News Roundup 12/14/16 — These are the good old days

14 December 2016 — At many ski areas coast to coast this is about as good as mid December can get! Great news out of Vermont, now you can’t exactly tell by the photo above but the Mad River Glen single chair opened this morning! Not yet enough base to have anything groomed — not that they’re known for grooming. Just a reminder for Eastern skiers who haven’t grabbed any deals yet, MRG is selling some sort of triple pack for $159 but it’s only offered through tomorrow. Anyway Mad River Glen has a reputation for being tough but I’m here to tell you that once they get the base and the groomers rolling they have plenty of trails for skiers of all abilities. I don’t care who you are or what your level is, you won’t be bored at that place. I get goose bumps every time I walk in…more Vermont news, via Missouri I guess…Peak Resorts got a shot in the arm yesterday when the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approved the first investor petition in Mount Snow’s EB-5 offering. This means the funds will be released from escrow to fund two development projects at Sneaux. If you weren’t aware of it, all kinds of EB-5 chicanery in the recent past involving Jay Peak and Burke Mountain probably cause for understandable scrutiny and delays. What the approval means is that Peak now has the funds they’ve been counting on for efforts at Mount Snow, which I believe are focused around a bigger/better snowmaking pond. Although the corporation started and is based in Missouri, Sneaux is Peak’s flagship property…kind of a neat deal in Central Colorado, Sunlight Resort is offering a $700 lift ticket. I bet that caused the folks at Vail to perk up and take notice, but have no fear, Vail is still number one for clobbering window walk up buyers. Sunlight’s $700 ticket is actually a bargain as it includes a pair of limited edition Sunlight 50th anniversary Meier skis and a ticket to the Iron Mountain Hot Springs. Sunlight sez the skis “are crafted from Colorado ‘beetle-kill’ pine trees so each piece has its own unique wood grain pigmentation.” Otherwise Sunlight’s regular adult all-day tix are still just $63, can’t beat that. I’ll remind you if you ski at all in Colorado and you’re smart enough to realize how fantastic the smaller uncrowded resorts like Sunlight can be, remember to get a GEMS card before you go. They’re only $25 and entitles you to buy-one-get-one tix at each of the Colorado “gems.” That includes the aforementioned Sunlight, A-Basin, Loveland, Cooper, Monarch and others. Can’t beat that with a stick…speaking of Colorado, one of the few sore spots this early season, lack of early snow caused cancellation of the World Cup races on the Birds of Prey course at Beaver Creek, now apparently has caused cancellation of the Dew Tour scheduled for this weekend at Breckenridge. Snow has been adding up slowly but surely so I’m not concerned for the rest of us, and word from most of the rental and booking agencies is that business is solid and in some cases ahead of last year…sad news out of Northstar Resort in Lake Tahoe area, 35-year-old ski instructor Dennis Baltimore, of Incline Village was skiing down the resort’s Village Run when “he was forced to take evasive action to avoid someone who lost control in front of him on some ice,” he then veered into some trees and passed at the scene, according to a statement Monday evening from the Placer County Sheriff’s Office. Meanwhile up the road at Mt Rose NV, 64-year-old Thomas Barker of Aptos, California was found beneath the snow on Sunday, apparently the victim of an avalanche in the Chutes area on Saturday. Mt Rose spokesman sez the Chutes were officially closed Saturday and clearly marked that way. I gotta say, don’t duck a rope unless patrol says you can. In any case, our thoughts and prayers are with the families of both gentlemen…update on the lodge fire at Boyne Highlands, have confirmed that the most seriously injured person was indeed David Chauvette of Traverse City, no word on his condition other than he suffered smoke inhalation…Back to better news, neglected to report one of my personal faves, Arizona Snowbowl is open seven days a week. I can recall many winters in which they didn’t open until February, so despite the rough patches here and there, these are the good old days…even Eastern Pennsy’s Montage Mountain decided this morning that there was no need to wait for the weekend, what the heck, let’s open today! Now that’s what I’m talking about…

Photo above courtesy Mad River Glen VT, taken 9:30 EST today. To those who would say “Mad River Glen has no snowmaking” I would gently say, be careful when speaking in absolutes.