting ground to millions of orange- and black-winged monarch butterflies.
Since these are the same monarchs (or at least relatives of the same monarchs) we see fluttering through Colorado, this is a critical piece of conservation. Let's hope it works.
The question is, what's the real height of Sunlight Spire. After all, Pikes Peak was long thought to be 14,110 feet, but upgraded in the late 1980s to 14115. An extra five feet in the spire's case could make a big difference. This is something we'll have to look into.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Things are looking up a bit in the highcountry after a ridiculously warm, dry November.
A cold low pressure system is moving into the 4 corners region, and is expected to move across southern Colorado today, with some snow across all areas, light up north and moderate/ heavy for the south with snow morning through evening, decreasing overnight. A quick look at the radar shows most of the action tracking south through the San Juans.
Durango is reporting 8 inches since 3 a.m.
Wolf Creek is reporting a desperately needed 6.
Telluride (which has yet to open) is calling for 4 - 8.
Keystone and Breckenridge, which got 6 inches Wednesday, are predicting another 1-4 today.
Vail and BC are calling for showers.
Crested Butte says forecasts call for 100% chance of snow.
Looks like for now, we'll still be surfing the corduroy like the fellow above, at Vail.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
The National Park Service will allow as many as 540 snowmobiles a day to enter Yellowstone National Park -- a compromise that leaves neither environmentalists nor winter recreation advocates happy.
The proposed cap is less than the current limit of 720 but nearly twice the number that have been entering the park in the last four years, and would reverse a trend of cleaner air and less noise, environmentalists and former park employees said.
The decision, issued in Denver Tuesday, will require snowmobiles to use "best available technology" to control emissions and noise, and for access to be "commercially guided."
The new limits will take effect in the winter of 2008-09. T
Monarch still looks like my yard this morning, a dusting over dry leaves.
The good news is, it's cold, which means the big resorts can fire up the guns and make man-made snow (below). Afterall, man-made snow is better than no snow at all.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Vail is set to open its 45th season Wednesday with skiing and riding on Born Free, served by the Born Free Express Lift (Chair 8).
Lift tickets on opening day are $59, $49 for seniors and $39 for kids 12 and younger.
The goal is to have the upgraded Little Eagle Lift (Chair 15) open for beginners by this weekend, and then to expand as snow falls.
What else is new? The Highline Lift (Chair 10) and Sourdough Lift (Chair 14) were replaced this summer with new high speed quads. Both will cut time to Two Elk Restaurant, China Bowl and Blue Sky Basin.
Improvements and expansions to the Golden Peak Children’s Center and Small World Nursery and the Mountain Plaza should make registering kids, renting gear and getting lift tickets easier than ever.
All we need is snow.
That sentiment can be seen at the stores. According to the National Retail Federation’s 2007 Holiday Consumer Intentions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, most consumers (71.4%) have less than ten percent of their holiday shopping completed.
Count me in that group. I've been too busy enjoying this nice weather.
Monday, November 19, 2007
A commercial shoot to promote the X Games has moved to A-Basin because there's so little snow in Aspen. That's a shot today at Snowmass, above.
What ya gonna do?
Surely by the time the X Games hit Aspen (Jan. 24-27) there'll be plenty of the white stuff.
At least we kept it in state. And let's hope this week's storm dumps what the weather watchers say it will.
$260,000 will buy 1.6 acres a few hundred meters passed the locked gate on Gold Camp. The owner will have exclusive car access through the gate to, according to the flyer, "one of the most unique sites in the Pikes Peak region. Located at the top of Cheyenne Canon. Backs National Forest. Amazing views. One of only a few sites privately held in this area of Cheyenne Canon. This is truly a remarkable site."
It would also be a serious bummer to have a house there. I'm hoping the other aspects of the lot (It's extreme grade and lack of obvious water) will keep it from being developed. I kinda like the place as it is. Meanwhile, I wonder how long the banner will last.
Friday, November 16, 2007
If this sunny weather keeps up, don't count on Monarch or Ski Cooper. Both need natural snow to open.
Few groups of men are so revered in the Colorado Rockies as the troopers of the 10th Mountain Division who were stationed at Camp Hale near Leadville During World War II. Why? Well, Coloradoans love skiing, and these guys were a who's who list of skiers. Several of them were great skiers even before joining the 10th, but put them all together in isolation and great things happen. After the war, this group of guys was pivotal in making Colorado into the ski capital it is today.
Much documentary work has been done on these guys.
For a great site with photos, video interviews with veterans and lots of cool history, click here.
For more info about Camp Hale, click here.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
That hasn't stopped Vail from sending out a very perky release announcing the start of the season. "We are very confident that with the big drop in temperatures, and indications of a strong shift in the weather pattern that we will open with a very good snow surface next week,” said Bill Jensen, chief operating officer of Vail Mountain in the release. “It appears that the first major winter storm of the season is headed our way next week as well, which is very good news for our Thanksgiving holiday guests who may even experience a powder day.”
It was Pikes Peak.
You can read more about his journey in a collection of articles in the Gazette.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Anyway, without a whole lot of time, I focused on riding different models from Black Diamond, Volkl, Icelantic (a Colorado Company related to Never Summer) and G3.
Conditions were early season, man-made, but pretty good. It wasn't a day to fall in love with fat powder skis, but it wasn't all ice either. I'll post a few impressions on these skis Thursday. No time now to go into detail. I will say, though, I'm lusting after a new pair of Black Diamonds.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Here's a quick rundown:
The Summit Pass (formerly The Buddy Pass) gives you unlimited access at Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin. $409 for adults, $319 for teens and $209 for children.
The Colorado Pass - for another $40 for adults ($20 for teens and $10 for kids), you get the access of the Summit Pass plus 10 days at Vail and Beaver Creek (restricted Nov. 23-24, Dec. 27-31, 2007 and Feb. 16-17).
The Colorado Pass PLUS gives you all the benefits of the Colorado Pass, but six of the Vail and Beaver Creek days are unrestricted. $549 for adults, $409 for teens and $289 for children.
Pass holders also get:
-Half-price lift tickets at Heavenly Mountain Resort, the highest-rated resort at Lake Tahoe, Calif./Nev.
-Six Ski With A Friend tickets, available at a discounted daily rate
-Free Summer 2008 lift access at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone
Pass renewals are available at coloradopass.com.
New passes are on sale through Sunday at Colorado Ski and Golf and Friday through Sunday at REI.
More details? Check www.coloradopass.com
It goes something like this: studies have indicated drinks stored in such containers, can contain trace amount of Bisphenol A (BPA), a synthetic chemical that interferes with the body's natural hormonal messaging system, and can cause cancer.
The same studies found that repeated reuse of such bottles, which get dinged up through normal wear and tear and while being washed, increases the chance that chemicals will leak out of the tiny cracks and crevices that develop over time.
Nalgene, the leading maker of Lexan bottles, has maintained that the bottles are safe. However, the company also just announced it will increase its line of HDPE plastic bottles. These are the old-school, soft, milky-colored ones my parents used in the 1970s.
Have an old one in the garage? Break it out and be a trend setter.
Monday, November 12, 2007
With thin, patchy snow and ice on unstable rock, this may be the most dangerous time of year to climb a peak, as can be seen in this report from the Denver Post:
A 23-year-old climber who was struck on the head by a boulder on Pyramid Peak near Aspen and tumbled about 60 feet was evacuated by helicopter to Aspen Valley Hospital Saturday.Andy McClure was injured at about 13,000 feet after he dislodged a boulder and slid, officials said.The boulder struck him on the head as he was tumbling down the mountain.The accident happened about 10 a.m. on a part of the 14,018-foot mountain that is covered with ice, snow and sliding rock, Kremer said.McClure was climbing with Ian Noel of Colorado Springs when he was injured.Noel helped McClure descend about 30 feet to a stable ledge, but because of McClure's leg injury, he could not walk, Kremer said.Noel then climbed down the mountain and drove to Aspen, where he contacted authorities about noon.Rescue workers reached McClure by 2 p.m.
Friday, November 09, 2007
I went through the backcountry gate at the top of Montezuma Bowl last spring as construction on the new lift was just starting. My impression: It's a lot like Vail's China Bowl. Steep on skiers right with a huge cornice, easy wide blues down the middle, and gladed blacks to skiers left. The big difference is that it's a lot higher so it won't turn to much as quickly as China bowl does.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
I just got this note: "Wolf Creek Ski Area is opening for the 2007-2008 season on Saturday, November 10th with the Nova beginner lift and the Nova Run operating from 9:00am to 4:00pm. Less than 1% of the mountain is open with great machine-made conditions. Lift tickets are $10."
With almost no snow-making, Wolf Creek is usually at the mercy of the storms. And the storms on Wolf Creek Pass usually show no mercy, so it generally works out, but this fall has been pretty darn dry, especially down south.
At least the folks at Wolf Creek have a sense of humor.
Just a quick note to let you know that I finished up on Saturday as planned. It was a bittersweet finish -- it was an amazing trip and I was having the time-of-my-life out there. In fact, if Mom hadn't immediately welded a ball and chain to my leg when I arrived at Grandview Point I was considering a second loop.
Over the next few weeks I'll be posting remaining pictures, videos, and trip logs on my website, and I'll email again when everything is done. Until then, you may want to check out the attached finish photos and/or listen to an end-of-trip Podcast.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Oh, and if you want to try it yourself, he reminds us there are "access issues," i.e. lots of private property at the start. I've never been up there. I've heard good things, though.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Monday, November 05, 2007
The total cost of the purchase from landowner Rusty Nichols (plus all related expenses) is $3.25 million. TPL has borrowed $1.7 million from Colorado Conservation Trust to complete the transaction.
Future steps include re-routing and improving the trail, for which planning is currently underway. TPL projects Silver Pick basin access and completion of the new trail to
There's good tips on things like speed squats and dynamic lunges. All are important for building strength and avoiding injury.
But strength is only part of the game with skiing. Just as important is the ability and confidence to make quick decisions and stay balanced while shooting downhill.
The best way I've found to train for that is mountain biking. When it comes down to it, both are the same thing. Look at the position of a mountain biker versus a skier. Knees bent, arms out, weight forward, ready to shift over the center access to pull off a quick turn.
I find the better I get at skiing, the better I get at biking, and vice versa. I remember once seeing a college ski racer who had just learned to bike tear up the trails like a pro.
Bottom line: the gym is key, but so is hitting the dirt slopes.
In Out There on Friday, Nov. 2, I wrote a story about leading ski map artist James Niehues, who paints the vast majority of art used for trail maps in his Front Range basement studio. Reader Jim Strub wrote in after reading the cover to say he had worked with Niehues on a local project. Here's what Strub said:
Friday, November 02, 2007
That shot was just before 2 p.m. today at Copper. Check out the web cams. Snow and sunshine = a kickin afternoon.
Copper folks hoped to open top-to-bottom with five lifts. If you went, send us a report.
What's open? Lift access from the River Run Village base area for Spring Dipper (intermediate run) and Kokomo (mountaintop beginner learning area). And, of course, A51.
Plan ahead and hit the mountain next Friday and you can ski 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
If you head over there before that, you may see the U.S. Ski Team, which begins training there tomorrow.
11/2 - 11/4 Copper Mountain opening weekend ski and snowboard demos
11/24 Winter Park, ski demo For more information, call (970) 726-1564.
11/25 Winter Park, telemark demo
12/8 Winter Park, snowboard demo
12/14 Monarch, Never Summer Demo
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Even if you have tickets to the Friday or Saturday showings of the new Warren Miller film "Playground," you might want to check out a free Miller moment tonight:
Get your snow gear on and watch "Off the Grid" and "Higher Ground" - FREE - outdoors at The Faricy Boys, 4950 New Car Drive. (just west of Powers on Woodmen)
The movies start at 7 p.m. BYOC - bring your own chair
There'll be prizes - lift tickets, lodging, skis, bindings - entertainment and refreshments hot chocolate and popcorn.
(What's up with the photo? That's Jon Olsson, shot by Mattias Fredriksson - part of the "Playground" promo photos.)
Taking a semester off? Tired of working for the man? Need a second career?
Monarch Mountain is hiring full and part time staff for the 2007-08 season, and there's a job fair 9 a.m.-4 p.m. tomorrow at the Chaffee County Fair Grounds.
Sign on to work Ski School, Building Maintenance, Lift Operations, Food & Beverage, Guest Services, Ski Patrol, Rental Shop, Ticket Office, Sport Shop, and Slope Maintenance.
You get a paycheck AND ski pass for yourself and family, among other perks.