27 February 2017 — If a picture is worth one thousand words, photo above of Ragged Mountain NH yesterday speaks volumes. New England ski enthusiast Sam Shirley provided the image, and reports that he wasn’t exactly pleased with Ragged’s exaggerated trail count yesterday morning. Like many of the New England resorts, whatever was left ungroomed was essentially unskiable after the recent temperature swings. Aside from the obvious glare ice and drastically diminished (or nonexistent) natural snow, one key thing we can glean from the photo is that Ragged does have a decent covering of manmade snow, all things considered. So if they do turn the guns on, and do get some help from mother nature, things should be ok through March…a bunch of New England areas are planning to take advantage of expected lower temps, Mount Snow and Magic Mountain VT have both announced that the compressors will be roaring on Thursday night…in Michigan, Caberfae has already been running the guns…I don’t like to push products on people, but if you live in Colorado and you haven’t yet purchased a “GEMS” card, tomorrow is the last day to do so. The $25 card gets you two-fers at a whole bunch of cool smaller places, such as Ski Cooper, Loveland, and Arapahoe Basin. More than pays for itself with a single visit, so if you’ve been skiing Breckenridge or Copper all season and you’re kind of meh with the same old routine, grab yourself a Gems card and mix it up a bit…while we’re on the topic of Colorado, regret to report that 34-year-old Kressyda Ming of Farmington, New Mexico, was skiing on the intermediate Demon Trail at Purgatory Saturday when she hit a tree. The mother of four children succumbed to her injuries about an hour after the collision; please say a prayer for those children and her devoted husband. Ming was the sixth fatality this season on Colorado slopes. The last death at Purgatory was in 2010…weather troubles in the Mid-Atlantic, Montage Mountain PA closed right now, hoping to be back for the weekend…and a quick look back at weekend World Cup action, biggest news in these parts is Mikaela Shiffrin’s win in Alpine Combined at Crans-Montana Switzerland yesterday. Yes, I did say Combined, and I did say win. That’s her 29th (twenty-nine) win at FIS World Cup’s highest level, which puts her third on the all-time list of US winners, behind Bode Miller and Lindsey Vonn. Yes, the 21-year-old now has more wins that Phil Mahre or Ted Ligety. Not only that, Shiffrin is now 11th all-time among women, worldwide. That means she has more wins than Tina Maze, Michaela Dorfmeister, or Marie Hofl-Riesch. Pretty darn amazing. Anyway, Italy’s Federica Brignone and Slovenia’s Ilka Stuhec were second and third yesterday; the bronze gave Stuhec the season’s championship in the Combined discipline, her first globe. Stuhec also won the Super G on Saturday, with Elena Curtoni of Italy and Stephanie Venier of Austria rounding out the podium. Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein was fifth, preserving her slim lead in the chase for the Super G globe. The combined event held on Friday in Crans-Montana was on a terribly dangerous course; after the Americans dropped out the podium was Brignone, Stuhec, with Austrian Michaela Kirchgasser third. Lindsey Vonn did elect to compete in Saturday’s action but crashed, got a bit banged up but she’s back to training…men meanwhile were in Kvitfjell, Norway; semi-surprise winner of Friday’s downhill was Bostjan Kline of Slovenia. He was followed on the podium by Matthias Mayer of Austria and local favorite Kjetil Jansrud. I say “semi-surprise” because Kline had a couple of well earned second place finishes last season, but this was his first gold. A follow up downhill competition on Saturday saw Jansrud on top, Peter Fill of Italy second, and Swiss speedster Beat Feuz third. Kline finished a respectable seventh. The boys wrapped up weekend competition with a Super G yesterday, won by Fill, followed by Hannes Reichelt of Austria and Canadian Erik Guay. Jansrud finished 7th; he has a decent lead in the globe hunt for both speed disciplines. Kline was 8th so I suspect we’ll see his name more and more in the future.
Above: Ragged Mountain yesterday morning — Sam Shirley photo