Wednesday, April 30, 2008
That's on top of nearly two dozen Forest Service campgrounds in northern Colorado and Wyoming that the U.S. Forest service announced in March would stay closed this summer because of concern over dead trees. So far none in the Pikes Peak area are closed due to beetles.
Officials worry the pine beetle infested trees could fall on campers. So... the areas will be clear-cut, then reopened. Bring a sun shade.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
My sister, who lives in Chicago, is a big fan of Zipcar. So maybe this would work too, though I have a feeling, not in Colorado Springs.
Columbia is an outdoor juggernaut which includes r Sorel Mountain, Hardwear, Pacific Trail, Montrail and Moonstone brands. With gear at all price points, its generally a good bellweather for the rest of the industry. And the industry is.... not doing so good.
Compared to last year, quarterly earnings fell 24 percent. Revenue rose 3 percent.
Monday, April 28, 2008
What a winter, not that it has stopped snowing in the high country yet, but the numbers are in and eight of Colorado resorts received record snowfall .
2007-08 Season Snowfall Record Breakers:
- Aspen/Snowmass - 450 inches
- Beaver Creek - 430 inches
- 422 inches Butte - 482 inches Monarch Mountain
- Powderhorn - 320 inches
- Silverton - 550 inches (and counting)
- Steamboat - 489 inches
- Telluride - 353 inches
Vail saw its third snowiest winter on record, Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort saw their fifth snowiest winter. Both Copper Mountain’s and Sunlight Mountain Resort’s snowfall totals landed in the top ten in resort history. Keystone tied its best snowfall in the previous eight years, and Eldora received their best snow year in the previous five years.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Nike wants your shoes: Its Reuse-A-Shoe program takes beat-up kicks (any brand) and recycles them into goop used in basketball courts, tracks, playgrounds.
Patagonia wants your fleece: The Common Threads Garment Recycling Program accepts worn-out (washed, please) Patagonia organic cotton tees and fleece and other makers’ Polartec fleece.
Friday, April 18, 2008
(Photo from Breck's Bump Buffet, 2007, snagged from Colorado Ski Country USA.)
Ready to hit fresh snow under sunny skies? Luckily, Colorado's the place. Seven ski areas are still open, but Breck, our largest, is closing Sunday.
Here are the closing dates for resorts that remain open:
Arapahoe Basin - June 8
Aspen Highlands - this weekend and next; closing day April 27
Breckenridge - Sunday
Echo Mountain - May 4
Loveland - May 4
Silverton - April 27
Wolf Creek -this weekend and next: closing day April 27
Here are some reasons - other than snow - to make the drive to the mountains:
A-Basin: The Beach
Aspen Highlands: Been working at a ski resort that has already closed for the season? Head to the Highlands and show a current season picture pass and pay just $12 for a lift ticket.
Breckenridge: Sunday's closing day brings the annual Spring Massive party and the 29th Bump Buffet, in which telemark skiers shred the bumps dressed in all sorts of crazy costumes.
Echo Mountain: This is college weekend, and you can get lift tickets for $20, there'll be trick contests, a live DJ, free food, demo tents, bar specials and prizes.
Next weekend is Last Park Standing, a finale season party with $12,000 in cash and $4,000 in prizes, an amateur rail jam and pro slopestyle competition, live music, a sponsor village and more. To register for the competition, go here.
Loveland: April 26 is the Corn Harvest Benefit Ski Party, which helps raise cash for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.
Silverton: What more do you need? It's Silverton.
Wolf Creek: Lift tickets will be $27 for adults and $16 for children and seniors, no ID required! Lifts will be operating from 9am-4pm.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Any of you Out There readers ever encounter a wolf or a wolf hybrid while hiking or biking in the area?
Check out Gaz reporter Scott Rappold's story about locals' worries about a wolf hybrid pack roaming the hills.
(That's a DOW photo of a gray wolf. Wouldn't want to meet him, hungry, on a trail at dawn.)
That's a shot from Loveland on Friday. Nice April skiing. It was tempting, but so were local trails. I stayed local - way local, as in Garden of the Gods. It was nice to get out in the sun.
Oh, and Amy Kemp from Vail Resorts sent more info about those RF scanners in the works for next year. She says they'll use handheld devices "that will still show your pass photo and pass info." Looks like there'll still be lifties AND pass/line wranglers. Nice to know we're keeping people in the equation.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Where to get it: gadgetbottle .com
Bonus: If a band snaps, it can be replaced with one of those colorful, charity wristbands cyclists seem to have a lot of.
Bummer: An iPhone doesn’t work as well with a sticky coating of Gatorade.
“Instead of fumbling to find your season pass in your coat to present at the lift lines next season, our scanners will be able to detect your pass through your jacket which will provide our guests with an easier and more convenient experience,” said Rob Katz, chief executive officer for Vail Resorts.
I'm sure as soon as he said it, he realized a ton of ski bums are going to use this as a way to share season passes. Now you don't even have to buddy up with someone of the same gender.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Wolf Creek will re-ope for two Local Appreciation weekends, April 19th and 20th and April 26th and 27th. Take advantage of it!
The rest of the ski country is reporting powder too, even though some of it is falling on runs that won't open again until next November. Oh, April is the cruelest month.
Read more at Newwest.net
There are some interesting comments on a Denver Post article about whether additional measures should be taken to try to prevent skiers and snowboarders from dying or getting seriously hurt on the slopes.
Gates to pass through to slow riders?
No grooming near trees?
Mandatory safety classes?
Check it out and comment below.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
I spoke with Lou Dawson, the ski mountaineering godfather behind Wildsnow, yesterday about how he sees the film industry increasingly encouraging young athletes to do reckless things in order to make it into ski films, and as pro skiers.
"It's a short career and it can end really badly," he said. He has more thoughts on it today.
Colorado Springs climber Stewart Green said in an email this morning:
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
“Do we want to pay $500 a day or $250 a day?” he said. “So we ski half-days.”
Monday, April 07, 2008
The accident occurred at about 10:20 a.m. in Blue Sky Basin. It was Vail's first fatality of the year.
Jennifer Rudolph, spokeswoman for Colorado Ski Country USA, told the Rocky Sunday that the number of skier injuries is so small and random that little can be learned from it.
"There's nothing that can be drawn from that," she said. "There's no commonality or trends in the fatalities. There are no relationships to other numbers or statistics. It's tremendously unfortunate to say the least. But it's incidental, and unique, and very, very random."But that's not quite true. Certainly skiing is very safe if there were about 5.5 million skier visits and only 17 deaths. Even so, trends emerge. Men 18-35 make up the vast majority of deaths. Most fatals happen on green or blue runs. Most are caused by a high-speed collisions with a fixed object, usually a tree. In winter, they typically happen after lunch, when snow is scraped and icy. In spring, though, the pattern may reverse as snow is hard and fast in the morning, then softens as it melts.
Given the patterns, what can ski areas do to minimize deaths? Not much short of cutting all the trees down, and the bark beetle may take care of that.
No doubt South Colony Lakes, the popular portal to four fourteeners, needs some TLC. For years, the Forest Service's plan for controlling recreation there seamed to be letting the road fall apart, but that hasn't stopped the use. If anything, it's attracted a certain rock-crawling Jeep element.
So now the feds are gating the road a few miles down and creating a proper trailhead where hikers will be charged a fee of $5 - $10.
Makes sense but there may be unintended consequences. The area is surrounded by almost pristine basins that may get no more than a dozen visitors a year (South Colony can see 400 on a summer weekend.) The new fees may encourage people to use the less-visited basins, which may not be a good thing for wildlife. Hard to know what to do in a situation like this.
Friday, April 04, 2008
Always the pioneer in me
Looks out upon the untracked snow
And thrills to venture out and be
The first to take a step and go
Where no one ever stepped before
Where undefiled creation lies
In drifts, like gifts, as I explore,
The common place is white surprise.
It's been a weird year, with lots of women and men who are too old or too young to fit the statistical curve.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Taos Ski Valley's holds its championships closing day, April 6, with an 80 foot pool of ice cold water (best costume earns points).
Vail is holding its "world championships" the next week, with $1,000 cash for the winner.
Anyone who has tips on how to win is encouraged to post them below.
BTW... I bent my wookie.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
The Summit Pass will be $399.
The Colorado Pass, with unrestricted skiing at Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin, and 10 restricted days at Vail and Beaver Creek is $439.
Don't have that kind of scratch? You can put down a $49 deposit to reserve the price and pay the rest by Setpember 2008.
You also get:
- Half-price lift tickets at Heavenly Mountain Resort, the highest-rated resort at
- Six Ski With A Friend tickets, available at a discounted daily rate. Discounts vary throughout the season.
- Free Summer 2009 lift access at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone.
I can attest to the great snow at Snowmass. I'm up here working at the Winter Sports Clinic for disabled vets. Vets are learning to ski downhill and cross country, climb, scuba dive, fly fish, play sled hockey and, of course, curl. That's what I'm doing. We've had about 30 vets come through the curling clinic in 2 days, plus all of their aides.
I got caught in the aftermath of that pileup Monday afternoon. It took hours upon hours to drive the loop through Leadville and Minturn to get past that crash. I left the Highlands Ranch area about 3 p.m. and arrived in Snowmass about 10:15. Ugh.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to ride yesterday. But I hope to get up for some turns later in the week.
(The photo is the view from our room in the village.) Come on up and ride!
The most recent storm to hit the Rockies boosted the season total at Snowmass to an eye-popping 407 inches (and counting), says the Aspen Times
The Aspen Skiing Co. recorded 20 inches of snow at Snowmass from the storm. With the official book closed on March, here’s how the season at Snowmass shapes up:
• 118 inches fell in December, setting a record for the month.
• 95 inches fell in January, also setting a record for the month.
• 87 inches fell in February.
• 88 inches fell in March. (That fell significantly below the record of 101 inches that fell in 1984.) Snowmass collected more snow than Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands or Buttermilk this season.
Also noteworthy: this has been a very safe avalanche season.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Lift tickets will be available at the ticket windows starting at 8:30am. Monarch is asking for a donation of a non-perishable food item but everyone will receive a free lift ticket. The donated food will be given to The Grainery a local organization that operates a food bank.
For more information on
"We all know a facility like this is a natural fit for Pikes Peak," Rivera said. "I'm just glad the Olympic committee was here to twist our arm and complain until we had reason to build it."
The facility will also include one of the world's longest luge courses, stretching from near Barr Camp to Green Mountain Falls, and including at least two loop-de-loops.
Some Pikes Peak residents are objecting to the plans, particularly people living in Green Mountain Falls, where the Olympic Committee has proposed building an indoor ice-rink for its latest exhibition sport, yeti wrestling.
"Those yeti's could get out and eat the ducks in our duck pond," said long-time resident Dick Bratton.
City Council members said they would reconsider the proposal April 2, since today is April Fool's Day.