1/16/18 Your Backside Might Be Open

That photo above is the well known Blue Sky Basin section of Vail; it along with most of the “Back Bowls” are now open thanks to a couple feet of snow that built up over the past few days…we mentioned Montezuma at Arapahoe Basin yesterday, that’s open, takes some of the pressure off the front side lifts…not quite there down at Crested Butte, they’re hopeful that the weekend will bring enough of the white stuff to get the High Lift and North Face terrain open. Otherwise they have plenty of terrain open for the average intermediate to advanced skier…still tough in other parts of the West, we need to “think snow” for the people in the Los Alamos region of New Mexico; Pajarito managed to open some grommet terrain for the weekend but otherwise the leaves are blowing around on bare ground…not nearly as bad but still not great is Terry Peak up in the Dakotas, they have a handful of trails open, got about 8″ over the weekend but still not enough to drop the ropes on their natural snow stuff…if you’re new to this website, welcome, and hopefully you’re getting the idea that we skip around to try and paint a broad picture, rather than nail down a lot of tiresome specifics…back to Colorado, trouble afoot at Steamboat, apparently a scam artist is using Craigslist and stolen credit cards to dupe ticket buyers. Unlucky buyers then go to the ticket window to pick up will-call style, and when the system attempts to charge the Craigslist card, the sale is denied and the buyer is out of luck. Resort officials are warning customers that the only way to buy standalone tix is at the window or via steamboat.com. Police are investigating…more in Colorado, 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver says skiers and snowboarders have virtually no recourse against the resort if they’re injured on the slopes. Case swirls around one Dr. Teresa Brigance, who got a boot trapped in a lift which snapped her femur during a lesson at Keystone in 2015. Brigance’s attorney, Trent Ongert, says the ski instructor was actually employed by the daycare center and had no training whatsoever as a ski instructor. The 10th Circuit ruled that Keystone was in the clear because Brigance bought a ticket with the standard hold harmless waiver, and signed a second waiver at the ski school. Vail Resorts Inc, which owns Keystone, released a statement, which I’ve abbreviated a bit here:

Vail Resorts is in agreement with the ruling earlier this week by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and believes this was a thoughtful and well-reasoned decision, consistent with well-settled Colorado law….Colorado’s public policy has routinely enforced agreements that waive or release potential legal claims arising from recreational activities. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reaffirmed this principle, applying factors of well-established Colorado law that govern the validity of waiver agreements, finding that Vail Resorts’ waiver agreement is valid and enforceable.

And finally today we celebrate the life of Kinsgbury Pitcher, a New Mexico Ski Hall of Fame inductee who passed away at age 98 in Santa Fe on Dec. 29. “Pitch” started his ski career as an instructor at Sun Valley prior to World War II. He served with the Army Air Corps during the war, and later resettled in New Mexico. From the late 1940s through the 1980s he built and operated Ski Apache and Ski Santa Fe. In the 1980s Pitcher turned his attention to then-struggling Wolf Creek Resort in Colorado. According to a spokesman for Ski Apache, “his legacy was skiing.”

We’ll do World Cup Wednesday tomorrow….