Western Wednesday

Let’s take a romp around the Western States for some news and noteworthy stuff…great news in the Cascades, snow and ice and freezing muck has made the roadway a mess, but The Summit at Snoqualmie is jumping for joy and sez Summit West will open Friday. Reports are that both Mt. Baker Ski Area and Stevens Pass will open today…Arapahoe Basin Colorado has opened Montezuma Bowl — that’s the back side that was added a few years ago — and while nobody seems to know for certain, the consensus is that this is the earliest in Zuma’s brief in-bounds history…photo above courtesy SoCal’s Mountain High. There’s a reason so many people flock to that part of the country in spite of the smog and congestion: Mountain High was able to make snow last night, and today the Los Angelenos who were brave enough to call in sick are up there skiing in 58 degrees and sunshine. Tonight the temps will drop and they’ll make more snow, and then tomorrow will be sunny and 50 degrees…elsewhere in Cali, Bakersfield area Alta Sierra opened Sunday, earliest I can recall…back to chilly Colorado, Copper Mountain putting the finishing touches on their new American Flyer lift from Leitner-Poma; should be open this weekend…permit me to move up the road a bit, e-mail correspondent just asked me for some Colorado recommendations, specifically about Steamboat. As I mulled over my answer, I finally admitted to myself that I just don’t like it. Nothing personal against the town, the mountain, Buddy Werner, or any of that. It just isn’t my particular cup of tea. Condos, crowds, lines, ice, hotshots, crowds, lines. Now I know people rave about everything “champagne powder” and Christmas Tree Bowl, but I honestly haven’t experienced anything super wonderful at Steamboat — and it’s a long drive from the airport. But hey, don’t let my opinion sway you, it’s only an opinion. Just occurred to me today. I’ve been there a few times, and sure I’ve enjoyed it, but it just ain’t my fave. Your results may vary, which is good. That’s what makes the world go around. It just kind of bugs me to say it, because everything about Steamboat should be great. But for me, it ain’t. Now if you’re looking for one more reason to pick Steamboat versus another destination, next winter will be even better. They’re updating the main gondy with new Doppelmayr level-walk-in cabins, with 12 additional cabins. The planned speed will increase to six meters/second, which will reduce ride time from 12 minutes to less than 10. The overall uphill capacity of the new ropeway will improve by 38 percent from 2,600 people per hour to 3,600. So at least that line should be shorter…back to Summit County, Breckenridge opened Peak 10 yesterday and Beyond Bowl on Peak 6 earlier this week, making all of Breck’s 73 peaks open to some degree…hey hey, another half-foot of snow in eastern Oregon giving Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort the green light, they’ll open Saturday…more Colorado news…seems Eldora Mountain Resort posted a new parking policy on its website last week, proposing to charge twenty bucks for cars with less than three occupants on weekends, holidays and powder days. Passholders would be exempt, but Ikon passholders would not, blah blah blah. Anyway the Boulder faithful reacted as you might expect they would, and Eldora pulled that one back. Those of us who remember how empty Eldora was just a few short years ago can tell you that this is what a couple of high speed lifts will do to a sleepy ski resort.

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