3/19/19 Monday News & Sam’s New England Adventures

Photo above courtesy our New England correspondent Sam Shirley, who sampled the snow at back-from-the-dead Tenney Mountain New Hampshire yesterday. Just seeing a functional lift at Tenney with a skier on it is a wonderful thing. Current owner bought the place with no plans to run a ski resort, then the more he saw it, the more he wanted to rebuild. Locals and know-it-alls pooh-poohed the whole thing, but darn if Tenney isn’t back from the ashes! Just goes to show, willpower and Yankee ingenuity can accomplish just about anything. As for Sam, he thoroughly enjoyed the day, filing this report:

I finally got to ski Tenney today and it was excellent. Everything that had been cleared was open and many glades and woods runs were skiable. Groomed trails had excellent packed powder and ungroomed areas had about two feet of powder, much of which was untracked. There were a good number of people there, but it was never crowded by any means and little was scraped off. The terrain is a lot of fun with a lot of variation which makes Tenney one of my new favorite mountains.


…high praise indeed, and an opinion shared by a few people, myself included. Thanks Sam, and we’re glad to see the Big T back on its feet!

Speaking of ski lifts, lots of brouhaha about that catastrophic rollback videotaped in the Republic of Georgia. The comments are rather interesting in this internet age, it’s painfully obvious that people know very little about chairlifts.

Yes, you are probably safer in the USA — lifts have automatic rollback prevention, regular inspection, plus roll back “dogs” on the bull wheel to prevent this. But, I can assure you that lift in Georgia had all of the same things, although we don’t really know how rigorous their inpsections are. And the truth is, that although it is rare, a catastrophic gearbox failure could result in the very same thing here at home. Last time it happened in the USA was at Devil’s Head Resort in Wisconsin 2009, 14 people injured.

Avid skiers have a rule, “in the event of a catastrophic rollback, jump before the bullwheel.”

I just hope that people don’t see that video, and start jumping the next time the lift is paused for a misload!

World Cup season wrapped up yesterday in Are, Sweden, with a pair of cancellations. This handed the Women’s Giant Slalom discipline globe to Viktoria Rebensburg (GER) and Men’s Slalom globe Marcel Hirscher (AUS), both of whom probably would’ve won anyway. Hirscher was already the mathematical winner; Rebensburg virtually unreachable with a 90-something point lead. The cancellations also decided that we wouldn’t get to formally bid farewell to Italian skier Manuela Moelgg, who retired yesterday.

Finally snowing again at Steamboat, Colorado with 9″ overnight…no such problems at Snowbird, Utah; 11″ Saturday and 10″ yesterday…best conditions of the season in New England; we even hear that Boston’s local Blue Hills had the snowguns back on this weekend. Meanwhile not quite so fortunate in the lower midwest, Mad River Mountain Ohio banged it up for the season yesterday. I think they could’ve continued, although this is the time of year when ski interest falls off dramatically, and the forecast for the week ahead ain’t so great.

New York ski area Gore Mountain finally has decent conditions, but the place is virtually empty compared to a month ago. Kind of a shame, seems ORDA was extra parsimonious with their snowmaking efforts this year, and it took recent storms to bring Gore into shape. Too little, too late — if the average skier finds crap in February, they aren’t returning in March, regardless of how good it is.

Elsewhere in New York State, West Point Military Academy’s Victor Constant Ski Area was open to the public this weekend for their last hurrah of the season. If you aren’t familiar with it, this is a 500′ vert hill with a fixed-grip triple and handle tow that is located within the base. Great little place with a terrific family vibe.

Now we leave you with a couple more of Sam’s pics from Tenney, including their terrific surface lift….

surface lift at tenney mountain