2/27/18 Western Swing

As promised, a quick tour of the western ski regions…photo above from our buddy Ronnie yesterday at Snowbird UT, which I suppose is kinda obvious. The Bird claimed to receive 11″ overnight but Ron tells us no — fake news — they actually received 15″…wow…same deal down at Taos NM, where they recently decreed “it’s finally winter” after total accumulations of about two feet through the weekend.  All kinds of terrain opening up, including the legendary Al’s Run down the gut.  We’ll take this time to tip our caps to Taos; it was ten years ago that they decided to allow snowboards at their terrific ski area.  At the time I thought it was a terrible thing, I admit it.   Hey, things change.  Ride, ski, whatever works for you…snow also in the news in Colorado; Crested Butte now has the High Lift open but needs a bit more to drop the ropes on Banana…turn east a bit to Arapahoe Basin and the fresh stuff has opened the gates to the East Wall terrain.  That’s really a good indicator of how the snow is stacking up.  They could use a bit more there, the hike-to terrain is not fully open and the Beavers area still has some closed routes as well…California’s Mammoth Mountain gleaned half a foot of fresh this afternoon, they’re in good shape…even better? Look a bit north to Mt Hood Ski Bowl, the Oregon resort has fresh pow and it’s open for night skiing…that old fight between the Hopi Indian tribe and Arizona Snowbowl is back on, a recent ruling by the Arizona Court of Appeals overturned a 2016 Coconino County Superior Court order to dismiss the Hopi complaint. The tribe sez the use of wastewater to make snow creates a public nuisance, harms the environment, and interferes with Hopi religious and cultural traditions.  I can’t begrudge them the latter point, but as a past member of the American Water Works Association I can state without question that the first two points are not accurate….sorry to report that  32-year-old Leon Harding Christopher III of Raleigh, N.C., was killed at Keystone Resort in Colorado on Sunday afternoon when he hit a tree on Elk Run, an intermediate trail serviced by the Outback Express Lift, according to Sgt. Mark Watson of the Summit County Sheriff’s Office.  That’s the second fatality at Keystone this season, the third statewide.