News Update 12/23/16 — Snow Pipes Roasting on an Open Fire

23 December 2016 — Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, wish all Ski Bums, friends and family and wonderful Christmas and Happy Holidays…6″ new snow at Steamboat, they’re pretty much all open, from Christmas Tree Bowl to Cowboy Coffee looking real good for holiday revelers…sorry to report that 48-year-old Kevin Pitts of Longmont, CO died shortly after slamming into a tree at Breckenridge earlier this week. “Breckenridge Ski Resort, Breckenridge Ski Patrol and the entire Vail Resorts family extend our deepest sympathy and support to our guest’s family and friends,” said John Buhler, vice president and chief operating officer of Breckenridge Ski Resort, in a media release…let’s get the horrific news out of the way, regret to report terrible tragedy at a World Cup Ski Cross event in Innichin, Italy where 29-year-old Anna Holmlund of Sweden suffered a head injury in a training run on Monday. Holmlund lost consciousness and underwent brain surgery, but the prognosis is grim. Jakob Swanberg, Swedish ski team doctor, said “Injuries that we were not able to see previously show now and now we see the damage is unfortunately widespread. It is still difficult to make any forecast but generally speaking, damage of this type usually leaves considerable injury.” Holmlund has three World Cup wins and took bronze at the 2014 Olympics. Earlier her teammate Sandra Naslund suffered a much less severe injury during a race on the same course. Our thoughts and prayers are with Ms. Holmlund…photo above from Ski Brule on Michigan’s UP, that’s fire to keep the snowmaking pipes from freezing. Not sure if that’s a very common practice, but it sure makes for a cool photo. Brule is now at 100% and has buttoned up snowmaking for the season. One of the benefits of being up in the tundra…much less pleasant fire-related news, this time at Sugar Mountain in North Carolina, suffered a blaze yesterday morning, destroyed their administration building. Fortunately no one was hurt in the fire; skiing and guest services are unaffected. Sugar has a fantastic base right now, up to two feet in places, so the skiing is fantastic…sigh of relief at Sundance Resort in Utah Wednesday where a 14-year-old boy was caught on a lift, left hanging by his backpack. Fortunately the liftie got the chair stopped quickly and patrol was able to assist with no real harm done. I’ve said it before — been with people who had the exact same thing happen — don’t ski with a backpack…Pennsy’s Elk Mountain forbids backpacks on their lifts, I bring that up because we have a report this morning of fantastic conditions from correspondent Bill O’Hara…I’ll be off on Christmas day, but please stay tuned, we’ll have news through the holidays.

Photo courtesy Ski Brule