5/8/17 — Endless Winter and New Life in North Dakota

8 May 2017 — Well now we’re solidly into May and the snow keeps coming, Squaw Valley CA reporting powder, Snowbird UT still serving up about 40% of their terrain, and as you can see above, Killington VT still going strong on the Superstar trail. This photo sent by our New England correspondent Sam Shirley, taken yesterday, shows the sheer joy of skiing semi-frozen bumps on a chilly overcast morning. Hey, it beats mowing the lawn. Anyway Sam took a good look around and sez Superstar has more snow on the lower section versus a year ago, and he gives it a fifty/fifty shot at making it until June…job well done and best wishes for a long and healthy retirement to Otto Wieringa, stepping down after 29 years as GM at Alta, UT. Wieringa started at Alta on the ski patrol in 1972. Asked about his plans, “I’m going to finish the circle, and live out the 30 to 40 years I have left,” he sez, and plans to do so in his native Montana. Long time Alta employee Michael Maughan is slated to take over…article in the Denver Post yesterday speculating that the new “duopoly” of major ski resorts between Vail Resorts and KSL/SkiCo could trigger an antitrust investigation by the Feds. Now that most of us are in the off-season, good time to catch up on your reading, and that same article gives a pretty good history of big-time resort ownership through the years. Here’s a link to the article…sorry to report that 59-year-old Kevin Edwards of Boulder CO died at Loveland on April 28th. After being reported missing around 12:30, Edwards was found about a half hour later, having crashed in the trees on the West Ropes section off Lift 4…on May 3rd 54-year-old Daryl Norton of Millcreek UT was found injured near Chip’s Run at Snowbird; he was airlifted but succumbed to injuries. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of these men…so we’ll try and turn this around, end this week on a positive note: A new entity called the Pembina Gorge Foundation has signed an agreement to buy the Frost Fire Ski Resort in North Dakota. Frost Fire, located 100 miles north of Grand Forks, has been owned by Richard and Judith Johnson for decades. Judith was seeking to retire after Richard passed away last March, and skiing was discontinued. The new owners hope to rebuild/repair the lifts and get the area up and running in time for next season.