News Roundup 12/31/16 — Happy New Year!

31 December 2016 — ’tis the season for torchlit “parades” at resorts across the country, large or small this annual event is a lot of fun for both the audience and the participants. Talk about large, we’ve got a photo from last season at Snowbird Utah above, and below the event at small but mighty Swain in central New York…

…great skiing east and west and just about everything in between…big powder day yesterday at semi-unsettled Burke Mountain in Vermont, they’re coming off a tough couple years under questionable leadership and financing practices as “Qburke” and currently being run by some sort of government receivership, anyway we’re pleased to report that at least mother nature is trying to get them back on solid footing this season. They’ve got everything but the nastiest double blacks open…snow up in New England has a lot of the local tows open. Northeast Slopes, one of the better known Vermont operations is open with a nice mix of fresh and groomed. Fantastic local ski tow…2016 ending on a sad note for the Colorado ski biz, 40-year-old Kelly Huber of San Antonio TX died Thursday after falling 20′ from a chairlift at Ski Granby Ranch. Huber was on the chair with her young daughters — they also fell and the youngest is still in unknown condition after being flown via Flight for Life to Children’s Hospital Colorado. Authorities have not yet explained how or why, but word is there were witnesses on additional chairs and below, so we should get some sort of explanation eventually — not that it matters much at this point. It is not believed that the chair or the grip were in any way faulty, but again we don’t know yet. There are also rumors that the lift was closed for investigation. Whatever the cause, our thoughts and prayers are with this family…on to more pleasant topics, FIS World Cup season in full swing, biggest news is that the Mikaela Shiffrin road show rolls on after three straight victories in Semmering, Austria, holy crap! Slalom Thursday preceded by two GS victories has Shiffrin now some 200 points ahead of Lara Gut in the overall. Gut has acquitted herself well and cannot be underestimated. Also notable was the return of two time overall champ Anna Veith (nee Fenninger) after her terrible knee injury during a 2015 training run. Have to say it was a bit of a letdown to see her skiing the way she did this week, but that’s only because we remember how fierce she was just two short years ago. Anna seemed somewhat pleased that she was competing, so we’ll have to take that as a positive and hope for continued recovery. Men meanwhile saw Alexis Pinturault win the combined Thursday in Santa Caterina, with overall leader Marcel Hirscher right there in second. Might as well give the Austrian the globe…back to Vermont, Sugarbush reporting more snow so far this year than ALL of last season, and rumor has it that Mt. Ellen section was so busy people were parking well down the access road. That’s good news…and Colorado continues to pile up the snow, Arapahoe Basin is open, in case you missed it the Montezuma Bowl has been open for over a week and Pallavicini now open; just about everything but the East Wall….Happy New Year!