5/5/08 Lift served skiing is finally finished in the northeast; Sugarloaf, Sugarbush and Wildcat went through the weekend. You can still “earn your turns” in parts of VT/NH/ME if you so choose. This has been a strange season in the east no matter how you try to spin it; dreadful conditions in the Mid-Atlantic and South for most of the season contrasted heavily with awesome conditions in the north…We’re still skiing in the west, notably A-Basin in Colorado, looking at a tentative closing date of June 5th. In Utah the usual suspects Deer Valley and Alta/Snowbird are still in excellent shape. In Oregon, it’s still snowing from time to time at Timberline Lodge, which should be all set for an amazing summer ski season.
4/18/08 Good news in the midwest, Lutsen still has luts of snow (sorry) and is open for one final weekendt…in the northeast, Jay Peak is the only resort we can find that is absolutely 100% open, while Sugarloaf has the most total terrain open. Wildcat is the other big player, operating every trail except Hairball. All three have excellent spring conditions. Other than Jay, the Loaf, and the Cat, a surprisingly high number of ski areas are turning lifts, although they’re a bit mushy and this will be the final weekend for most. Whiteface reopened Wednesday and will remain open through Sunday. Even places that are not traditionally open this late are still cranking, namely Okemo and sister resort Sunapee. Stratton is opening for the weekend, Stowe continues to be open and will be doing a canned food drive/discounted ticket deal on Sunday. Southernmost open is Mount Snow, still skiing on 62 trails. We expect that to drop drastically by the time they close, which has now been officially announced as April 27th. You know that I’m not a shill for any ski resort, and I don’t hesitate to point out duds or problems. By the same token, we gotta report the good stuff: There’s still some terrific skiing out there, and the on-mountain lodging deals (Stowe, Mount Snow) are nothing short of fantastic. Wildcat is doing a fund raiser this weekend for a stricken employee. If you ski there, please put a few bucks in.
4/14/08 The season is done at most ski areas around the USA. In a lot of cases, it’s lack of interest, not lack of snow. Still a lot of skiing in the west, stalwarts like Arapahoe Basin have better conditions now than they did in December. In the midwest, Ski Brule is open, and it seems Lutsen plans to reopen on the weekend. In the east, record snows in parts of Vermont and New Hampshire resulted in a super season that could extend into May in some areas. Wildcat and Sugarloaf will likely be the last standing; Okemo and Killington are slated to be done after this coming weekend. Jay Peak got another couple inches overnight. Mount Snow is a bit of a wildcard, no official announcement yet but it’ll come down to a battle between snow reserves, sunlight, and not enough business. Stay tuned, we’ll try and do a more thorough update prior to the weekend.
4/1/08 We wish this news were “April Fools” but regret that it is not: Okemo Mountain Resort has been the target of a criminal efforts to gain access to credit data by infiltration of its computer network at Okemo Mountain Ski Area. Okemo believes the intruder gained potential access to credit card data including cardholder names, account numbers and expiration dates. Okemo says that its computer system was improperly accessed by an outside party for a 16 day period between February 7, 2008 and February 22, 2008. Affected consumers potentially include those who used their credit cards at Okemo during such dates as well as those who did so from January through March of 2006….Times have changed…Remember when you paid you paid your seven bucks and they stapled a ticket to your winter coat? Hopefully the perp will be nailed on this.
3/31/08 Great snow continues in parts of the country. Pac NW biggies Timberline in Oregon and Summit at Snoqualmie in Washington both added another foot to their slopes over the weekend…Utah resorts like Alta and Pow Mow got a couple inches, as did Loveland and A-Basin in neighboring Colorado…in the south, the operating plan at Arizona Snowbowl is to be open Thursday – Sunday this week, (April 3 – 6) and if the turnout is good, will do the same on April 10 – 13…in the midwest, lots of open terrain, monster midwesterners Boyne and Lutsen still turning the lifts. Favorite Ski Brule is fully open daytime hours, and offering limited service Wed, Fri & Sat nights til 8:30 pm…The experience in parts of New England this past weekend was nothing less than incredible. Places like Stratton, Magic, and Bromley, also known as the “Golden Triangle” in south/central Vermont, hosted the best skiing of the season. Unbelievable. What skiers experienced this past weekend was NOT spring skiing by any stretch of the imagination, rather January-type temperatures and Colorado-type powder…Okemo has added another week, the gentle giant will be open until April 20th.
3/26/08 News from the northeast, the once-mighty Killington has announced that it will remain open until April 20th, which is about a week longer than previously scheduled. We say “once mighty” not because Killington isn’t a terrific ski area, but because K-Mart fans used to able to count on skiing right into May. In New Hampshire, Attitash will also be open about a week later than usual thanks to the gobs of natural snow, tabbing April 13th as their closing day.
3/25/08 As the season winds down in the upper midwest we can easily report that it’s one of the best in a long time. Minnesota’s Lutsen is 100% open, and will probably stay close to 100% right up to the scheduled closing of April 12th. In Wisconsin, Granite Peak is firing on all cylinders on its 700′ vert; small but mighty Whitecap is also at 100%. Recent heat closed the southern WI resorts, and then of course it snowed again, and again, and again…but alas, you’ll have to head north. Michigan is in the same situation, the metro day trip ski areas are done for the season, but don’t tell the operators on the UP. They’re still going strong; Bohemia, Brule and Big Powderhorn are all 100% open. Brule plans to be open until April 13th, Powderhorn until the end of March, and Bohemia ain’t saying. Gotta love those guys. Moving south a bit, Boyne is still serving up great skiing with 3/4 of its terrain open. Right around there is the line of demarcation, because down at Caberfae they’re all buttoned up for the season.
3/24/08 The season is certainly closing with a “feast or famine” situation in the east. New England resorts that aren’t making a lot of noise but offering outstanding conditions include Bromley and Pico in Vermont, Black Mt and Cannon in New Hampshire, and Berkshire East in Massachusetts come to mind. Each is reporting excellent mid-winter type conditions, with the snow at Pico being the best seen there in years. We had reporters at Bromley, Pico, Black, Stratton and Mount Snow this past weekend, and each had nothing but raves about the conditions, the coverage, and the number of trails open. Unfortunately the metro area day-trip ski spots, such as Nashoba Valley, are done for the season. But from what we’ve seen a bit farther north, take our advice and RUN — don’t walk — to the mountains for some of the finest late March conditions we’ve ever seen…move south a bit, and it’s nowhere near as good. NY metro area Mountain Creek has packed it in for the season, DC metro area Wintergreen has done the same…two surprises in Pennsy, Camelback still has almost all of its terrain open. Elk has dropped a few trails, but otherwise is offering some decent snow. If anything, this season was reminiscent of the early 1970s in the banana belt, that is to say, dismal. But again, if easterners don’t high tail it to New England next weekend, they’re missing out.
3/17/08 A little early to get too excited, but it appears that some resorts in the northeast are planning to stay open much later than usual. Sugarloaf USA has announced that it will remain open into May. No word yet from some of the other usual suspects. Other than Killington, which used to stay open into May, but not this year…Alta just got hit with another 7″ of snow…in Colorado, Loveland reports more snow off and on, overnight totalling 3″…in the Mid-Atlantic, an otherwise forgettable season is winding down with a series of memorable rainstorms. A lack of snow in the New York metro area has been brutal for the daytrip resorts…on the opposite side of the country, Timberline Lodge is positively buried; 17″ in the last couple days and snow continues to fall right now. We don’t often push products for ski areas hawking specials, but the $99 spring pass deal at Timberline is simply too good to miss!
3/13/08 It’s all over but the counting…American Bode Miller unofficially wins his second overall World Cup crown! With two races left in the season, Didier Cuche still had a mathematical chance of beating Miller but announced that he will not race in Saturday’s slalom in Bormio. Miller finished ahead of Cuche in the super-G on Thursday to increase his overall lead to 191 points. Since just 200 points are left on the table, Cuche would theoretically need to win both upcoming events and have Miller tally no points in order to take the globe. Because Cuche is a speed specialist (he won the Downhill title this year) it would be more or less impossible for him to catch Miller. So, rather than beat up his body on a race that won’t mean anything for him, Cuche will sit it out, in effect handing the globe to Miller (not to belittle Miller’s part in any way, trust me). The World Cup season is grueling — they’re all tired — Miller may in fact sit out one of the races. In any event, once the races are done, Miller will be the overall champion. It’s a remarkable feat, and with two overall titles (his first came in 2005) Bode has to be regarded among the all-time greats. It also raises serious questions about the functionality of the U.S. Ski Team, whose highly paid executives work in lavish buildings while the skiers have to pay their own freight. Miller has done without the US Ski Team’s “backing” this season, and done very well…Meanwhile Lindsey Vonn‘s second place in the Super-G puts her in the same position as Bode was prior to Cuche’s withdrawal from the slalom. Maria Riesch is 197 points behind with a max of 200 possible points for her, which means that the German star needs to win both events while Vonn comes up empty. It just ain’t likely. But don’t feel too badly for Maria; she took 6th in today’s Super G, which gave her the Super G title globe for the season…Summary: We’ll soon have the first American male/female overall world’s champions since 1983.
3/10/08 A terrific ski season continues throughout the west and upper midwest. Things have turned quite bleak in part of the east — which still has the country’s highest density of ski areas and skiers — so don’t underestimate the impact this market will have on the ski industry overall. Places like Mount Snow VT were decimated by weekend rains; trail count dropped from 107 to 64. Some, like Mountain Creek NJ seem to be letting things play out and generally wind down. The silver lining is that some ski areas have resumed snowmaking; from Wintergreen VA to Camelback PA, the deal seems to be that they draw a healthy number of skiers and they can bank on continued crowds. It’s sort of a “build it and they will come” approach, and we’re frankly very glad to see it. New York’s state-operated Belleayre has some snow guns on today. Regulars are hoping that ski area can remain open into April as usual. Conditions last week across Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine were fantastic, this week’s cold following weekend rain has resulted in conditions that are much less so. Emphasis on much.
3/9/08 Bode Miller and Lindsey Vonn held onto their leads in the overall World Cup standings today; they’re vying to be the first Americans to win the men’s and women’s titles since Phil Mahre and Tamara McKinney did so in 1983. Miller sat out a slalom race in Slovenia, possibly due to minor injuries, but Didier Cuche also sat out and Benny Raich DNF’d, so no impact on Bode’s lead. Maria Riesch parlayed a first place finish in the super combined at Crans-Montana, Switzerland to pass Nicole Hosp in the overall and make a slight dent in Vonn’s lead. Overall standings as of now:
MEN FIS WC Overall
Miller Bode USA 1387
Cuche Didier SUI 1218
Moelgg Manfred ITA 855
Ligety Ted USA 798
WOMEN FIS WC Overall
Vonn Lindsey USA 1263
Riesch Maria GER 1106
Hosp Nicole AUT 1085
Goergl Elisabeth AUT 992
Schild Marlies AUT 980
3/3/08 The good news continues for US skiers on the FIS World Cup circuit; Bode Miller has pulled to almost 200 points ahead of Didier Cuche in the overall standings. Miller did so with a 2nd place in the GS in Norway. Lindsey Vonn still has first place in the women’s overall standings…have to report on one of our favorite big “little” areas in New York State, Ski Plattekill had a fantastic weekend with trails 100% open and conditions that simply can’t be beat.
2/28/08 Coming into the homestretch for this season, let’s see what we got…The west and Pac northwest have simply been phenomenal. From north to south, Big Sky to Taos, we’re seeing some of the best conditions in years. Epic. Things started slowly in Utah and Colorado but by late December it was already like February. Enough said…Midwest has a bit more of a dividing line; anything south of the Great Lakes has been spotty but overall, decent skiing. In the upper midwest, forget about it. If you can’t find great skiing across Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan this year, you’ll never find it. Boyne for example, is like a miniature Colorado. It’s simply been outstanding…In the east and southeast, we’re about ready to sum up the season this way: The “Banana Belt” syndrome has returned. In case you didn’t know, that’s a derisive term that was coined by New England resort operators as places like Hunter, Camelback and Great Gorge were built. Fearing that the metropolitan area resorts would skim customers, established New England operations pooh-poohed conditions at their new competitors. Anyway, enough history lesson. The point is that this season most New Egland areas are enjoying one of the finest snow seasons in years, while the New York metro area resorts are struggling with conditions that range back and forth from ice to mush, with very little in between. In recent years this was not the case, as the NY areas more or less mirrored whatever was going on in New England, albeit a slightly milder version.
2/22/08 Impressive win for Austria’s Christoph Gruber in FIS World Cup competition at Whistler Mountain, his first victory of the season, and 5th of his career. Runner up was teammate Hannes Reichelt, while Slovenia’s Ales Gorza came in 3rd for his first World Cup podium. The podium was an impressive sweep for the Fischer ski brand. Bode Miller skied off the course after hurting his hip, but Benjamin Raich could only whittle down part of Miller’s overall lead, now at 67 points….SNOW is the word in the northeast, much needed in some parts after last weekend’s thaw situation. Places that took a hit like Elk and Mount Snow are rebounding nicely…areas in the far north — Wildcat, Stowe, Sugarloaf etc — took a hit but have so much snow piled up, even Monday’s torrential rains didn’t dent it. Looking for a good skiing weekend across the country.
2/21/08 FIS World Cup is underway at Whistler-Blackcomb in Canada. Bode Miller remains atop the mens overall standings, about 90 points ahead of Benny Raich. Meanwhile Lindsey Vonn is tied for the womens overall standings with Austria’s Nicole Hosp. Vonn and Hosp are about 100 points ahead of Germany’s Maria Riesch.
2/20/08 a 13-year-old Glastonbury CT boy died Tuesday morning after skiing into a tree at Keystone Resort in Colorado. Kenneth Joyce had been skiing on the Diamondback trail; cause of death was classified as deceleration blunt force trauma to the chest due to skiing into a tree. Joyce was wearing a helmet when the accident occured.
2/13/08 Grim news from most of the east coast, where yesterday’s light fluffy snow turned to non-solid precipitation overnight…still snowing at the northernmost resorts such as Jay Peak, Cannon, Saddleback and the like are being dumped on, while the precip at venues like Belleayre, Mount Snow, Elk etc. is “wintry mix” at best…cold temps returning overnight, so the New England resorts should be in fine shape for Feb. school vacation business.
2/12/08 Great news from Sestriere this weekend from the World Cup scene…American Lindsey Vonn (neé Kildow) moved to the top of the women’s overall leaderboard with a win in the downhill competition. Vonn, in case you didn’t know, learned to ski at tiny Buck Hill just outside of St. Paul, MN. Imagine that, the best female skier in the world right now is from Minnesota. Lindsey proves that you don’t need to live in Colorado or Switzerland to excel, you just have to work hard…with Vonn on top of the women’s standings, and Bode Miller atop the men’s, this is the first time two USA skiers have topped the standings since who knows when.
2/8/08 Stevens Pass in Washington State closed due to too much snow! The highway is buried under an avalanche, and the resort expects to be closed tomorrow as well…Crystal Mountain had most of its upper terrain closed yesterday due to heavy snows, but is open today. The snow may put a damper on that, as it is snowing heavily around Rainier…in Utah, Deer Valley was pounded yesterday…Colorado, Vail Pass is under deep snow and we’re told road conditions are quite difficult at the tunnel…New York’s Ski Windham cranked up the snow guns today, first time weather has permitted in quite a while….Vermont’s Stratton and Okemo both re-joined the ranks of 100% open terrain today…
2/7/08 The story in the east today is feast or famine. Mid-Atlantic? Famine. New England? Feast. And everything in between….Southern Vermont’s Mount Snow dropped the ropes on all of their trails this morning — 100% open with a foot of new snow everywhere….same story in the White Mountains; Wildcat opened the infamous Hairball trail to bring the tally to 100%….in New York’s Catskills, snow is finally falling again at Belleayre, which has managed to keep most of its terrain open anyway…in Pennsy, leader Elk Mountain has weathered the weather and reports all but one trail (Lehigh) open. Fortunately the cold is well on its way and the rest of the east should be in excellent shape by next week…conditions in the west continue to be stellar, most notable are recent snowfalls at Arizona Snow Bowl of 11″, New Mexico’s legendary Taos of 19″, and Utah’s Powder Mountain, with 31″ of fresh. After my recent runs in Utah I can tell you this is one of the best ski seasons in a looongg time.
2/5/08 We refer to this sport as “skiing” and “to ski” and whatnot. That sort of leaves out the snowboarders. Personally, I could care less, but it seems some are trying to reinvent the lexicon to be more inclusive. This has given rise to “Ski & Board Resorts” and all sorts of other hoo ha. (Hoo ha, in case you didn’t know, is the stuff that comes out of horses when you feed them peanuts. The resort industry will claim it’s peanut butter, but it isn’t.) Anyway, the term I’m hearing more and more is “sliding.” This is supposed to be a politically-correct word to cover everything you can possibly do at a ski area. Ski, snowboard, monoski, ski-bike…it’s all…sliding. Well I don’t buy it. I’ve been skiing since 1972, and I ain’t about to start sliding….today is Election day, and these professional politicians are the best we can do. Sad…..also sad what is happening up and down the east coast; rain is oblitering some excellent ski conditions from the past couple days. Fear not, cold is on the way and will have us in good shape for the big President’s Week vacation blitz.
2/4/08 Hey folks, I’ve been touring ski areas in Utah and have been lax in updating…biggest news is old news by now, that of Bode Miller eclipsing Phil Mahre‘s record for most World Cup wins by an American, with a victory in the combined at Kitzbuhel…if you missed seeing the video of Bode’s run in the downhill at Kitzbuhel, it’s really something — Miller went into a hard righthander way too hot, left the piste and actually skied on the fence for about 30 feet. On the fence. Both skis. I’ve never seen anything like it….the other, more chilling news from Kitz was Scott Macartney‘s serious crash at the finish line. Scotty Mac is recovering, but concern remains because this is the sort of event that can be career-changing. We’ve got an embedded view below if you haven’t seen it….so anyway, a week later Bode took the overall lead in the Men’s World Cup standings…and now strengthened it with a win in yesterday’s Super Combined at Val d’Isere….as for our regular resort news, we’ll fill you in over the next few days on happenings around the country, but I can report with extreme confidence that ski conditions throughout the west are simply stunning…so much snow has piled up in Utah that Deer Valley actually had a small avalanche in-bounds yesterday! We’re actually hearing reports of minor slide in-bounds in a few places, and it continues to snow….Lake Tahoe resorts were inundated again; the region hasn’t seen snows like this since the year of the ill-fated Donner party…news in the east is a mixed bag, resorts continue to pile up manmade despite yo-yoing temperatures.
Here’s that video of Scotty Mac, in case you haven’t seen it. This brings home the point that ski racers really do put it all on the line…
1/14/08 Big news on the east coast today is that winter is making a comeback, although not yet a strong comeback in parts of the mid-Atlantic region. Snow is falling across New England, but largely skipped the Poconos and Southern New York. Even so, the guns are on at areas all up and down the eastern seaboard. High altitude resorts like Belleayre in NY and Wintergreen in VA were able to fire up the compressors yesterday….moving further east, headlines across Europe are touting Bode Miller’s repeat win on the famed Lauberhorn Downhill in Switzerland. The win puts Miller at a tie with Phil Mahre for most lifetime wins (27) in FIS World Cup Competition. It also moves Bode into second place for this season’s overall standings, 79 points behind Benny Raich. In Downhill standings, Bode is now just 1 point behind leader Didier Cuche. Odd how this is barely noticed by the major American press.
1/10/08 Word from Arapahoe Basin is that the Montezuma Bowl lift opens tomorrow. In case you weren’t aware, this is “backside” terrain at the Basin that has been “open” for years, but requiring a hike out to Keystone. Now with a new chair servicing 1100′ vert, back country enthusiasts can return to the top of Lenawee in just 9 minutes. Intermediates will access the terrain via a few groomed cruisers; a nice complement to the front side. And if you want to “talk the talk,” call it ‘Zuma.
1/9/08 Well it’s finally happened, Vail has just smashed through the $90 level for a single day adult lift ticket. Vail and sister resort Beaver Creek are now at $92 to experience the experience. I guess that makes Aspen a bargain at a mere $89.
1/7/08 More snow this weekend in Utah…Snowbasin was positively blanketed, Alta too…big warmup has hit the midwest and east, but even so it doesn’t compare to the “blowtorch” we had last year…Is this ski area news? Well I guess so, technically it is a ski area, it’s just that you and I can’t afford the lift ticket. Montana’s ultra-exclusive Yellowstone Club is on the market. This place was put together a couple years ago by a husband and wife team of bazillionaires. Problem is they no longer enjoy marital bliss, and the “resort” is being dumped because of the pending divorce. The whole shebang was put together through ill-advised land swaps with the US Forest Service, and resulted in all sorts of environmental woes — which tend to be standard procedure when the USFS makes land swaps with ski areas. Sorry, it’s true. Think about it…does it make any sense that we have a government agency that does questionable land swaps to create an enclave for the super-wealthy, and then they deny public access to what was our land? If you ever want to learn more about how these ski area land swaps — and the phony clocktower villages that come with them — are not in the public’s best interest, I recommend a book called Downhill Slide: Why the Corporate Ski Industry is Bad for Skiing, Ski Towns, and the Environment by Hal Clifford. If you’re interested in what goes on behind the scenes at bigtime ski resorts, this book is fascinating.
1/6/08 More lift news, this time from Magic Mountain in southern Vermont. A grip failed on one of the chairs this weekend, the chair slid back into another. Nobody was seriously hurt, and everyone on the lift was evacuated safely and professionally by the Magic staff. It’s going to put a dent in what has been shaping up as a “comeback” season for this oft-troubled classic ski area. Hopefully they can recover in the next few days, and be ready when cold weather returns to New England next week.
1/3/08 Grim news from Austria concerns a lift accident on the Jungfraubahnen Interlaken near Kleine-Scheidegg (that’s the Eiger/Monch/Jungfrau region). One person killed, three injured. Other passengers had to be lowered to the ground as high winds preempted the use of helicopter evac.
1/2/08 Good news all over. Checking in around the country: Summit at Snoqualmie is positively buried. Ogden Canyon resorts in Utah like Powder Mountain finally got hammered. Modest Ski Cooper in Leadville CO is firing on all cylinders. In the midwest, things are looking great at places like Ski Brule, which is 100% open. In the south, Snowshoe WV has a bit more than half of its terrain open, with plenty of lifts cranking. Mid Atlantic, Camelback PA has all but a handful of runs open. Look for the pending cold spell to help ratchet up trail counts.
12/30/07 Recovery from last week’s rain has been fairly decent throughout the east, although some areas have a lot less terrain open than they’d like. But hey, it’s a LOT better than last year. Inside tip folks: the White Mountains of NH are experiencing Colorado-like conditions in some places.
12/29/07 More World Cup downhill news from Bormio is that Bode Miller has another win…Austrian Andreas Buder finished second, and Jan Hudec of Canada was third. Marco Sullivan of Squaw Valley finished a respectable 12th. Miller is now 3rd overall. Interesting to watch the US Ski Team comment on Bode’s win as if it’s their own…Resi Stiegler’s crash was pretty severe; she’ll be out at least two months.
12/28/07 World Cup News from Lienz, Austria where Julia Mancuso finished second in GS competition, her third straight podium. This puts Super Jules in second place behind teammate Lindsey Vonn in the WC Women’s Overall. Denise Karbon of Italy won the event; she’s unbeaten in GS this season…word is that Resi Stiegler was injured; no details yet.
12/25/07 Merry Christmas!
12/21/07 Rains loom for the east coast…stay tuned
12/13/07 It’s “southern” New England’s turn to get belted, and that includes central NY and northern PA, Catskills, Poconos, etc….Windham, Hunter, Belleayre etc. are reporting heavy snows…and it isn’t limited to that area, as a quick call to Killington reports that the mighty-K is being pasted as well…season gets into full swing tomorrow, although those of us who’ve been on the slopes will tell you we’re already in mid-season form. What I mean is, tomorrow and Saturday is pretty much opening day for those who’ve yet to open. This means the “little guys” in New England, like Black Mountain and Dartmouth Skiways in New Hampshire. In Utah, the massive Powder Mountain opens Saturday; Colorado’s Ski Cooper opens tomorrow. Even New Jersey’s Hidden Valley plans to open Saturday. If they do, it’ll be another ski area returning from near-death status, and we’ll be extremely glad to see it happen.
12/12/07 One word: SNOW. in Lake Tahoe, Sugar Bowl, Northstar-at-Tahoe, Boreal, Squaw Valley USA, Alpine Meadows and Mt. Rose are firing on all cylinders. Diamond Peak is scheduled to open tomorrow, and Homewood is set for Saturday….In Colorado, Aspen/Snowmass has received over 50 inches of snow this month…looking south, Durango Mountain Resort has had epic snowfalls; nearly a foot this past weekend fell on what was already 4′ of pow…just over the border in New Mexico, Taos has more snow and more mountain than it can handle; 4-5 feet of coverage means they’ll be 100% open by Christmas, assuming they can inspect, prep, groom, etc. in time. Folks, if you’re headed to Taos, it’ll be the best early skiing in years. Taos Ski Valley will open this Friday, December 14th. The mountain will open top to bottom on both the front-side and in Kachina. Steeper terrain will open as soon ropes are set up and avalanche control work is complete.
12/10/07 Biggest news from the weekend on the U.S. ski scene has to be the World Cup Women’s Downhill race held on the popular Ruthie’s Run at Aspen. After a rough weather start on Friday complete with injuries, drama and finger-pointing between coaches and the FIS, the race was held amid fog and falling snow on Saturday. Only 30 of the 56 entrants were able to finish. Top podium went to Canada’s Britt Janyk, who felt she had an advantage due to the wet snow and poor visibility. Janyk trains at Whistler-Blackcomb, so she had every reason to believe she had a better handle on the wet and heavy. Austria’s Marlies Schild and Renate Goetschl finished second and third, followed by the USA’s Lindsey Vonn. Julia Mancuso finished a respectable 16th. Janyk now leads the downhill standings, with Vonn in second…the other big news is the early season conditions in New England, which are nothing short of “epic” considering it is still early December. Personally made some runs at Bromley, Okemo and Stratton and am pleased to report generally outstanding conditions at all three. Conditions on the west half of Bromley, the south face at Okemo and the lower mountain at Stratton were all excellent. Bromley in particular presented a couple of trails that can only be described as equivalent to a good day at Alta. How about that…certainly a buzz all over New England…checking in with Jackson XC, a Europe-like trail network in NW New Hampshire, they already have 48 km of tracked trails, and another 20 km of untracked! It is so nice to hear, considering they failed to open for the Christmas holidays last year…good news in Colorado, snows and aggressive snowmaking have enabled both A-Basin and Loveland to add more terrain….in Utah, steady snows continue to build; check the webcams at Snowbasin for some good visual…in California, things are progressing nicely. Squaw Valley, for example, has 7 lifts running today…southwest is shaping up nicely too. Arizona Snow Bowl in Flagstaff has decent cover so far and plans to open with the next storm. This operation still has trouble dealing with resistance to the snowmaking plans. If you’d like to help, check out this website” ReclaimThePeaks.com.
12/5/07 Clipper system moving through the Mid-Atlantic ought to help everything from Ober Gatlinburg to Snowshoe today. Virginia’s Wintergreen should be cranking lifts this weekend…Big snows in Maine added nicely to the bases at Sunday River and Sugarloaf. Western Maine’s Shawnee will be opening this weekend…Vermont resorts continue to drop the ropes on trails at a rate we haven’t seen this early since December of 2003. That was the last time Okemo entered the second weekend in December with a count of 80 trails. Now, they aren’t there today, but they should come close this by Friday. Family-oriented Bromley has five different routes from the summit (two that split up into different trails). Doesn’t sound like much but the past couple seasons they had only managed one route by this time….over in New Hampshire, problems at Wildcat, where a lack of electrical power should be resolved by the weekend…parts of Pennsylvania got a nice dusting; 6″ af fresh and a lot of snowmaking will enable Elk Mountain to open on Friday…New Jersey weighs in — looking good for opening this weekend at Mountain Creek; skiers are taking a wait-and-see approach with the ill-advised switcheroo. Creek is trying to move the edgy youth crowd to “South,” where the trails don’t suit the park’n’pipe crowd, and moving the old-schoolers to “Vernon,” where the infrastructure doesn’t suit anybody. If nothing else, Intrawest resorts across the country have perfected the art of far-flung parking lots and converted school buses. That’s what people want when they go skiing, isn’t it?….calling on the midwest, Michigan’s Ski Brule is serving nice snow on 9 runs; Boyne will be reopening with outstanding conditions on Friday…tough sledding continues in some parts of Colorado; Arapahoe Basin basically has the Lenawee face/Dercum’s route open, along with a couple offerings down by the lodge. We need a snow dance, folks!…I know that some of you are still looking for gear, and no, it’s not too late (but you should’ve been out at the ski swaps a month ago). Anyway, if you’re put off by the price of new equipment — I know I am — there are quite a few dealers of used stuff that I can recommend without hesitation. In Utah, I like SkiTrucks, which is located at the fairgrounds. In Colorado, I recommend Recycled Sport in Frisco. It’s an eclectic mix of anything and everything ski related; I just love the place. In the east, Galactic Snow Sports in Harrisonburg, VA has some terrific prices with decent skis starting around $40. Skitrucks and Galactic are well known for shipping around the world and are highly recommended, while Recycled is one of those places you simply have to stop in and visit….we’ll be on the slopes for a few days; next update will be Monday morning. Peace…
12/3/07 Good news out of Colorado is that snow has finally settled in places like Monarch, Steamboat, Loveland, Aspen in a big way, but cover is thin in other areas…Utah hasn’t been quite as forunate thus far, but the snow has fallen at a few of the key players, Snowbasin up in Ogden Canyon is looking better and better, while Brighton‘s webcam is slowly painting more and more of the scene white in Big Cottonwood Canyon…parts of New England are being absolutely pasted today. Rejuvenated Mount Snow has been dropping ropes steadily as the day goes on…just when you thought there was light at the end of the tunnel in the snowboards vs. skiing schism, some boneheads at Burton (a snowboard manufacturer) put out a contest to promote “poaching” the four remaining greats, Taos, Alta, Deer Valley, Mad River Glen, also known as the Mount Rushmore of ski areas. They’ve even made a video of some uncouth creeps wreaking havoc through a crowd of innocent beginner skiers at Deer Valley. Lottsa class, Jake. And they wonder why they aren’t wanted! To top it all off, the intelligentsia at Burton claims that snowboard bans are unconstitutional. The only bright spot in the video is when they show the words NO SNOWBOARDS etched in glass at the Alta ticket window.
11/30/07 The Bird and the Cat open today. We’re talking about Snowbird in Utah’s Little Cottonwood Canyon, and Wildcat in New Hampshire’s Pinkham Notch. The Bird will open with a mix of terrain on natural and manmade stuff, while the Cat has cobbled together a single route off their old triple…also in NH, Sunapee opens today…tough news on the World Cup circuit, where men’s points leader Aksel Lund Svindal is likely out for the season following a horrific crash yesterday while practicing at Beaver Creek…New England skiers looking forward to a potential winter storm on Sunday…people have been asking about our indemnified bindings list elsewhere on this site. No information forthcoming from the US Ski Retailers as of yet, but we’ve cobbled together information as we’ve been able. Hey, when all else fails, just call your local ski shop.
11/28/07 Well we’re gearing up for the “real” start of the season, which is to say, Alta will be checking in on Friday. While that’s always good to hear, it’s got some bad news attached. According to the resort…”Traditionally Alta opens with more snow than we have today. Mother Nature hasn’t given us much snow lately, but the tireless efforts of our snowmaking, grooming and mountain crews have us ready to open this Friday, November 30, with the Collins and Sunnyside detachable lifts.” Folks, if you need a translation: Lean snow so far in the Wasatch, and Colorado hasn’t kicked off like last year either…BUT in the east, things are MUCH better than last year…New York’s Belleayre has been quietly adding to their roster of open trails and lifts…Connecticut’s Mohawk Mountain turned the guns on this week, and a bunch of the mid-Atlantic resorts have the fan guns going as well. As long as that part of the country avoids the “January Blowtorch Effect,” it’ll be a great season.
11/25/07 It’s all big. We start with California, since those resorts are closer to most of us…Southern Cali resorts Big Bear and Snow Summit both opened Saturday…hooray! Also pleased to report that Montana’s Big Sky opened Saturday as well, in a big way, with some 860 acres ready for schussing…let’s look east…big time weekend at Mount Snow, seems Peak Resorts’ efforts are paying off…guns went on at Virginny’s Wintergreen, looking to turn the bullwheels in a week or two. Other mid-Atlantic, Jersey’s Mountain Creek tested the guns, but warm temps are expected there as the week gets underway.
11/12/07 Couple of items to note, Southern Colorado’s Wolf Creek joined the ranks of the open resorts this past weekend, they’ve got manmade stuff on the Nova lift…in the northeast, Pennsy’s Big Boulder and New York’s Belleayre have been making snow, and sort-of/kind-of opened with some rails and whatnot, no lifts yet. Belleayre should have a lift going by Friday….biggest news in the east this season has been “who will open first” and although Sunday River did a brief Halloween opening, and Cataloochee and Sugar Mountain opened in the Carolinas, the real winner this season has been Mount Snow, opening this past weekend with three lifts and two different summits and bases open, expanding yesterday to 11 open runs and five lifts! Anyone old enough to remember the 1960s when Sneaux had all sorts of buzz going, really driving the ski industry in the east. Hey, if they can keep this up they’re going to have long lines at the lifts again! Seriously, this is exciting for eastern skiers…western skiers don’t have a lot to be excited about — yet. If this rumored La Nina weather pattern takes hold, snow could be a scarce as it was in 04-05, and we sure aren’t happy about that. At this time last year, the trails on Colorado’s Monarch were a vision of white from Highway 50; this year they look like September mountain meadows.
11/09/07 Add Maine’s Sugarloaf to the list, spinning two lifts to service two trails….word is that Mount Snow will open tomorrow, with top to bottom skiing on Standard and a terrain park at Carinthia. This will be Sneaux’s earliest opening in nine years…some tough news from the southwest, mighty Taos Ski Valley hasn’t seen consistent snowmaking temps thus far, so the New Mexico resort has rescheduled their opening to December 14th. Word is that date will allow them to open in a big way.
11/08/07 We got it going on…in the west, Mammoth, in the east, Woodbury and Sunday River cranked their lifts. New York and Massachusetts are ramping up; snow guns were turned on at Belleayre and Jiminy Peak this morning.
11/07/07 Lots of news today…The mouth of the south, North Carolina’s Cataloochee has hollered again y’all, open today with a few hundred feet of vert…this year, however, the southern “Cat” can’t quite claim first-to-open in the east honors, as neighboring Sugar Mountain opened earlier in the day…looks like the southeastern slopes will do what their neighbors to the north haven’t done, and that’s open and stay open, although we do give props to Sunday River for opening a week earlier…ought to be a lot happening in New England this coming weekend, it appears that Mount Snow is planning to open Saturday with an incredible amount of terrain. Not only the usual early season Canyon/Standard route, but also Long John and possibly Snowdance! All we can say is ol’ Walt would definitely be proud of the way new owners are restoring sass and luster to this southern VT gem…look for Mammoth Mountain to open tomorrow 11/8, we’ll update when it does.
11/04/07 Add Copper to the short list of open resorts, and it seems the big C has the most open terrain. Pretty warm at Loveland, although they do manage to have two routes open…First to open honors in the east go to Sunday River. The Riv loaded skiers up to a chair on Halloween, sending a group of revelers up and down a single slope until it got too sloppy to continue safely. Mount Snow did have free sliding on the Launch Pad for a couple of days, but it was pretty rugged and no lift was turning. Okemo and Stratton entered the snowmaking fray, and Mount Snow has guns cranking this morning on Canyon and Standard…Killington has been going great guns, hoping the snow will stem the tide of bad publicity that’s coming out of Sherburne. Err, Killington. Seems some “lifetime pass” holders have been left out in the cold after the resort changed hands, and are now suing to get what they feel is rightfully theirs. Considering these “lifetime” things were initiated in the early 1960s, these must be some fairly old skiers by now. God bless ’em, but me thinks that ship has sailed. The new K-Mart is winning no friends in the racing community, rumor has it that a couple of the New England college programs have shifted to Okemo. Hmmm. Other news from K-Mart points out just how troubled the ski industry is in the northeast these days: The are scaling back operations on their gondola line. This, from the biggest and best in the east! Can you imagine Vail announcing that the Born Free lift won’t be running on Tuesdays? Me either.
10/29/07 The annual massive roar in the northeast was heard yesterday as a number of ski areas cranked up the compressors in what might be a record number of resorts vying for “first to open” honors. Sugarloaf, Sunday River, Attitash, Bretton Woods, Sugarbush, Mount Snow, and yes, Killington all have the snow guns (and fans) blasting. In Quebec, Mt. St. Saveur is going great guns too. Seems the only one not in the mix from the usual early northeast snowmakers is Connecticut’s tiny Woodbury and New York’s (relatively) high altitude Belleayre….rumor has it Mount Snow will take first-to-open honors, supposedly setting up a rail or some other feature on the Launch Pad slope.
10/23/07 Plenty of buzz in New England about who will take first-to-open honors for the season now that ASC is gone and Killington‘s new operator Powdr Corp. apparently has no such plans to be first. It’s definitely a paradigm shift, as the mighty K-Mart used to scoop all the rest but for the occasional sputter from small-but-mighty Woodbury in western Connecticut…a lot of eyes are on Mount Snow as new operator Peak Resorts seems to be taking the opposite approach from Powdr. While Powdr is mired in local controversy and is scaling back operations at K-Mart and Pico, Peak is going great guns — or should we say, great fans — at Mount Snow and newly-purchased Attitash. Peak has installed a bunch of new fan guns and insiders say is poised to make the point that there’s a new sheriff in town. The wild card in the mix is Belleayre, which takes advantage of its super-high base elevation to usually open in mid-November. The weathermap doesn’t look at all cooperative right now, but the 15-day for the northeast shows a distinct possibility of snow circa November 6th or 7th.
10/20/07 First chair honors went to A-Basin for the second straight year, but over the divide, Loveland was hot on their tail with perhaps a nicer pair of trails. After blowing steadily for a week, both received a good dose of snow to top off the manmade and start the base for the rest of the areas. Loveland got a bit more of the natural stuff, and will likely expand the trail count in a day or two….up in the Wasatch, Alta received a healthy dumping, but of course won’t open the lifts until November.
10/9/07 YYYEEEESSSSS! While easterners are enjoying record breaking high temps, lift workers at Colorado’s Silverton ski area found some fresh pow at the 12,000′ level, and made some turns. Elsewhere in Colorado, A-Basin and Loveland have been blowing snow whenever possible, and Loveland is looking real good, with the Catwalk trail all ready, now focusing efforts on Mambo.
10/8/07 More news getting ready for the season…Oregon’s Timberline has added a new chair with 8 new trails…neighboring Mount Hood Meadows has done some chair upgrades and — huzzah — has made some major improvements to the North Lodge…Montana’s Whitefish Resort, which we all know as Big Sky, has updated to chairs to high speed quads, and built a new and better base lodge…Idaho’s Tamarack is continuing to build its area full speed ahead, nice new chair opens up more terrain for this year…Colorado’s Winter Park has added a new chair and some 600 acres of terrain
10/2/07 Expansion? Expansions! Huzzah! We’ll start in the east…Whiteface is a new expert trail and a new intermediate trail, which is said to be 2 miles long. Both should be open this season…Attitash has extended the length of one of its underused chairs at Bear Peak…in the west…Sierra-at-Tahoe is trying to make Huckleberry Canyon part of its inbounds…Squaw Valley has upgraded the Shirley Lift with a detachable six-pack…Homewood Mountain Resort has added a new high-speed, detachable quad, replacing a fixed grip quad…Northstar-at-Tahoe has added four new trails in its Northwest Territory, bringing the trail total to 83 and the resort’s skiable acreage to 2,490.
10/1/07 In case you haven’t heard, Colorado’s Arapahoe Basin and Ski Loveland have cranked up the annual battle of Loveland Pass. In other words, they’ve both cranked up the snow guns, and now we get to watch and wait…last year A-Basin turned the bull wheels first, but rumor has it that Loveland is ahead this season. We’ll keep you posted…gotta love it!
9/30/07 Boyne USA continues to be in the headlines; they’ve announced agreements for the purchase of New Hampshire’s Loon and Washington’s Summit-at-Snoqualmie…Telluride is adding terrain with the announced Black Iron Bowl, about 8 bc runs next to Prospect Bowl, and will require a 10 to 30 minute hike to drop in…Pennsy’s Hidden Valley Four Seasons Resort just sold to The Buncher Company, a Pittsburgh real estate developer. It had been owned by the Kettler family since 1983. Terms were not disclosed…JMA Ventures recently finalized the buy out of Alpine Meadows…Big Sky is adding a triple chair to improve access to Bavarian Forest and the Dakota Territories, cranking Big Sky’s uphill lift capacity to 25,000 riders per hour, with 3,812 acres of skiable terrain accessed by 21 lifts. The new fixed-grip lift is 3,100′ long with a vert of 1,210′. Big Sky sez it’ll be an 8 minute ride…
9/20/07 We’re starting to see signs of a resurrection at New Jersey’s Hidden Valley, which was slated to be shuttered this season. Glad to hear it, we’ll keep our ears open this one.
7/17/07 Lots of news to catch up on, and today seemed like a pretty good day to do it, what with four major ski areas making rather important announcements in the past two days. First and most significant: The Canyons, last holdout of the American Skiing Company portfolio, was sold to “Talisker Corporation and Talisker Canyons Finance Co LLC” for $100 million plus some debt assumption and what have you. Thus ASC is kaput, and pundits are rightfully calling it “the end of an era.” ASC took a lot of flak for their too-quick expansion, huge debt load, and spotty maintenance. Say what you will — ASC resorts routinely had higher open trail counts and better conditions than neighboring resorts…on that subject, POWDR Corp announced that ex-ASC property Pico will be closed two days a week, except for holiday weeks…Massachusetts’ mighty Berkshire East (aka “the Beast”) is now owned exclusively by the Schaefer family, who bought out their remaining partners this week…and now the toughest news of all, Mountain Creek “South” — formerly known as Great Gorge — is slated to become a massive terrain park for the 2007-08 season. Racing operations are being moved to Vernon Peak, and the lodge originally designed by Sandy McIlvaine is destined for a make-over, complete with flat screen TVs, video game kiosks, and areas for artistic and musical expression. Huh?
6/7/07 Vermont Ski Areas Association reported yesterday that skier visits were down 7% from 05-06 totals, final number being 3,820,431; lowest since 99-00. Vermont’s 10-year average is 4.1 million. This mirrors statistics across the country — the National Ski Areas Association estimates that USA totals declined 7 percent, to 54.8 million.
6/6/07 Big news in the East: The bustup of one-time eastern ski giant American Skiing Company is more or less complete as of today; Maine’s monsters Sugarloaf USA and Sunday River were sold to Boyne USA. It was long rumoured that the ‘Loaf and the Riv would be purchased by none other than ousted ASC founder Les Otten, with supposed backing from various sources. The final deal caught much of the industry by surprise. Boyne USA operates popular ski areas Big Sky in Montana; Boyne Mountain, Boyne Highlands; Brighton in Utah; Crystal Mountain in Washington and other high profile resort properties in the US and Canada, some unrelated to skiing. While Boyne has its detractors, it routinely delivers a good skiing product at the aforementioned resorts. It’s been noted on the SnowJournal Message Board that the midwestern operators such as Peak Resorts and Boyne USA plan to focus on upgrading the snowmaking at the ASC cast offs, whereas ASC focused almost exclusively on upgrading the lifts. Peak is planning some $2 – 2.5 million in snowmaking apparatus at both Mount Snow and Attitash. Boyne is planning the same sort of upgrades in Maine. The consensus is that skiers will happily ride clunky lifts if the snow is decent, but a fancy high-speed lift doesn’t make lousy conditions or lack of terrain any more appealling. Incidentally, Boyne USA operates one of the busiest chairlifts in the country, the Gatlinburg Skyride.
5/27/07 The 06-07 ski season is more or less over in North America. We say more or less because you can still ride lifts at places like Timberline Lodge and certainly hike and “earn your turns” in at least nine different states right now. But for most of us, the season is done, so we’ll update you on some off-slope news from time to time through the summer.
4/18/07 The season that refused to start has become the season that refuses to die! Skiers in the northeast can still enjoy schussing at Belleayre, Jay Peak, Killington, Sunapee, Okemo, Stowe, Sugarbush, Sugarloaf, Sunday River, and Wildcat. And, surprise surprise surprise: Greek Peak NY will join the Empire State biggie Whiteface Mountain and re-open for skiers this weekend.
4/11/07 For the past two days, the eyes of the skiing world have been on…Middlefield, Connecticut. You see, Middlefield’s modest Powder Ridge Ski Area, a local fixture for almost half a century, did not open this past season. The owner, Whitewater Mountain Resorts Inc., faces a foreclosure auction Saturday. Would Powder Ridge be just another of the hundreds of New England ski areas that succumbed to development?
Not so fast. The question was put to voters:
“Shall the Town of Middlefield purchase up to approximately 294 acres of a combination of land and development rights in land constituting the Powder Ridge Ski and surrounding area in order to preserve the area as ski, recreation and open space land, and appropriate and authorize the issuance of up to $2,850,000 general obligation bonds of the Town to finance the purchase and related expenses, pursuant to the resolution approved by the Boards of Finance and Selectmen on March 7, 2007?”
Previous efforts by the Board of Selectmen got bottled up in the process, never reaching the citizens for a vote. But this time, the Board of Finance was (sorry about this) on board and it appeared as if an agreement could be reached with Whitewater to prevent foreclosure and sell to the town…pending a vote.
Yes — 1097
No — 151
cONGRATULATIONS to the people of Middlefield for having the foresight to preserve this priceless local recreation outlet. The benefits are indeed priceless vs. the small tax burden it will place on residents. I urge everyone in New England who is able, to make a stop in Middlefield next season to support this effort.
4/10/07 In what may be the cruelest twist yet on an already wacky season, ski areas across the country are reporting conditions far superior to those in January. Killington has 100 trails open today…Belleayre received snow yet again, less than 3 hours from New York City…Steamboat is being snowed on as I type this…many ski areas are shut down for the season, yet snow is falling. It’s just another lousy wrinkle to finish off a disastrous season. The skiing this past weekend was just incredible, yet slopes were empty. And so it goes…Saddleback Maine is holding a skier appreciation day on April 15th; the Rangeley Lakes icon is reporting visits up some 27% over last year, and is offering a ski free day.
4/9/07 Arizona Snow Bowl in Flagstaff has been stymied by environmentalists and native American groups from using treated sewage water to make snow. Never mind that — once treated — the water is cleaner than the stuff that falls from the sky. Never mind that native Americans built an eyesore on the Grand Canyon and the environmentalists looked the other way. Never mind that nearby Sunrise Mountain Resort (operated by the White Mountain Apache Tribe) uses untreated water to make snow.
4/5/07 Peak Resorts completed the purchase of Mount Snow and Attitash resorts from American Skiing Company (oh how the mighty have fallen). Purchase price was $73.5 million, plus assumption of about $2 million in debt and other liabilities related to the resorts. Peak Resorts now operates 11 ski areas — meet the new boss…don’t close the door on the 06-07 season too quickly folks, Sugarloaf got 20″ yesterday, while parts of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula got socked with 18″…Stratton reports 9″ overnight, with some 60+ trails open…Killington got 10″ and is dealing 86 trails…this is going to be the final hurrah for most of the country, so enjoy!
4/2/07 Congrats to skiers Resi Stiegler and Jimmy Cochran for winning the US Slalom National Titles yesterday. Both are offspring of well-known skiers; Resi is the daughter of Olympic Champion Pepi Stiegler (Silver at Squaw Valley, 2 Golds at Inssbruck) while Jimmy is scion of the famous Cochran family (dad Bob was 7 time National Champ).
4/1/07 Congrats to skiers Bode Miller and Julia Mancuso for winning the US Super G National Titles yesterday. This year the venue is Alyeska Alaska.
3/25/07 Lots of northeast, southeast and midwest resorts shutting down today. In the Mid-Atlantic, stalwarts Elk and Wintergreen have banged it up. Other than the usual Hunter and Belleayre holding on as long as possible, New York metro area skiers have to head a bit further north to find stuff. One unexpected hanger-on is Sno Mountain (formerly Montage) in Scranton, PA.
3/1/07 One word: TAHOE. That’s all you need to know today, five days of snow leaves seven feet of fresh at Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley USA; Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe and Sugar Bowl Ski Resort checking in with five to six feet. That’s feet. Conditions today are blue skies, white slopes, as good as it gets…New Hampshire’s Ragged Mountain is on the auction block as I type this, leading rumor is that the brothers Endriunas will do a bankruptcy work-around and keep the wolves at bay a little longer…possible name change in the offing? New Jersey’s Mountain Creek has changed the title tag on their website to “The Appalachian Ski Resort.” Site still sez Creek, but interesting development just the same…storm lurking to bang the northeast tonight, looking to enhance the base in the northern areas, rain and wintry mix doing more harm than good in the southern reaches. Places like Belleayre, Plattekill, Jiminy Peak, Greek Peak, Elk etc. will certainly be hurt by tomorrow’s rains, but should rebound nicely through dustings and localized snow showers next week. Others, like Mount Snow, Stratton, Okemo etc. are on the cusp; no telling exactly what will happen there…looking for possible stuff in the midwest to bump things up, depends on how it all hashes out today, bad news is resorts like Snow Snake are expecting nice snow, followed by thunderstorms and a quarter inch of ice. Yuck.
2/26/07 Outstanding conditions continue nationwide…Lindsey Kildow elected to end her World Cup season early to give her knees time to recover…American Skiing Company continues to be in the news, as today founder Les Otten resigned from the board. Rumor is that Otten is heading up a group looking to buy Sunday River, which is where he got his start. This is just a rumor folks, and I ain’t the first to say it…have ski area promotional efforts hit a new low? New Jersey’s Mountain Creek has declared Thursday, March 1 as a “Kids Ski Free Day,” with the requirement you must be under age 18 and must show up prior to 2:30 PM to claim your freebie. Only problem with that is, school doesn’t end until 2:30 in most New Jersey communities. Creek’s answer? They are actually encouraging kids to “play hookie” [sic – correct spelling is hooky] on their website. If you’ve ever skied there, you would know that their core market needs all the education they can get. And apparently, so do the people at Intrawest who cook this stuff up.
2/21/07 Powdr just got bigger, while American Skiing Company is now a relative pipsqueak in the industry. Yesterday ASC unloaded Killington and Pico Peak to Powdr for some $83 million. This adds to Powdr’s holdings of Park City Mountain Resort, Mount Bachelor, Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort, Alpine Meadows, Boreal Mountain, and Soda Springs. The latest in the firesale leaves ASC stripped to just The Canyons, Sugarloaf, Sunday River.
2/20/07 The season saw its highwater mark this past weekend for ski areas in the midwest and northeast; conditions outstanding, holiday, snow in the backyard, so people were out in droves. Areas like Magic and Mad River Glen in their glory; New Hampshire’s Black Mountain had one of the busiest weekends in that area’s history. It was, to say the least, epic….weather has turned for those aforementioned regions, the supercold is gone. Shed a tear; things aren’t going back to January at this point, it will just be an up-and-down pattern. Winter continues, but the good stuff has past.
2/16/07 American Skiing Company (OTCBB: AESK) announced today that it had entered into a definitive agreement to sell its Mount Snow and Attitash resorts for $73.5 million to Peak Resorts Inc., a resort operator with ski resorts in Missouri, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Ohio. The announced sales follow the December announcement of the planned $265 million sale of Steamboat resort.
2/15/07 Some Vermont ski areas — Mad River Glen for instance — are claiming 40″ of snow yesterday, but that might be a little exaggerated. We can say for sure that certain areas of northern VT did receive over 30″ of snow, while other parts of the state received a solid 20″+, with amounts varying based on location. Jay Peak is claiming 50+ inches in the last 48 hours. Unfortunately, you gotta hike to get to it, since the lifts are on wind hold. The snow report from Sugarbush is a bit silly, as they are reporting every trail open, yet half the lifts are not operating. Mount Snow is even worse, only Ego Alley running up the mountain. At least Killington has the K1 gondy running. Okemo has some summit stuff open. So, looking around, who offered the most skiing, with a lift to the summit, for the best price? Why good ol’ Magic Mountain. Happens every few years, folks…good snow in NY State, Plattekill open from side to side, everything looking good…Pennsy’s Elk finally got 100% of terrain today…in NJ, Mountain Creek is looking good, plan is to connect all 4 mountains with the Sojourn double chair on Saturday…Virginia biggie Wintergreen is firing on all cylinders…a foot of snow at most NH areas, even troubled Ragged Mountain has all sorts of terrain they didn’t even dare dream of a few days ago.
2/7/07 Biggest news in the ski biz these days is, so far, no news. Alright, I’m talking about American Skiing Company, saddled with debt that was little eased by the pending sale of Steamboat. Word on the streets is Mount Snow, Killington/Pico and Attitash are about to be sold. Rumors are Sneaux & Attitash are going to Peak Resorts, Killington Pico going to Park City-based Powdr Corp. Peak operates Jack Frost/Big Boulder in Pennsy, Crotched in NH, and a bunch of resorts in Missouri. Powdr has Park City, California’s Alpine Meadows, and a few others…again, that’s just a rumor…women’s Super G world champs from Aare, Sweden, Anja Paerson won at home in 1:18.85 with American Lindsey Kildow finishing second in 1:19.17. Renate Goetschl of Austria was the bronze medalist (1:19.38). Americans Julia Mancuso was sixth, Libby Ludlow ninth, and Kirsten Clark tied for 20th. Go Girls!!
2/2/07 Happy Groundhog Day, and Punxsatawny Phil says spring is right around the corner. What does he know, just an oversized rodent anyway…Steamboat is a good spot for powder today, with 14″ of fresh…snowboards to invade New York City for a pro snowboarding rail jam competition. To be held in Union Square Park on Thursday, February 8, the world’s top pros including Marc Frank Montoya, Danny Kass and Eddie Wall will compete on a customized urban rail fabricated at Mountain Creek‘s Jib Lab.
1/31/07 21-year-old Pat Pallotta of Fairfield, N.J., was killed this past weekend while skiing on the Skyeburst Trail and making a turn onto the Great Eastern Trail at Killington. According to a report from Vermont State Police, Pallotta was allegedly skiing at a very high rate of speed…cold spell has most of the east in excellent condition; snow is blowing in New England…in the mid-Atlantic region, Pennsy’s eastern trio of Elk, Blue Mountain & Camelback are all getting close to 100%…NJ’s Mountain Creek lags shamefully behind, less than half of its terrain open to the public.
1/30/07 Just returned from a busy weeklong tour of some of the Colorado resorts and ski areas. Loveland, Steamboat, Cooper, A-Basin. Coverage is decent, but not spectacular. All the overblown reports you hear about 3′ dumpings and whatnot is happening elsewhere. Yes, the city and the foothills have more than usual, but the ski areas are crying for more.
1/19/07 FIS World Cup News from CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, Italy where American Julia Mancuso won the women’s super-G; her third victory this season! Mancuso finished 0.33 seconds ahead of Austrian Nicole Hosp; Renate Goetschl was 1/100th of a second behind Hosp. World Cup leader Marlies Schild missed a gate near the top of the course. Team USA’s Women continued their winning ways with Lindsey Kildow 0.05 seconds behind Goetschl. Kildow shared fourth place with Austrian Andrea Fischbacher. World champion Anja Paerson was sixth. Schild held on to the overall lead with 881 points. Hosp is second with 828, while Mancuso moved into third with 634…northeast USA looks bright for a change this weekend, K-Mart intends to have over 100 trails open tomorrow. Rival Okemo has 71 today, although that could increase to as many as 77 by tomorrow…Mid-Atlantic stalwarts are looking good, although some are a little thin in the open trail department. Wintergreen has five going, Mountain Creek has one route from the summit of Vernon with a few options near the base. Elk now has a couple routes from the summit; the best in eastern PA looks to be Camelback with a half dozen different ways down, which they report as 18 trails. Kind of like Killington’s 100. Upper Fuddy, Middle Fuddy, Fuddy Chute, Fuddy Connection, and Lower Fuddy. That’s five trails, isn’t it? Moving on…New York’s popular Ski Windham intends to have 70% of its terrain open tomorrow, not a bad stat…in Mass, Jiminy Peak has been blowing like the hammers of hell…watch the east coast tomorrow for “wind holds” at resorts prone to those. Jeez, can the east catch a break this season?…Good news in Michigan, overnight snow added 3″ at Boyne. In Thompsonville, Crystal Mountain is skiing on 75% of its terrain. We’re glad to hear it!
1/18/07 On the 16th we were telling people best snowpack is Utah, and uh, a reader from the Pacific Northwest was kind enough to correct our error. So we’ll try again….Folks, best snowpack is in the Pac NW, no question about it. From Mt. Baker with 155-168″, to Mt. Bachelor on 107-116″, conditions are darn good right now. Even Anthony Lakes, which doesn’t tend to receive a lot of snow by comparison, has a healthy 51″ base. Ever-popular Summit at Snoqualmie reports 91-124″….news from Minnesota is that the Hart brand of ski gear has been re-born. Rights to the name have been regained by Bill Holmberg, grandson of namesake founder Hartvig Holmberg…cold blast of air into the eastern USA has enabled Alabama’s tiny Cloudmont to crank up its rope tow.
1/17/07 That big whoosh you hear today is the sound of snowguns blowing across the midwest, northeast, southeast…checking in the midwest, biggie Boyne is open on about a fourth of its runs; Minnesota’s Lutsen clicks in at almost 50% open…in the northeast, we haven’t reported on modest Black Mt NH, one of New England’s throwback areas that was positively dismal around the Christmas holidays. Good news is they’re about half open….closest with the mostest to NYC right now is good ol’ Mount Snow. A little longer trip to Okemo yields a lot more terrain.
1/16/07 Cold weather moving into the northeast EXACTLY as forecast in this column on the 11th, and a day earlier than we forecast back on the 8th. Incidentally, if you look back at our forecast for MLK weekend in the northeast, you’ll see that we nailed it, sorry to say. Hey, we’re usually wrong. So this one time that we were spot-on, we’re certainly going to brag…look for the snowguns to be back on all across NY, VT, NH & Maine…lots of natural stuff fell yesterday at Sugarloaf, with kind of a mucky mix elsewhere, although Stowe fared well and continues to open terrain…Mid-Atlantic biggie Wintergreen is looking to re-open tomorrow. We hope so, but expect Thurs/Fri to be more realistic…Mountain Creek planning for Friday. For a complete rundown on Creek’s plans, check our NJ page…Best snowpack this season is Utah, no question, places like Alta on a solid 5′ base…Jackson Hole is oddly thin in some spots, buried in others, nonetheless opened legendary Corbet’s Couloir today…US Ski Team news from Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria , where Julia Mancuso and Lindsey Kildow – finished 1-2 in a World Cup super combined race Sunday. Teammate Resi Stiegler finished fourth, Stacey Cook was 20th. All in all the best World Cup performance by U.S. women in history. Go girls!!!
1/11/07 Vermont biggies Killington and Okemo are battling for mindshare today; Okemo is bragging about having the most open terrain, so Killington launched a secret spoof website called “okemonotorious.com” to answer back. K-Mart tried to hide their identity through a private domain registrar, but some folks sniffed it out…mucho snow big el dumpo at Heavenly yesterday…things are finally beginning to shape up in the east and midwest; Whiteface and Stowe the two notables to receive more than 6″ of white stuff…quite cold in the northeast today, but look for that to warm this weekend. BUT it will not get as warm as originally forecasted, and I’m sticking with the 16th as the return to normal winter temperatures. New England may see it on the 14th, even the 13th, the rest of the east 15th or 16th. If I’m wrong and it hits sooner, 5,000,000 skiers won’t hold it against me….with that in mind, let’s look at the areas that need to re-open. Of the bigger names in the east that closed during the heat wave, here’s a rundown: Mad River Glen VT will have some of its lower mountain stuff open this weekend. Wachusett MA has already re-opened, but things are pretty rough at Wa-Wa. Wintergreen VA will re-open tonight or tomorrow. Elk PA will re-open tomorrow, but no night skiing. And finally, Mountain Creek NJ says they’ll reopen on the 19th. Intrawest will need to do some kind of major tap dance to explain this to angry passholders. Perhaps Creek is doing some sort of wacko marketing test to see how much pass sales drop if they only operate for 60% of the season.
1/10/07 four-time Olympic champion Kjetil Aamodt, known as the “Baby Shark” announced his retirement from alpine ski racing during an awards ceremony in Norway. Aamodt was injured twice last winter, but had been planning to return to the World Cup circuit in January
1/9/07 Not all in the northeast is gloom and doom, folks. Attitash, Saddleback, Sunday River & Sugarloaf all have a decent, surprising amount of terrain open, and all received snow today. Saddleback appears to be the best combination of value, conditions, and open terrain, while Sunday River flat-out has the most. The stuff at Attitash is a wet, mucky sort of snow, but hey, that works better than what most of the northeast has…cold moving into the Midwest, hopefully the MI/MN/WI biggies will kick the guns on tonight…temperature shift mid-month in New England gaining momentum
1/8/07 In case you folks in the northeast have missed it, 30% of the ski season has passed by. I’ll stand by what I said on January 3rd; looking for a bit of cold this week, but some true cold will kick in just after mid-month, right now looking at 17th/18th. So what does that mean to ski resorts in the east? Well, the Martin Luther King weekend business is going to be brutal. Lots of pre-sold packages, very little to ski on. Killington is talking a good game, intending to make snow this week, but we won’t get our hopes up. Mount Snow supposedly turned on the guns last night, we can’t imagine what sort of frozen glop they served up. Move to the Mid-Atlantic, and north-to-south biggies Elk, Mountain Creek, Blue Mountain and Wintergreen are all reportedly closed. Look for Saturday, January 20th, to be an all-out mob scene on the slopes.
1/4/07 Intrawest and ASC (Aspen Skiing Company) are selling Snowmass Base Village to a group called Related Westpac, which is a combination of Related, a NYC investment group, and WestPac Investments Colorado LLC. The sale is slated to go through in February and will add to Snowmass area properties already operated by Related WestPac. Aspen Skiing Co. will continue to operate the mountain and much of the mountain related retail ops and hotels. Not likely the Steamboat purchase had anything to do with Intrawest selling out at Snowmass, but who knows. The Big I no less a major player in Colorado, as it still owns Copper, is involved in Winter Park, and has agreed to purchase Steamboat from the other ASC (American Skiing Co.). I wonder how many Intrawest keeps the ASCs straight…In the northeast, things will probably continue to look ugly for a few days. A couple of resort passholders are up the creek — literally and figuratively. Intrawest’s Mountain Creek which remains shuttered and has attempted to pacify angry passholders with an opportunity to drive 300 miles to Stratton, where passes will be honored — midweek. On weekends Creek passholders can ski Stratton at a discount. They’ve also put together a discount deal with Hunter. Kudos to Creek for caring about their core customers, but what they really need to do is cough up some snow once the cold returns to the northeast…another creek, Bear Creek, the semi-private ski area in the shadow of Killington and formerly known as Round Top is in a really sorry state with passholders but unfortunately doesn’t have any sister resorts to make deals with. On their website, they promise to do something, just not saying yet what it will be.
1/3/07 Despite a chilly morning, the “blowtorch” is fully entrenched in the northeast, and that region looking ahead to one of the worst January ski weekends ever…meanwhile the Pacific Northwest is fat city for those of us who live in WA-OR-ID…While the snowfalls have been epic in the NW, northern plains neighbor Big Sky hasn’t been getting its share, with only 60-70% open…we say “only” but the fact is most eastern resorts would kill for that number…Jackson Hole is almost 100% open but conditions haven’t been epic this season. Look for things to get really, really cold at the end of next week in those northern plains states, as a big time high pressure system is building over western Canada…that high could also spell a return to “normal” temps in the northeast. As warm as the weather has been, that would result in some serious lake effects snows for New England. We’re looking at this for sometime toward the end of next week. And it’s possible some truly arctic air will hit the northeast mid-month, but right now that’s only a possibility. But back to the idea of temps hitting normal to near-normal levels next week: right now that seems to be the most likely course. Now hey, that’s terrific news for the northeast! But first you gotta get past this stinker of a weekend.
1/2/07 If you’re over the age of 40 you’re probably aware that the late former president Gerald R. Ford was an outstanding athlete and avid skier. He spent a lot of time at Vail and was one of the first residents of the Beaver Creek community. Rob Katz, chief executive officer of Vail Resorts said, “President Ford truly exemplified the values of our community and what makes it such a special place to live and visit – family, friendship and caring. As a token of our deep affection and respect, Vail Resorts will rename a ski run at both Vail and Beaver Creek in his honour.” Whether or not you agreed with Ford politically, he was known as a man whose ethics were beyond reproach. Fact is we could use a few politicians like Gerald Ford on both sides of the aisle…Breckenridge has opened the BreckConnect Gondola, which changes the way many skiers will move between town and mountain. Connecting the town with the ski resort’s base areas, the BreckConnect begins at the Breckenridge Transportation Center and ends at Peak 8. It is scheduled to connect with Peak 7 in 2008…Taos dumped on over the weekend, all lifts operating, trail count growing…a foot of white stuff at Arizona Snow Bowl but not yet enough cover to open…moving to the midwest, Brule is 100% in MI, while Wisconsin’s Whitecap is just shy of that mark. Minnesota’s massive Lutsen resort is about one-third open…in Colorado, Steamboat is operating on 158 of 164 trails…move to Utah, where patrollers at The Canyons have dropped the ropes on 130 of 152 trails. Two words for eastern skiers: Go West.
1/1/07 OK folks, back in action after doing a bit of skiing in New England. All I can say is, at the bottom of one particularly icy pitch, I overheard another skier say, “what was the point of that?!” Which, truth be told, more or less nailed it. With the crazy weather pattern, some resorts in the east are in trouble. Meanwhile, some big time meteorologists are looking for a “January Blowtorch Effect” which is not a good thing. So what is the deal? Boil it all down, the eastern U.S.A. will not likely see cold weather until the middle of January. There is an outside chance that the worm could turn around Jan. 7-8, but it’s remote. There’s also an outside chance that long term cold may not materialize at all in the east this season.
12/19/06 Quite a bit of news…biggest has to be that debt-overloaded American Skiing Company has done a 180 from their statement of a few months ago and actually sold Steamboat Ski Resort to Intrawest. Intrawest itself is in the process of being sold. Anyway, $265 million is the price tag, and the transaction should be done before the end of this ski season…we’ll catch up now on FIS World Cup action. Dec 15, Bode Miller wins the Super G in Val Gardena Italy. The next day, Steve Nyman won the Downhill event at the same course. Then on the 17th, Bode finished second to Finnish great Kalle Palender in the GS at Alta Badia. Yesterday in Alta Badia, Swede Markus Larsson won the slalom event, but lo and behold, Ted Ligety finished a strong second in what is believed to be the USA’s first ever four podiums in four days…Switching to the women’s side in Val d’Isere France, American Olympic Champion Julia Mancuso grabbed her first World Cup win today plastering Val d’Isère’s tough “La Daille” downhill course ahead of Austrian “Speed Queen” Renate Goetschl. Then hey, hey! Lindsey Kildow came in 3rd. Are we looking at potentially the best season ever for the Americans in World Cup action?
12/12/06 Lose one, gain one: It seems that not all the resort news is bad in the northeast. New York’s Journal News reports that Sterling Forest Ski Center is slated to come back from the dead! The re-opening is actually targeted for this season, as a couple of local investors are looking to build a resort/condo megaplex revolving around the ski area. Sterling Forest’s license to operate as a ski area is still valid, so things are certainly at least headed in the right direction!
12/11/06 Tough news from New Hampshire where the up-and-down story of Tenney Mountain took a definite turn down over the weekend when that resort announced that it would not open for the 2006-2007 season. Official word is that they don’t want to spread themselves too thin as the resort looks to expand operations and improve etc. etc. Unofficial rumor mill type stuff is that plans to put in a high-speed quad went sour, but the double was partially dismantled to make way for the new lift, and all the king’s horses can’t put it back together and all the king’s men don’t think it’s up to snuff anyway and so they’ve shut down for now. Again, that’s just rumor…good vibrations coming from central Colorado, where small but mighty Ski Cooper is now opening weekends with 100% of terrain.
12/9/06 Aspen Skiing Company opens most of its stuff today…Northeast news, Okemo opened the Jackson Gore section today, putting it neck-and-neck with Killington in terms of quantity and quality at this point in the season.
12/6/06 Mid Atlantic news: Ski season shows up in Pennsylvania, where Big Boulder cranked up the lifts in the Poconos yesterday. Sister area Jack Frost will open Saturday…moving east, Mountain Creek hasn’t said anything yet, but we’d be very surprised if that Jersey property didn’t open Saturday morning. You haven’t skied until you’ve negotiated the opening day mobs at Creek…southward, Wintergreen will open Saturday, most of the action on the Dobie & Eagle’s Swoop trails…moving north to New England, seems like New Hampshire is joining the fray with more than just Bretton Woods; seems that Loon will open with a hodge podge that involves downloading. Top gun Cannon will open on Friday with — well, without much. But lift tickets will be free, so how can you beat it. Sunapee opens with a single route tomorrow.
12/4/06 Finally some good news from New England; Killington, Mount Snow and the other usual suspects have reopened, and a bunch more are blowing snow to beat the band…move into the mid-Atlantic, and there’s finally some good news outside of the remote hollows of NC and WV. In other words, the snowguns have been fired up at resorts that people can actually get to…Pennsy’s Elk Mountain laid a covering of white on the Susquehanna trail, Virginia’s Wintergreen is targeting a midweek opening, even Jersey’s Mountain Creek started with a 12 hour test. Creek says that they’ll kick off the guns tonight in earnest.
12/3/06 Men’s FIS World Cup results from Beaver Creek’s “Birds of Prey” events, biggest news of course would be Bode Miller finishing first in the Downhill despite an errant coach doing a screaming starfish across the course. Bode was cruising along at 70 mph when a Euro coach lost his footing and skittered across. Bode figured it wasn’t a problem, although he certainly had grounds for a re-start. Good thing he didn’t take it! Didier Cuche (Sui) was second, Steve Nyman put another USA racer on the podium by finishing third. GS didn’t fare so well for Bode; he was first after the first run but the second didn’t work out for him. Max Blardone (It) first, Aksel Lund Svindal (Nor) second, Ted Ligety (USA) third. Cuche was fourth….head north to Lake Louise where the FIS Women’s World Cup turned into the Goetschl/Kildow show…USA’s Lindsey Kildow won the downhill, Renate Goetschl second. Austria’s Renate won the super G, Lindsey second. Pretty cool. Anja Paerson (Swe) completed the podium in DH, Kelly Vanderbeek (Can) rounded out the SG.
11/30/06 Ramping up into December nicely across the western states; half a foot at Taos and Arizona Snow Bowl. Taos is running a couple of trails, meanwhile the folks in Flagstaff are hopeful for a mid-December opening. Snow blanketed Utah, Colorado, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming…even parts of Oklahoma & Texas…word from Utah is that The Canyons is now spinning 7 lifts with about a third of its terrain open.
11/29/06 Folks, if you haven’t heard, Colorado and the Pac NW are getting pounded, positively pounded. On our Colorado page we have live cams from a number of resort areas, looks like Aspen is leading the way with plenty of powdery white stuff…on the other hand, bleak news continues from New England. Stratton, Windham, Belleayre, Jiminy Peak have all suspended operations, and Mount Snow will follow suit this afternoon. Word has it that Stowe ought to join them, but is staggering along on two trails. Kudos to Killington for laying down a bunch of white stuff and managing to provide some variety during a tough early season.
11/27/06 Looks like this “global warming” thing has legs. The FIS World Cup has cancelled December’s events in St. Moritz. No snow. No snow, in St. Moritz, in December. Hmmm….Mid-Atlantic biggie Wintergreen did not open as scheduled; temps in the high 50s at the top over the weekend, golf in the 70s down in the Shenandoah Valley…temps heading into the 60s this week at some New England resorts, be interesting to see if the meager bases hold up. Not too optimistic for this coming weekend, but Saturday looks to kick in a cold spell and we have high hopes that the season will begin in earnest with snowmaking next week. There could be some snow/sleet in higher elevations this week; there will definitely be some rain. Right now, 11:00 AM EST in Northern Vermont temps are in the low 50s.
11/25/06 Rash of openings in the northeast; Hunter, Windham, Stratton, K-Mart, Mount Snow, Jiminy Peak, Bretton Woods, Okemo, Stowe all yesterday and today…In the Pacific NW, Mount Hood Ski Bowl dropped the ropes.
11/21/06 Snowmaking news is coming fast and furious now from the northeast. Other than Woodbury CT’s small-scale opening, nothing else in New England was cranking until this morning, when Sugarloaf USA dropped the ropes on the Tote Road trail. Tote, if you aren’t familiar with it, is Sugarloaf “turnpike” route from the top of the quad, which is the summit sans the snowfields. The Loaf had ceremonial first runs yesterday, open to the public this morning…There’s something about ski areas named for sweets…North Carolina’s Sugar Mountain opened yesterday with a legitimate 1200′ vertical trail, and their cannons continue to serve up the sugar…news from Sunday River ME expected today…Attitash NH finally cranked up some snowmaking…Arapahoe Basin CO continues to increase open terrain; just about everything but Pally, Norway Face & East Wall are open…updating Utah, The Canyons presently has 5 of its 17 lifts open…Mammoth CA has started the season with four runs…same count from Ski Brule in Michigan.
11/20/06 (UPDATE 14:00 EST) Mount Snow reports they are tentatively scheduled to open on Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 23) with limited terrain. According to an e-mail, “If all goes well, Upper Canyon, River Run and Chute will open for intermediate and advanced skiers and riders, with downloading to the base of the main mountain. We’ll service the Main Face with the Grand Summit Express and Canyon Express, and one lift on the North Face. Launch Pad will have lift access as well.”
11/20/06 Good news from the Pacific Northwest, where Mount Hood Meadows should be accessible by December 15th. Oh, plenty of snow at MHM, just no way to get there after the White River altered its course. Oregon Highways crews are doing an amazing job of cleaning up the mess…in the Northeast, big news is that it’s FINALLY cold enough to crank up the snow guns. Two lumps of sugar: We believe Sugarbush and Sugarloaf were the first to re-fire, but a bunch more were hot on their heels. Killington, Stratton, Okemo, Mount Snow all cranking as of late Saturday night. K-Mart going full-tilt-boogie trying for top-to-bottom on the K1 peak for Thursday. We’ll see…Moving south, in Massachusetts, Wachusett and Jiminy Peak turned on the cannons, while in the Catskills, Hunter and Windham are blowing too, but no word yet from Belleayre. Although the temps finally seem seasonable in the northeast, this is an unstable weather pattern so you can expect a lot of ups & downs over the next 10 days. In New Hampshire, for example, temps were cold enough for southerners at Crotched to paint some trails white, while Attitash was still too warm. Meanwhile, it snowed at Bretton Woods…in the Mid Atlantic states, WV biggie Snowshoe has more or less cast it in stone that they’ll be cranking the lifts on Turkey Day. The Shoe plans to open the Skidder, Grabhammer and Powder Monkey lifts, serving Skidder, Crosscut, Spruce Glades, Powder Monkey, Heisler Way and Whistlepunk trails…in Colorado, Loveland continues to open more and more terrain; right now you can ski just about everywhere but Loveland Valley. Steamboat is starting to shape up; 33″ base at the summit isn’t up to usual expectations, but snow is arriving with a bit more regularity. Crested Butte opened yesterday, Durango Mountain Resort has scheduled Dec 2 to crank the lifts.
11/13/06 The World Cup season got underway over the weekend with slalom action at Levi, Finland. Olympic SL gold medalist and defending world champion, Benni Raich of Austria notched his 24th win; Swede Markuss Larsson was second. USA’s Jimmy Cochran, scion of Vermont’s legendary Cochran clan, finished a respectable 15th. Ted Ligety, Bode Miller and Tom Rothrock failed to qualify for the second run…speaking of scions, even more exciting news for USA fans on the women’s side: Resi Stiegler had the 4th fastest second run, finishing a surprising 10th overall. Marlies Schild led a podium sweep for Team Austria, dominating the field with the fastest time on each run. American Lindsey Kildow was 19th after the opening run, but crashed on her second…Keeping a close eye on the weather in the Northeast. Okemo continues to point to November 18th, but it sure doesn’t look it. Killington has a good amount of snow stored on the upper slopes, so we expect the Big K to once again be first with the most. Meanwhile Woodbury and Cataloochee are engaged in a battle of “who opened first,” generating some rather ridiculous press releases in the process.
11/10/06 Skiing hopefuls in the northeast received a huge blow this morning when Belleayre announced that it would not be opening this weekend. Tiny Woodbury has some of its snow still on the hill, but it looks dismal…east of Michigan, it seems the only thing happening is Cataloochee in the Carolinas. Believe it or not.
11/9/06 First to open in California goes to Mammoth Mountain, where the Broadway Express chairlift cranked this morning. 100 or so skiers waited on line for 8:30am start up….That big SUCKING sound you might have heard coming from the Northeast USA yesterday was the the sound of man made snow, boodles of money, and thousands of man hours being sucked into local rivers and streams, as warm weather and rains have clobbered snowmaking efforts from last weekend. Tiny Woodbury opened Friday in western Connecticut, they’ve got a rope tow slope open with a couple features on it. This morning’s webcam looked ugly, but we expect Woodbury to move it around, carve it up, smooth it out, etc. So if you absolutely need to make some turns in the northeast, head to Woodbury…As of 9:00 AM today, Belleayre is still planning to open on Saturday, but we have our doubts…some good news from the northeast, small but mighty King Pine has quietly installed a new triple chair, increasing their uphill capacity by 600 skiers per hour. They’ve also added a new trail — a diamond adding 4 acres of new skiable terrain — and upgrades in the park…A Ski Tahoe North Interchangeable Ticket now puts seven California areas on one ticket. It’s good at Alpine Meadows, Diamond Peak, Homewood, Mt. Rose/Ski Tahoe, Northstar-at-Tahoe, Squaw Valley and Sugar Bowl. It costs $58 per person/per day, two-day minimum buy. This interchangeable ticket has no black out dates and is valid all season long. Wicked cool thing is that it’s accepted as two-for-one at Homewood and Diamond Peak.
11/3/06 That big WWWOOOOSSSHHHHH you might have heard coming from the Northeast USA last night was the sound of about 800 bazillion cfm of compressed air blowing snow on a bunch of ski areas. Killington, Sugarbush, Stratton, Okemo, Mount Snow, Bretton Woods, Sunday River, Sugarloaf, Whiteface, Belleayre, to name just a few, have all fired up the compressors and the snow cannons are cranking….speaking of cannons, a nice early winter storm has left a few inches on Cannon. After last season, this is cause for some serious optimism among New Englanders…but today isn’t all about the northeast, Colorado’s Copper Mountain cranks up five lifts today!
11/2/06 OK, now the south has weighed in, Cataloochee plans to let the lifts fly on Saturday…waiting for news from the northeast, where a spot of warm weather looms in next week’s forecast…midwest news, Minnesota’s Lutsen turned on the snow guns today. No rush to open, however, looking at November 18. It’s a bit of a different situation at a sizable resort like Lutsen; they’d have total chaos if they tried to open with one or two runs. Patience, patience…
11/1/06 Sorry folks, Ski Brule slipped in under the radar a couple days ago and we simply didn’t get word: first to open east of the Rockies. Kind of thought the nod might go to Michigan this season. Today Minnesota’s Wild Mountain cranks up the lifts. We’re skiing in the midwest, folks…other news, we are happy to confirm our report from a few days ago (see below), Wolf Creek indeed opened on Friday.
10/30/06 Vail Resorts has weighed in with revised official opening dates based on the recent pounding. Breckenridge will crank on Nov. 10, flagship Vail will open on Nov. 17, and Beaver Creek will drop the ropes on Nov. 22. But the big news is that Keystone‘s opening date has been pushed up to Friday! November 3, the Key joins neighboring Arapahoe Basin among the ranks of open ski areas. Speaking of A-Basin, they’re now open to the summit on Lenawee Face. News from over the pass at Loveland continues to be excellent, now skiing off three chairs with plenty of variety…northeast news, Bretton Woods did a preliminary run with their snow cannons over the weekend, then saw some rain, then a whole bunch of free snow. The natural stuff has been falling throughout the northeast, places like Okemo and Belleayre getting a dusting, others like Stowe and Jay Peak seeing plenty of hikers earning their turns.
10/27/06 Yesterday’s snows in Colorado are probably the biggest story, virtually every area saw some snow. The real early season surprise this year just might come from the south, where Monarch will probably open with mid-season conditions right off the bat. We’ll keep an eye on it. Interestingly enough, most skiers would be hard pressed to locate Monarch on a map (go west from Colorado Springs) and many Denverites think of it as somewhere near Texas…figure you probably heard by now, rain cancelled the opening of the World Cup season on the glacier at Soelden, so the usual circus has moved indoors. Venerable Head Skis seems to be making the biggest ruckus, with its new line of boots selling well, and new line of racers headlined by Bode Miller…in other manufacturer news, Tecnica/Nordica has purchased the Blizzard line. Nordica skis have been gaining popularity in recent years; will be interesting to see how Blizzard is positioned. Perhaps an entry level player? Park & pipe brand? Time will tell…new trail maps are appearing for the upcoming season, and as you might expect, some have changes, interesting and otherwise. vermont’s Mount Snow has started changing names on the Carinthia slopes. New Jersey’s Mountain Creek has dropped a trail called “Granite View” from the rolls.
10/25/06 Midwest news and most Upper Peninsula slopes have gotten their first snows. Blackjack was absolutely pounded with wet, heavy stuff. Even Boyne on the lower peninsula received a serious dusting…while we’re on the midwest, be advised that Ski Brule has advance lift tickets available at gas stations and other locales around MI and WI for just $26. That’s a good deal folks…news from the corporate side of the ski universe: Ski personality/spokesman/character/all-around-good-guy Glen Plake has defected from K2 to Elan. Plake, probably the most recognizable non-racer in the ski community, is a walking publicity machine, so look for Elan’s profile to rise. This seems to happen every few years; in the late 1970s unbeatable racer Ingemar Stenmark popularized the brand. Then in the 1990s Elan stepped up with the MBX, arguably the first shaped ski. I’m not saying Plake will have the impact of a Stenmark or the MBX, but he certainly creates positive buzz…back east a few more ski areas enjoyed light snows, notably Okemo and Belleayre.
10/24/06 First turns in the northeast this past weekend as a handful of diehards “earned their turns” and hiked or skinned up Jay Peak to make runs on the early season snow…Want to own a ski area for a couple days? One lucky winner and five friends will spend two days at Showdown Mountain in Montana’s Lewis & Clark National Forest, courtesy of Travel Montana. Once the winner arrives at the mountain, the gates will close and the winner will have the run of the area. The prize includes a gourmet chef, North Face clothing, and other “all expenses paid” goodies. Showdown is celebrating its 70th anniversary this season. Enter at WinYourOwnMountain.com…Good news continues from Colorado, where Loveland has two routes down the mountain now open, and has turned on the guns across the highway at the Valley. Surprise is that Wolf Creek down in Pagosa Springs plans to open this Friday, October 27th, with a couple of lifts turning and another under construction. Good news indeed for a resort that was once referred to as “beleaguered”….New York news, Greek Peak is hosting its annual ski swap this weekend. Check their site for details, GreekPeak.net.
10/17/06 Word has it from New Hampshire that Mt. Washington’s Cog Railway Ski Train will not be operating this season. A quick call to the Cog confirmed that this is indeed the case, although they plan to continue sightseeing trips through the snow….speaking of snow…16″ and counting at Aspen, Aspen Highlands, Snowmass although none plan to open until scheduled late in November. A-Basin and Loveland have received slight hits from mother nature, and are looking for a whole lot more this evening. Snow is also hitting Monarch and Telluride today.
10/13/06 Big winner this year in the first to open sweepstakes goes to Arapahoe Basin, making turns on High Noon as of this morning! As far as we know, this is the first time A-Basin has beaten perennial winner Loveland, located just on the other side of the pass. Loveland for their part plans to open tomorrow, possibly with more terrain. In the east, the pounding in Buffalo seems to have missed the local resorts, although Peek’n’Peak will be hosting a rail jam over the weekend. And hey, a bit of snow turned things white on top of Sugarbush overnight.
10/02/06 Just got the skinny on some of Vail’s opening schedule: Sun Up and Sun Down bowls (Chairs 5 and 17) and Game Creek Bowl (Chair 7) to open Dec. 15. The remaining bowls-including China Bowl and Blue Sky Basin-are scheduled to open Dec. 18…Attn New York State skiers, this weekend is one of your best opportunities to purchase discounted lift tickets to Belleayre; unlimited 4-paks for just $99. The only catch is that you have to go to Belleayre’s open house this weekend and buy the package in person…New Jersey skiers ought to check out the NJ Ski Clubs Open House event at the Governor Morris Hotel, Morristown NJ, Friday night October 20th. Another event on the calendar in the Garden State is December 1 & 2 the Sparta High School Ski Boosters will be hosting a ski swap.
9/29/06 Have to make a plug here for Colorado’s Loveland ski area. Right now you can buy a 4-Pak of tickets online, which is four lift tickets…use them all yourself, or bring the family…$99 for the 4-pak. $99! I can’t for the life of me understand why people drive past Loveland to park in remote lots, ride a bus, and then wait on liftlines at the “big” resorts in Summit County.
9/28/06 Team USA has announced its lineup for the World Cup season…here are the names, ages, residence of the “A” Teams…Men’s A Team – Ted Ligety (22; Park City, UT*), Bode Miller (28; Bretton Woods, NH*); Bryon Friedman 26; Park City, UT), Scott Macartney (28; Redmond, WA*), Steve Nyman (24; Orem, UT*), Erik Schlopy (34; Park City, UT*) and Dane Spencer (28; Boise, ID*)…Women’s A Team – Kirsten Clark (29; Raymond, ME*), Stacey Cook (22; Mammoth, CA*), Lindsey Kildow (21; Vail, CO*), Caroline Lalive (27; Steamboat Springs, CO*), Libby Ludlow (25; Bellevue, WA*), Julia Mancuso (22; Olympic Valley, CA*), Sarah Schleper (27; Vail, CO*) and Resi Stiegler (20; Jackson Hole, WY*)
9/25/06 Just got word that Silverton Mt in southwest Colorado takes honors again for first tracks. Although, we must add of course, Timberline Lodge has the Palmer snowfield open for business as usual every weekend.
9/22/06 Good News: Snowing like crazy in parts of Colorado! Bad News: Connecticut’s venerable Powder Ridge appears to be shutting down operations forever; definitely will not open for 2006-07 season.
9/20/06 The Northeast chimes in…snow on the summit of Mt. Washington!
9/18/06 Great news!! Snow above mid-mountain at Steamboat!
5/4/06 Ski season in the eastern USA officially ends tomorrow, Friday May 5th when this year’s king of the hill Bretton Woods stops cranking at 4:00 PM. Kudos to BW — which incidentally was recently sold — first to beat Killington since I can’t remember when. The 1970s? We say “officially” because this is the end of lift-served turns in the east until…??? Anyway, you can still make some helter-skelter runs if you’re willing to hike Tuckerman’s Ravine and even Sugarloaf.
4/26/06 First-class resort Bretton Woods in New Hampshire did the unthinkable today: They turned on the snow guns. Their explanation? “What the heck, it’s cold enough!” April 26th! BW plans to stay open into May — possibly battling Killington this year for latest in the east honors. Heck, at this rate they can set their sights on A-Basin! Well, it looks like they just sort of added fresh to lift load/unload areas, that sort of thing. But still, you gotta give credit where credit is due!
4/25/06 Sad news from New Jersey, where ski visionary Jack Kurlander passed away on Monday. Kurlander built the original Great Gorge — now part of Mountain Creek and Hidden Valley ski resorts, both located in NJ.
4/3/06 Attention Pennsylvania skiers, Seven Springs and Laurel Mountain State Park
: Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Somerset Trust (LM leaseholder) and PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (State Parks Dept.) are set to resume talks this spring. Now is the time to lobby Seven Springs. The meetings will determine if Seven Spring will operate Laurel Mountain. Last season Seven Springs agreed to operate Laurel Mountain State Park but decided against doing so this season…If you are interested in seeing Laurel open again, contact Seven Springs and tell them that you would like to see them operate Laurel.
4/2/06 New York’s Belleayre has announced that they’ll button everything up on April 9th, one week earlier than anticipated.
3/27/06 Daron Rahlves retired in style yesterday by winning the last race of his career. He collected his seventh U.S. title, and his third straight super G crown at the TD Banknorth U.S. Alpine Championships at Sugarloaf.
3/15/06 FINALLY! Here’s some news folks in the southwest have longed for: Arizona Snow Bowl in Flagstaff will OPEN on Friday! After a super long drought, the past weekend storm kicked in enough snow. Folks, the roads will be clear by then, so get out there and support your local ski area!! Gladdens my heart to hear this…news continues to be, ah, “mixed” in the northeast. On one hand, NY biggie Belleayre is blowing snow again, while some of the smaller operations throughout New England are done for the season. Boarderless Mad River Glen may pack the season in fairly soon…in the mid-Atlantic, a couple of popular resorts have bagged it, but notables Wintergreen and Massanutten are still skiing nicely…midwest favorites like Boyne, Brule, Lutsen etc. are in fine late winter shape…don’t need to say anything about the Rockies; everything looks awesome…Recent chairlift cable slippage at Pats Peak in Henniker, NH brought about this announcement from the Marketing Dept: At aprrox 6:45 -Saturday night we had a partial denouement [sic] off of one of the lift towers on the summit Peak Chair. Mountain Operations was immediately dispatched to assess the situation and the call to “rope evacuate” the lift was made. Pats Peak trains its entire Mountain Staff (Ski Patrol, Ski School, Mt. Ops and Office Staff) to perform chairlift evacuations. We constantly practice in the fall and again when there is snow on the ground. Since a number of our ski patrollers are also affiliated with the Henniker Safety Services its only natural to call them in for help. We have a GREAT working relationship with the Henniker Fire Department and Rescue Squad and cross train with them constantly. The Ski Patrol set up teams to start getting people off of the lift immediately. Henniker Safety Services assisted with the evacuation along with the ski instructors who are on hand to assist the skiers off of the slopes once they are lowered to the slopes. The State of NH – Division of Tramway Safety was immediately notified and they were here Saturday night to investigate. The State was extremely satisfied with the actions of Pats Peak and the professionalism displayed by all. The tower has been repaired and reinspection of the lift should occur in the next couple of days. We anticipate operating the chair this weekend. Kudos to Pat’s Peak and the good people in Henniker for handling this so well — can be a very frightening situation when you’re on a lift under those circumstances.
3/9/06 The southern Colorado happiness moves slightly east today; Monarch is enjoying terrific snowfall as we write this…Move further east, a lot further east, and the picture looks bleak. Eastern seaboard…rain and warm weather followed by more rain and something known as spring rules the forecast from Quebec to the Mid-Atlantic. Fortunately, many ski areas have a significant base — some blowing snow right into March, which is rather unusual. Anyway, look for great spring skiing conditions for Saturday; after that we’ll have to wait and see what next week brings.
3/8/06 Biggest news of the year, folks, a NEW SKI AREA! Echo Mountain Park, in Idaho Springs, CO, opened this week. Echo Mountain Park is built exclusively to cater to the needs of terrain park riders, and it is the closest lift served terrain to Denver. Weekday tickets will cost $25 and weekend tickets will cost $35…Good news continues in Colorado; winter returned to the southern part of the state today. Silverton Mountain reported 13″ of new snow piled up in only 8 hours, and it continues to snow. Durango, Powderhorn, Telluride and Wolf Creek are also enjoying a foot or more.
3/1/06 March comes in like a lion…Mammoth California is reporting 27 inches of fresh. How can you beat that…still gloomy in Arizona, where Snow Bowl continues to sit empty this season…Good news for the northeastern resorts: SNOW forecasted for NY/PA/CT/RI/MA tonight means that even with an inch or two on the ground, the “backyard effect” will kick in, which should translate to busy slopes this weekend…Pennsy’s Montage Mountain is doing a “March Madness” promotion on Sunday, all on-mountain services (lift tix, lessons, rentals, etc) just $15 per service.
2/27/06 New England finally has its ski season, folks. Conditions — particularly in Vermont — are simply incredible. Mount snow has all but three runs open. Sugarbush is simply phenomenal. Even Magic has some worthwhile stuff open. Another upside to all this is that the northeast population centers have no snow to speak of, no backyard effect, so the masses aren’t “Thinking skiing.”
2/22/06 A rash of snows and cold across the upper midwest have finally — finally — made this a season worth talking about. Michigan favorites like Brule and both Boyne areas are firing on all cylinders. Unlike the east coast, most have been able to shut down snowmaking operations for the year. Mt. Bohemia is 100% open, including all back country and extreme terrain; 26″ of snow over the past 7 days makes all the difference in the world…update on Dane Spencer, who suffered neck and pelvis injuries during a ski race on Launch Pad at Montana’s Big Mountain. He narrowly avoided paralysis, and doctors say his neck will be in traction for at least four months…update from Monday’s fatality at Gore where a friend saw Michael P. FitzGibbons ski off the Lies trail and into a stand of trees. County Sheriff Larry Cleveland speculates that it might’ve been a heart attack: “There wasn’t any visible injury that we saw that would have shown any sort of trauma,” he said. The young boy hurt the same day is said to be in “very rough shape.”
2/21/06 New York’s Gore Mountain reported two separate skier incidents that occurred yesterday (Monday) morning during the holiday. At approximately 9:12 AM, 56 year old Michael P. FitzGibbons of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., went off the Lies trail and died. The second mishap, at 11:20 AM, involved a 15 year old male who suffered head trauma on the Cloud trail. Both skiers were wearing helmets at the time. The Lies trail is experts only; Cloud is intermediate.
2/15/06 No doubt you’ve heard that Olympian Lindsey Kildow is fine, and that Ted Ligety took gold in the men’s combined, and that Bode is Bode. More pressing news that you probably haven’t heard is that USST member Dane Spencer is in intensive care/serious condition, following a Tuesday crash during a downhill race at Big Mountain, MT. Spencer, who’s Torino Olympics were sidetracked due to knee problems, lost control on a section of the Ursa Major course called the Launch Pad, after being airborne well over 100 feet. He slid for about 200 metres before stopping, apparently unconscious. Sound vaguely familiar? Ursa Major is the same course former Olympic gold medalist Bill Johnson crashed on in 2001, suffering serious head injuries which ultimately required brain surgery.
2/13/06 Parts of the northeast pounded, as you probably know. Twenty-six inches of snow fell in Central Park, New York City! That’s great if you feel like telemarking through The Bramble. Unfortunately the big New England resorts got dusted or missed entirely. But, like Central Park, the mid-Atlantic and other banana belt areas were pounded. Best news in all this is that 17″ of snow meant so much to the owners of Powder Ridge that they were able to re-open yesterday. This just might make Powder Ridge the briefest “lost” ski area in history. They’re open, lifts are cranking, snowguns are blowing; looks like they may last the season if they can survive the warm temps forecasted for later this week. Unfortunately next year remains doubtful…reports from around the east coast…a foot of snow fell at Wintergreen, 2″ in the White Mountains, 4″ at Mount Snow, 9-10″ at Mountain Creek, 10″ at Ski Windham…more snow falling in California; the white stuff from the current storm at Mammoth and whatnot will be measured in FEET…and another biggie is one the way for western ski areas; Utah & Colorado should be pounded…good news for the midwest — well, the upper midwest anyway — the warm should stay well enough to the south this week and the U.P. and places like Lutsen should be positively snowed under. This weather pattern could make the season for the northern midwest areas. Unfortunately the lower midwest — places like Boston Mills will likely see more rain Weds. or Thurs…alright, we’ll touch on the Olympics here…plenty of other sources for this info, so we provide “commentary” more than news on this stuff…no doubt you’ve heard that Bode and Daron didn’t fare so well yesterday, but if you were out skiing (like you should be) you missed word that Lindsey Kildow had a horrible crash just moments after defending Olympic champion Carole Montillet-Carles of France crashed. Kildow was airlifted to a hospital and we’re anxiously awaiting word on her condition.
2/10/06 Olympic fervor gets underway tonight with opening ceremonies, but you’ve got plenty of sources for that sort of news, so we’ll move on to the stuff you won’t necessarily find in your local newspaper…Bad news first…The winter of 2005-2006 has not shaped up as the Arizona Snowbowl would like, only receiving 20 inches of snow year to date. But Snowbowl officials are not about to say that the season is done. According to Snowbowl’s GM, J.R. Murray. “We are not even half way through our average season, so there is plenty of time to finish off this winter strong, we just need the snow and we hope the weather patterns will soon change.” Murray cites the 1999-2000 season, when Snowbowl opened for the season on February 25 and had an excellent finish. With a warm front settling in the southwest, we have our doubts…tragedy in the northeast, Central Massachusetts ski area Wachusett where a 39-year-old male skier was killed yesterday. Piecing together what we can, sounds like a lot of things occurred simultaneously. The skier was either going excessively fast or out of control (conflicting reports) on a black diamond, turned to avoid another skier as he approached a merge area, the binding pre-released on one of the skis, and he was then catapulted into some trees on the side of the trail. Any one of those is tough to deal with, and could certainly result in injury. Put them all together and it’s a recipe for disaster. It certainly underscores the point that no matter how new or safe your equipment seems to be, it can fail at any time for a myriad of unforeseen reasons. With that in mind, don’t ski any faster than the speed at which you are willing to ditch…more tough news from the northeast: Powder Ridge has suspended operations for the year, and looks extremely doubtful for next year. The suburban Connecticut resort boasts a 525′ vertical, a couple of decent lifts and a nice snowmaking system, but the warm rains this year washed away the white stuff every time they made it. The expense has simply proven too much. Other CT ski areas are offering discounts to Pow Ridge passholders. This is a nice gesture but the discounts don’t amount to much — although we can imagine those areas are in tough shape too, so we won’t look a gift horse in the mouth…Fortunately the cold has returned for the NE, too little too late for Pow, but helpful elsewhere. Some resorts are scrambling to get good coverage prior to Prez weekend…the tough news continues out of New England, this from New Hampshire’s Dartmouth Skiway where a 12 year old Vermont snowboarder fell 30′ from a chairlift. The young man was allegedly riding with his instructor and raised the bar too soon. He’s hurting, to be sure, critical condition and all, but is not in grave danger…we’re reporting the bad news, because that’s what we’re fed. Nobody bothers sending us good news, but we can make these assumptions across the nation: Hundreds or perhaps thousands of kids will ski for the first time this weekend. A nice young lady somewhere will meet her future husband for the first time, sharing a ride on a chairlift. Another young man will propose to his long-time sweetheart on that special trail somewhere. And hundreds of skiers will make the jump from stem turns to parallel turns for the first time. Again, that will be happening all across the country this weekend, we just don’t know where. But certainly some of these will happen at a ski area near you.
2/8/06 Particularly impressive snowmaking efforts by some eastern biggies: ASC’s Killington and Mount Snow have been cranking around the clock. In the southeast, Wintergreen is currently blanketing almost every trail in their various hollows….Here’s the schedule for the Downhill & Super G events at the Winter Olympics:
2/08/06: Women SG Race
2/09/06: Women SG Race
2/10/06: Men & Women DH Train
2/11/06: Men & Women DH Training
2/12/06: Men & Women DH Race
2/13/06: Men & Women DH Race
2/14/06: Men SG Race
2/15/06: Men SG Race
2/16/06: Weather Day (if needed)
2/6/06 Cold air has arrived over the upper midwest and the eastern part of the country, and snowguns have been turned on here and there to cover the turf and rock visible on ski trails from Maine to Minnesota….western news, we turn to Steamboat, where 52-year-old Randell Berg has been charged with third-degree assault and disorderly conduct after punching an 18 year old girl in the head and neck and swearing at her after she collided with his daughter on Sunday. Police Capt. Joel Rae said Berg “just snapped” near the bottom of the Headwall run. Capt. Rae states that the snowboarder “went right over to the little girl to ask if she was OK. Dad arrived and started pummeling her.” It will all get sorted out, as Berg is due to appear in Routt County court on February 14th. While we’d like to pop a few out of control boarders every now and then, we don’t actually condone it, punching people just isn’t nice. And Berg is giving skiers a bad name! Hope they throw the book at him.
2/3/06 News in the east is dismal. Until the weather changes (supposedly Sunday) we’ll shift our gaze to Colorado…Steamboat has received the most snow in the state so far this season. That doesn’t sound like anything, until you consider: Vail is EIGHT FEET over its average for this time of year. A-Basin opened Pallavicini two months earlier than last year. Loveland has received 77 inches more snow than average and its snow base is two feet above average for this time of year. Winter Park has 96.5 inches more snow than last year and is 27 percent above average annual snowfall year-to-date. Breckenridge is 144 percent of normal snowfall, and in January this year, the resort received more than twice the amount of snowfall they did in January last. In western Colorado, Powderhorn has had nearly four feet of fresh powder in the last two weeks.
2/2/06 Sad news from the northeast: New York throwback area Bobcat has announced that it will not open this season. Let’s hope for next year.
1/30/06 A couple of things to report from the Northeast: First, New Hampshire biggie Loon Mountain is set to begin a major expansion. Working with Dallas-based Centex Destination Properties, the plan ultimately could include 900 homes and condos. Loon is selling the lots to pay for a new high-speed lift, seven trails, a new base lodge and parking in an area that used to be known as South Mountain, but is to be known and marketed as South Peak. Daily capacity at Loon will grow from 6,100 skiers and riders to 9,100 a day. Loon people say South Peak will open in two years with 3 trails, snowmaking, a lift, and a lift connecting it to the rest of the mountain. The new mountain will have 1,540 vertical feet of skiing, mostly blues and blacks. Another 100+ acres could come online over the next decade….and now the really big news…COLD AND SNOW are due to hit the northeast on February 4th, with a major shift in the weather pattern. Feb 6 could see a big rain event, but otherwise, cold and snow for the foreseeable future. And, that Feb 6 anomoly may not happen as rain! It all depends, right? Hey! Think Snow…rain pounded the mid-Atlantic states yesterday, but resorts like Camelback and Blue Mountain in Pennsy and Ski Windham in NY are still reporting a decent base…Colorado news is old hat by now, but surprise — new snow overnight in Aspen, Steamboat, Monarch, Leadville, Summit County…blah blah blah…why don’t you Coloradoans ship some of that to Flagstaff AZ where the Snowbowl is positively dying, and the forecast calls for anywhere from ZERO to ten percent probability of precipitation for the next two weeks. Just a day’s drive away, Utah is positively swimming in the stuff. The report from Arizona is brutal, folks.
1/27/06 Here’s the 2006 US Olympic Alpine Team, including age, hometown, previous Olympic experience (if any). MEN: Jimmy Cochran, 24, Keene, N.H.; Chip Knight, 31, Stowe, Vt. (1998, 2002 Olympics); Ted Ligety, 21, Park City, Utah; Scott Macartney, 28, Redmond, Wash. (2002); Bode Miller, 28, Bretton Woods, N.H. (1998, 2002); Steve Nyman, 23, Orem, Utah; Daron Rahlves, 32, Sugar Bowl, Calif. (1998, 2002); Erik Schlopy, 33, Park City, Utah (1994, 2002); Marco Sullivan, 25, Squaw Valley, Calif. (2002).
WOMEN: Kirsten Clark, 28, Raymond, Maine (1998, 2002); Stacey Cook, 21, Truckee, CA; Lindsey Kildow, 21, Vail, Colo. (2002); Kristina Koznick, 30, Eagan, Minn. (1998, 2002); Caroline Lalive, 26, Steamboat Springs, Colo. (1998, 2002); Libby Ludlow, 24, Bellevue, WA; Julia Mancuso, 21, Olympic Valley, Calif. (2002); Kaylin Richardson, 21, Edina, MN; Sarah Schleper, 26, Vail, Colo. (1998, 2002); Resi Stiegler, 20, Jackson Hole, WY.
1/25/06 Just back from a week in Summit County with research & review forays to Vail and Ski Cooper as well.
1/17/06 Where to begin. It’s feast or famine out there, but you don’t need me to tell you that. Lake Tahoe got bombed again. Western & southwest Colorado finally got the stuff that was already covering the rest of the state; Sunlight and Durango are skiing on pure powder. Summit County gets snowed on virtually every day. Copper Mountain has everything open for the first time in a couple years — they have stuff open they don’t even know they have. Utah can’t dig out. Jackson Hole has so much snow that some days simply aren’t fun for the average tourist. It’s great folks, but it isn’t all peaches and cream. The northeast is dying…natural snow resorts like Magic VT, Bobcat and Plattekill NY were closed this past Saturday. Heck, Bobcat hasn’t even opened this season. The Massachusetts resorts, which did so well last year, are really struggling. Far north — Stowe in VT, Attitash in NH are holding their own. The real problem in the northeast is that a Bermuda High in the Atlantic is simply too strong, providing warm air and warm weather. It wasn’t a problem in December, but right now there is nothing powerful enough to move it. Hopefully early February this will turn around…moving south, best stuff is at Virginia’s Wintergreen, which has done a terrific job keeping almost every trail open despite daytime temps soaring into the 50s…things are ugly in the southern reaches of the Midwest. Not bad in the Upper Peninsula, but some southern Michigan resorts are shuttered…well folks, no matter how bad you may have it at your local ski area, there is someplace worse off. The biggest disaster this season has been Arizona Snowbowl, which needs at least another foot of snow for sufficient snowpack to open. It’s a far cry from last year, where Flagstaff had the best conditions in the nation for most of the winter.
1/15/06 Lots of fallout about Bode Miller, no need for additional comment here. Hey, Bode’s human, he’s going to make mistakes…although they’ve been back to work at Tremblant, the bad news continues as weather wreaks havoc and few trails are open. Tough year there.
1/11/06 Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) announced today its 25 member resorts have set a new record for skier visits during the first part of the 2005-06 ski and snowboard season. Collectively, CSCUSA resorts hosted more than three million skier visits from opening day, October 15, through December 31, 2005, an increase of 5.6 percent over the same time period last season.
1/8/06 Here’s the press statement…to all friends and family of Hunter Mountain: The Slutzky family and staff of Hunter Mountain were saddened today with the passing of one of the resort’s founding fathers, Israel Slutzky. He died of natural causes in the early morning hours of January 8, 2006. He was 92. Israel (Izzy), along with his brother Orville, provided the vision for Hunter Mountain in 1959, and over the last 47 years grew the facility into one of the region’s premier mountain resort destinations
On behalf of all of us at SkierNet.com and the NY area skiing community, “thank you” Izzy, job well done, rest in peace.
1/5/06 Time to make a plug for Winter Trails Day, which is Saturday, Janurary 7, 2006. Anyone new to the sport of cross-country skiing or snowshoeing can ski or trek free at any of over 100 locations across the USA. For more information, please click here for the Wintertrails.org website. Hey, there’s more to skiing than just downhill, ya know!
1/4/06 More snow! Biggest news is California, where the good people at Mammoth received so much of the white stuff that we aren’t even sure they can measure it. Falling at a rate of 4 to 6 inches per hour, certain areas were blasted with six to eight feet of snow in a 36 hour period…Everything on the east coast is proportionally smaller (well, not everything) but yesterday’s coastal storm brought some much needed new stuff to previously rain-soaked portions of New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. Mountain Creek and Hidden Valley got six inches, while some of the CT & MA resorts report even more. Catskills got pounded as well; skiers in-the-know are headed for the eight inches of powder when Plattekill reopens on Friday…Finally some good news from Quebec, where striking Mont Tremblant workers approved a mediator’s proposal. Things should be back to, eh, normal in a few days.
1/3/06 Cowabunga, dude…Jackson Hole reports five feet of snow over the last seven days, bringing the season total to 217″. The entire resort is open, including Corbet’s Couloir…unpleasant news continues in Quebec, where a strike crippled Mont Tremblant‘s Christmas business. Word is that strikers are planning to vote on the latest proposal, but they aren’t saying when they’re gonna do that. Intrawest is going to have to offer some pretty stunning values to attract skiers next Christmas.
1/2/06 Happy New Year! Starting in the east, The sale of Windham Mountain from Snow Time, Inc. to a group of local investors has been completed. The group, called Windham Mountain Partners, plans to maintain the resort’s current management team led by resort President Dan Frank and General Manager Tim Woods. Snow Time, Inc. will continue to operate three resorts in Pennsylvania – Liberty Mountain, Whitetail Mountain and Ski Roundtop – and has no plans to sell those properties…New Hampshire biggie Bretton Woods hit a holiday homerun with snowstorm after snowstorm this past week; skiers lost count of the tree runs and powder stashes…despite recent rains and mixed precip, things look pretty good across the region…moving south, Virginia biggie Wintergreen is firing on all cylinders, and West Virginia juggernaut Snowshoe is reporting the same. Others, such as Winterplace, are 90 to 95 percent open; technicalities more than anything else…checking in the midwest, nothing out of the ordinary, plenty of snow, not enough vert. A random sampling of Minnesota favorites Buena Vista, Coffee Mill and Spirit Mountain has everybody operating at 100%…In the west, the Sierra Sun reports that an in-bounds avalanche at Squaw Valley temporarily closed the Headwall lift on Thursday. According to the report, four skiers out-skied the slide, one of whom was said to have suffered a shoulder injury…while the snow dumps on the Cottonwood Canyons and continues to pepper Colorado, nothing fun yet at Arizona Snowbowl. Last year the Flagstaff favorite was the first to report 100% open; this year looks like it might be the last ski resort in the country to crank the lifts…World Cup news from Bormio, Italy where USA skier Daron Rahlves won the Men’s Downhill and jumped into the lead in the overall standings. Rahlves surged past reigning champ Bode Miller, who finished 9th in the event…no change in the Mont Tremblant strike fiasco.
12/19/05 After a terrific weekend of skiing by mid-December standards, the biggest news has to be the mountain where there was no skiing. Mont Tremblant, rated by some in the skiing press as number one in the east, continues to be embroiled in a general strike. We have no official word from Intrawest as of yet, but according to their website they “deplore” the strike. No kidding? If this thing isn’t resolved by the Christmas Holiday week, Intrawest is going to have one nasty mess on their hands….speaking of things you might deplore, if the strike goes on, and Intrawest doesn’t refund lodging, or give credit to people with season’s passes, now THAT would be deplorable….speaking of lodging, the plight of seasonal ski bums in the Park City area is finally getting some attention….now this brings us back to Intrawest, who gets credit for taking a pro-active position on the housing problem that its seasonal workers have at Stratton. Intrawest (or whatever arm takes care of this sort of thing) booked most or all of a resortish lodge at Magic Mountain, the perpetually troubled ski area nearby. As most of these workers are Aussies and Kiwis, it’s kind of tough to travel 3,000 miles for “summer” work and find that there are no beds to be had. Good job on this one, Intrawest; let’s hope the Tremblant thing resolves itself…speaking of Magic Mountain, they’re reporting open for the season — 100% open for the season! If that’s the case, we urge the Okemo-bound and Stratton-bound holiday skiers to spend a day at Magic to experience old-fashioned New England skiing…news from Mammoth is snow, snow, and more snow….from biggie back to small, Colorado’s outstanding Ski Cooper (again, that’s Cooper, not Copper) opened 100% of its terrain this weekend. Here’s another one where the nearby monsters like Breckenridge and Copper get all the traffic; skiers in-the-know head for Cooper.
12/16/05 Update: The following information has been released on the Mont Tremblant website…Station Mont Tremblant learned this afternoon, regretfully, that the union is preparing a work stoppage this weekend, from midnight Friday to midnight Saturday. Senior management at Station Mont-Tremblant are upset that the union has resorted to drastic means while discussions are underway, yet they still remain hopeful that an agreement will be reached before Christmas. An unfortunate situation for skiers and vacationers…Station Mont-Tremblant will do everything possible to satisfy guests who have reservations this weekend. We are asking that skiers not show up on Saturday, in order to avoid a disappointing situation. Meanwhile, if all goes according to plan, we will be welcoming skiers on Sunday morning, as usual. Many company departments are mobilizing to offer services on the mountain. The slopes will be open, as well as the hotels. Restaurants, shops, and businesses in Tremblant village will be operating as usual. Our Snow School and Childcare Services will be closed on Saturday. For up-to-the-minute information, please visit our website at: www.tremblant.ca. We hope that this situation is temporary, and that the union will negotiate a winning agreement for salaries, for the company, and consequently, for the entire region.
12/16/05 Rumblings and rumors abound concerning a possible strike looming at Quebec’s Mont Tremblant, news set to break tomorrow, will keep you posted here. It’s all hearsay at this point; nothing on the Tremblant website but all sorts of stuff being reported here….Great news from the Southwest, were recent New Mexico snows will prompt Red River, Angel Fire Resort, and Ski Apache to crank up the season today. New Mexico hills that opened previously — Taos Ski Valley, Ski Santa Fe, and Sipapu — are expanding their open terrain…..
12/15/05 Two of the Northeast’s favorite “natural snow” areas are opening today…the summit section of New York’s monster Whiteface will have three trails. In Vermont, one of the all-time favorite cruising areas, Sunbrook at Mount Snow opens today as well.
12/12/05 Pleased to file our first official “weekend report” for the 2005-2006 ski season, this one a tour of Southern Vermont. If this weekend was any indicator, this could be one of the finest seasons of the past decade. First stop was Mount Snow on Thursday, which never fails to delight with its wonderfully groomed cruisers. As always, the compressors and whatnot were working overtime at the base area; I suspect Mount Sneaux to be at 100% by Christmas. Best trail on the hill was Chute on the North Face. Friday was on to Okemo, where we put the new Jackson Gore base area through its paces. This is an unusual section in that it offers a couple of simple, easy trails at the lower mountain, and a more challenging run called Quantum Leap up high. It’s a terrific trail, and will only serve to help Okemo’s reputation grow. The lower runs have a short, simple chair; the summit has a separate express chair. It’s a nice set up. Saturday we enjoyed a great day of skiing at perpetually crowded Stratton, the vertical king of southern VT. Best run all day long was North American, although I must admit it burned these early season thighs right out. Found an unusual and little-used run called Duck Soup down in the Tamarack area. It’s a narrow old New England style trail, and it was open on all natural snow. A pleasant change from the meticulous rolling trails elsewhere on the lower mountain. Surprised to see that with all the madhouse business going on at Stratton, absolutely nothing appeared to be happening in the Kidderbrook/Sun Bowl areas. Not sure what they’re waiting for. Plans for Bromley were kind of waylaid; we had reports that only one route was open and found out much too late that many more were online. Despite this miscue, we expect Bromley to provide it’s usual excellent skiing — the $25 midweek ticket price and $29 Sunday afternoon ticket price is a one-two combination that’s tough to beat. In the midst of all this great skiing, Magic Mountain was strangely silent. December 17th is their targeted opening.
12/11/05 FIS World Cup leader Bode Miller finished third today in a confused and somewhat muddled “super combined” after Swiss Didier Defago, the apparent winner, was disqualified. Defago’s ski/binding/boot package was determined to exceed the maximum height allowed by the FIS, sanctioning body of World Cup skiing. Austrian Mickey Walchhofer was moved into first place after the DQ. Second place went to Rainer Schoenfelder and Miller moved from fourth place to third. American Ted Ligety finished a respectable 10th.
12/10/05 Midwest News: Quad Cities area Snowstar Winter Sports Park opened for the season today, a week ahead of schedule thanks to the recent snows.
12/05/05 Late update, again we return to Beaver Creek where World Cup champion Bode Miller and teammate Daron Rahlves reversed their downhill podium placements for a dramatic World Cup giant slalom 1-2 finish Saturday at the VISA Birds of Prey races. Finn Kalle Palander finished third. Had it not been for Part II of the Rahlves/Miller show (or Miller/Rahlves, it’s up to you), the real drama would’ve been the USA’s Erik Schlopy. Schlopy broke his left hand during the first run, skied the second run with his ski pole bandaged to his hand, and finished an incredible 4th, just a whisker behind Palander.
Now, if not for the Miller/Rahlves deal, or Schlopy’s remarkable finish, the biggest story of the day would no doubt be from the Women’s FIS World Cup side, competing in Lake Louise. USA skier Lindsey Kildow stormed to the top of the charts in the World Cup downhill on Saturday, winning by three-hundredths of a second over Sylviane Berthod of Switzerland.
12/02/05 Big news from Beaver Creek where the FIS World Cup Downhill on the famous (infamous?) Birds of Prey trail saw Daron Rahlves pace the field with 1:13.37, followed by Bode Miller at 1:13.64, notching a 1-2 USA finish which naturally made the home crowd go bonkers. Austrian Hans Grugger, who led until Rahlves’ run, finished third at 1:13.71. Quite a day for the US Ski Team! Other overall cup favorites Benny Raich and Hermann Maier finished 17th and 18th respectively.
11/29/05 Finally have our facts straight on the snowstorms that pounded the USA’s two premier concentrations of ski areas. Here it is: Aspen, Buttermilk, Snowmass, & Aspen Highlands were buried over the weekend. Huge. Not to be out-done, Utah reports major dumpings: Alta, also known as the best ski area in the universe, received 32″. Brighton Resort got 29″. The Canyons, Snowbird & Solitude each report that two feet of white stuff fell. Park City Mountain Resort reports 16″, and Snowbasin states 11″. cOWAbunGA! (Sorry, lost our heads for a minute there)…Ready to report some news from the southwest, we’ve overlooked that region thus far. Taos which is the second best ski area in the universe, is open on three of its easier runs. Although they don’t have much, conditions are great and prices are cheap…Arizona Snow Bowl has almost a foot of snow, but not enough coverage to open. No opening date as of yet.
11/28/05 Back with plenty of news after the Thanksgiving holiday…more terrain in California, as Wrightwood’s Mountain High opens today, and we should mention that Boreal in Donner Summit opened over the weekend…in the northeast, the weekend in New York saw Gore & Whiteface open in the Adirondacks, Windham joined the open areas in the Catskills, and Holiday Valley was the first to crank in the western part of the Empire State…Mount Snow and Jay Peak are open, serving as “bookends” at the south and north ends of Vermont…Attitash joined the fray in NH, and Wildcat re-opened, but nothing at all like the ‘cat had back in October…Wildcat had first to open honors in the east, but when all is said and done, Killington gets the nod again for best early season; lifts cranking on Snowshed, Snowdon, Rams Head, the Canyon, the Glades, Skye Peak and Killington Peak, with 60 some trails open on Thanksgiving. You gotta give credit where credit is due…southern skiing is getting into the swing nicely; Wintergreen in VA is cranking, and Intrawest’s Snowshoe in WV has quite a bit of territory open.
11/22/05 Utah is officially open for business, Solitude and ASC’s sprawling The Canyons cranked ’em up yesterday. Word has it that venerable Park City and Little Cottonwood’s Snowbird will follow today or tomorrow…confirmation from Michigan, both Boyne resorts are now confirmed for Friday opening.
11/21/05 Ski Brule is open in a big way on Michigan’s upper peninsula, winning the “first to open” in the Midwest — as they usually do….Minnesota’s Lutsen deserves kudos, they’ve got a single run going…The most impressive early opening news continues to come from south of the Mason Dixon Line! Not because they have the most, nor the best, but simply for the fact that a few ski areas are cranking in the Carolinas while the northeast is mostly about raking leaves…Sugar Mt NC is skiing on three of its runs, and Beech, NC is skiing on five! WV’s Snowshoe is pointing to the 23rd, while VA’s Wintergreen is hoping for the 26th after firing up the snowguns this past weekend…Crested Butte CO, Tremblant PQ, and Waterville NH all opened this weekend…other NH areas started cranking the white stuff, most notably Attitash and Sunapee….Speaking of Crested Butte and Sunapee, the picture improved at sister resort Okemo, which is now top-to-bottom on a dozen trails….more VT: Mount Snow is firing its namesake product, and has pushed opening back yet again, this time calling for a Turkey Day opening…back to the midwest, Boyne is slated to roll on November 24th.
11/18/05 Lots of stuff opening in the east today, most notable are Okemo, which for one day will be the only ski area operating in Vermont. Also Woodbury Connecticut…first of the smaller ski areas…but most impressive of all is North Carolina’s Cataloochee, which opened yesterday! Major congratulations to Cataloochee…if they stay open for the season, they’ll beat Killington for opening and staying open! Speaking of which, K-Mart opens tomorrow. A couple others in VT and ME are supposed to open tomorrow (Saturday)….important to note that ski season kicks off in New York State tomorrow as well…Belleayre and Hunter will crank the lifts.
11/16/05 Southern Colorado’s Crested Butte cranks the lifts on Saturday, along with Montana’s Big Mountain. Both have received excellent natural snow recently.
11/14/05 Montana’s Big Sky opened yesterday….Two more major ski areas — opposite ends of the country — have announced Saturday 11/19 openings: American Skiing Company’s Sugarloaf in Maine, and Bachelor in Oregon. Bachelor has some sort of snow almost year round, and this year’s weather pattern has been fantastic for the Pac NW. Sugarloaf, for its part, has retained a few inches of natural snow and blasted the mountain nicely to create a mid-winter appearance from below….Rumor is that ASC’s Sunday River is also trying to open Saturday….Despite wildly fluctuating temperatures this weekend, Okemo is claiming that it will open this weekend…Skiers in the mid-atlantic states are buzzing about the big off season expansion at Wisp. The Maryland resort is planning to create more buzz with a 50th Anniversary lift ticket price of $7 for one day in early December.
11/12/05 News from Summit County as Breckenridge and Keystone opened yesterday. Vail and California sister resort Heavenly are slated for Friday, November 18. First in Oregon (after Timberline, of course) to crank the lifts was Mt. Hood Meadows, which opened yestereday.
11/11/05 Cold weather in the northeast has brought out the big guns from remote Sugarloaf all the way down to the nearly urban Hunter. Other areas blowing snow are Sugarbush, Stratton, and Okemo, to name a few. Windham tested the guns last night, but didn’t commit the way Hunter has. The biggest news out of the northeast has to be Bretton Woods, reporting that they will open tomorrow morning 11/12/05 with lifts turning by 10:00 am, with nordic operations open as well.
11/10/05 California’s Mammoth Mountain opens today. Another recent opener, Washington’s Mt. Baker which — combined with early reports from Crystal — confirms that the best early skiing this season is positively in the Pacific northwest. News out of the northeast is that the snowguns are firing on all cylinders on the upper slopes of Sugarbush. Speaking of the east, wire service reports and other ski-oriented websites are reporting that Killington plans to re-open this weekend. Our sources say it ain’t gonna happen. A shame…one year ago this very weekend, K-Mart had outstanding conditions. Then of course the season sputtered for two months in the northeast. Not much to report from the midwest, although we do see a dusting of snow lingering in the shadowed sections of Ski Brule.
11/07/05 Crystal Mountain in Washington is the early season terrain leader, with virtually all on-piste trails open. Good news for a ski area that was in the throes of drought last season. Reminiscent of Arizona’s Snow Bowl, which rebounded with mucho snow last season after a dreadful drought the year prior. At one point last season, Crystal Mountain had to close (Jan or Feb, not sure) for lack of snow. Good news also from Arapahoe Basin, where the Lenawee lift was cranked up yesterday. That means top to bottom skiing at A-Basin.
11/03/05 This just in….nothing open in the east this weekend, as Big K announced that the recent warm spell has made reopening rather impractical at this point.
11/03/05 Loon Mountain has announced plans to expand the ski area with additional lifts and new trails, along with a 300 or so acre resort expansion at the base.
11/02/05 Good news from the north as Whistler-Blackcomb has announced an earlier-than-planned opening; lifts are turning now according to reports. Meanwhile the hubbub has died out a bit in the east; Wildcat and Killington shut down the lifts after Sunday. Good move; no sense losing money. Here’s what we know: K-Mart had a bunch of stuff open; Great Northern of course, plus the Glades chair (or whatever they call it now) and the usual suspects on Snowdon. Wildcat had over half of its terrain open, and even dropped the ropes on some of the trails that run down along the creek beds. Some of the popular stuff got scraped, but if you went to the ungroomed areas, it was a giant powder pillow. Now the only drawback was that the Cat just had the old triple running. If you know the mountain, it’s the northern most lift (on the left, as you look at the mountain). Normally that lift doesn’t see a lot of action, and the weekend load caused it to burn out before the end of Sunday. Cat management gave a return voucher to anyone who asked, but we’re told that a lot of the crowd didn’t — their way of saying “thank you.” I expect to see a few of these vouchers pop up on ebay, and I urge Skiernet.com readers to support this timeless ski area by not using this particular unearned discount. Wildcat gave these people most of a day for $39.
11/01/05 Vermont biggie Okemo has pushed opening day back to November 12 due to the unusually warm weather following last week’s snow. Good news from the Banana Belt, where Maryland stalwart Wisp has announced that the North Slope (is it north face? It’s north something…) project is complete and will be cranking this winter. It is probably the most significant expansion of any ski area for the pending season…half a dozen new trails (they say ten), two new quads, and a whole new look to the trail map. Wisp may not have tons of vertical, but this move has arguably put them in second place for terrain variety and “wanderer appeal” for resorts south of the Mason-Dixon Line. (WV’s Snowshoe has top honors for sure.)
10/28/05 Not about to sit idly by and let Wildcat steal their usual first-to-open honors for the east, Killington has announced that lifts will turn on Saturday and Sunday. Sorry to say it, K-Mart, but Wildcat grabbed all the thunder this year.
10/27/05 And it’s official: New Hampshire’s Wildcat will take honors for 1st in the east to open for the 2005/2006 season. The Cat will definitely open tomorrow – Friday, 10/28…here’s the report…This is it, folks! With about 4 feet of snow this week, Wildcat is opening Friday through Sunday — so come on up! It’s other worldly with the leaves & fall colors and so much SNOW! Look for the Mid & Lower Lynx trails to open first, then the Polecat Trails for Friday & more Sat. No lift-served beginner terrain available. Tomcat Lift only. Fri – lift open 10am -3:30pm, Sat.& Sun. 9am-3:30pm. Adults & Teens, $30; Jr./Sr. $25. And of course, your next day is only $25! As always! At least 16″ of new snow at the base of the Cat from Tuesday’s storm — up to 36″+ higher up — which puts you on about 4 feet (conservatively) of new snow this week!!! It’s a Winter Wonderland & it’s hard to imagine until you get around the final bend in the Notch!
10/26/05 We have reported first tracks from all over the northeast; yesterday’s storm had skiers plying the slopes and Cannon and Sugarbush for sure, with apparently the biggest contingency at Wildcat. Moving south a bit, Windham had snow covering the hill, while Pennsy’s Elk Mountain had snow about halfway up. Wackiest, most unexpected news out of all this comes from south of the Mason-Dixon line, where Maryland’s Ski Wisp got dumped on…you need a ruler a foot long to measure it…and a boarder made some turns at Wisp as well.
10/25/05 A foot of snow fell at Killington over the weekend, but ground temps still trying to cool down from record warm days. 4″ to 8″ in the Adirondacks, 6″ at Bolton Valley, even a dusting at southerly Belleayre over the weekend. Won’t be long now…still looking to Okemo to be the first to crank in the east. While we’re on the subject of the east coast, big news out of New York State is that an agreement has been reached by Snow Time, Inc., to sell Ski Windham to a trio of local investors. Snow Time presently owns Windham along with Ski Roundtop, Liberty Mountain Resort and Whitetail Mountain Resorts in Pennsylvania.
10/24/05 Arapahoe Basin opened today, cover not quite as nice as Loveland, but let’s not be fussy. Kudos to both ski areas for being open first and open early. In the age of the mega-resort-golf-ski-condoplex, we’re doubly glad to see pure ski/board operations beating the big boys to the punch. I don’t make it to Loveland often, but I’m always baffled that so many people drive through the tunnel…passing a great ski area by.
10/19/05 Season preview news from the midwest…Illinois’ Ski Snowstar has made some outstanding gains in the snowmaking department over the off season, adding more output, more guns, and an improved water supply. Iowa’s Seven Oaks Recreation has expanded the base lodge, and a new look makes it more of a lodgy type lodge. At Sundown Mountain a new trail has been added — hooray! — and some more features and improvements in the terrain park.
10/18/05 Arapahoe Basin still points to October 21, but recent peeks at the peaks don’t give us a warm fuzzy. Looks like Loveland will be the place to be for a little while anyway. You know, you could do a lot worse than skiing at Loveland…and when you factor everything in, it’s difficult to think of a place where you could do much better.
10/14/05 Loveland Ski Area takes the honors, open for the season with beautiful white stuff here there and everywhere.
10/11/05 Snow falling in buckets over parts of Colorado yesterday, some NWS observers reporting 19″ at Breckenridge. Live cams at Ski Loveland appear to show about 10″ at the base areas.
We’ve recently updated the Indemnified Bindings List.
10/05/05 Intrawest Corp. (Whistler/Copper/Stratton/Mt Creek) has sold Mammoth Mountain to the Starwood Group, a resort operator. The sale includes June Mountain and other recreation operations at Mammoth.
10/04/05 Snow fell today for the first time this season in Little Cottonwood Canyon, UT. A nice dusting on parts of Alta.
10/04/05 2005-2006 Pennsylvania Preview: Snowmaking improvements and/or additional grooming equipment added at Blue Knob, Camelback, Shawnee, Roundtop, & Liberty. Terrain Parks have been upgraded/expanded at Blue Mountain, Camelback, & Shawnee. Upgraded lighting at Liberty. New or improved rental fleets at Camelback, Liberty Mountain, Shawnee Mountain, Ski Roundtop & Whitetail Mountain. The only new lifts we know of are a couple of magic carpets at Bear Creek.
9/28/05 Don’t know how this slipped past us, but on Monday Arapahoe Basin turned 11 snow guns loose on one of the runs from mid-station to base. Reports are the Lenawee Face is next…look to A-Basin to be first in Colorado with top-to-bottom skiing this season. And it’ll be soon, by the looks of things.
9/28/05 Northeast News round-up, heading into the season…Bromley VT has a new, $25 price for midweek lift tickets. That’s midweek only, so remember to ski carefully. If you told the boss on Wednesday that you have the flu, then show up Friday with your leg in a cast, it might not be a good career move…Marquee Pocono resort Camelback has been sold, we’re told a local businessman bought it…Popular Catskill area Ski Windham has added new lifts and a new trail…
9/28/05 2005-2006 Michigan Preview: Snowmaking improvements and/or additional grooming equipment added at Alpine Valley, Cannonsburg Ski Area, Crystal Mountain, Nub’s Nob, Pine Knob, Shanty Creek, and Ski Brule…Terrain Parks have been upgraded/expanded at Big Powderhorn Mountain, Boyne Highlands, Boyne Mountain, Caberfae Peaks, Mt. Brighton, Mt. Holly, Pine Knob, Treetops Resort and Shanty Creek. Trails have been added at Big Powderhorn and Crystal Mountain, while additional gladed runs and “back country” trails will be found at Marquette, Nub’s Nob, & Bohemia No surprise that Bohemia added runs, although we imagine they’ve already been skied. Just two new lifts that we know of; Bittersweet & Mt. Holly installed new conveyor carpets. Both now have two magic carpets. Many resorts announced expanded lodges, improved access, new rental facilities, etc.
In past years, Ski Brule has been king of the Midwest in terms of first to open/last to close. We expect the same this year…although we recall a time when Killington was quite smug about those honors in the east, until they were upstaged by a small operator in Connecticut who blew snow amidst a freak, localized storm in early October. So you never know…
9/27/05 Hey ho! Whooo hoo! The snow cannons were fired up today in Colorado at Loveland. Best news I’ve heard in months.
4/21/05 Vermont’s Bolton Valley is definitely on the upswing after troubling times a few years ago. The town of Bolton received a $650,000 tourism-type grant, and is wisely loaning it to the local ski hill at favorable rates. Construction on a new lift and related trail work is expected to begin in July 2005, and to be complete for the 2005-06 season. This initial two-year effort, called the Vista Bowl Project, will include a new, top-to-bottom Doppelmayr quad chairlift, new trails, additional snowmaking, additional lighting for night skiing, improved beginner teaching area with Magic Carpet lift, and general base area improvements. Good news for the community!
4/15/05 Happy Tax Day. Whoo ha. Anyway, this weekend is the official end for a few holdouts. Here’s how it shapes up around the country, going from East to West…
Maine’s Sunday River plans to hold out until May 1, with free skiing that day. New Hampshire has Bretton Woods reporting 40% of its trails open, which is great considering how late the snow started falling on the west side of the Presidential Range. On the east side, Wildcat has almost every trail open, and it’s a steal at $30 per ticket. Vermont leads the east with Jay Peak, Stowe and Killington.
Surprise from Southern New England: Mass’ Jiminy Peak has decent spring skiing and will be open through the weekend. In New York’s Catskills, Belleayre is holding out through the weekend, although they could go longer if they had to. Hard to believe you can find skiing 2½ hrs from midtown New York City this late in the game.
In the Midwest, Minnesota biggie Lutsen will re-open this weekend, then call it quits. Michigan’s Ski Brule has been open, although just on one run.
In the Rockies, all the usual suspects have plenty of game left. A-Basin, Winter Park, Breck, Cooper, Steamboat, etc. are all firing on high. In Canyon Country, Alta leads a pack of areas with awesome conditions. California, of course, is still buried in snow.
The real surprise is in the Southwest. Arizona Snow Bowl in Flagstaff is still skiing on a SIX FOOT settled base. Tickets are so cheap it’s like stealing. If you’re gonna go, do it this weekend, because the Snow Bowl closes Sunday. Thanks for a great season, Snow Bowl!!
3/31/05 Looking for an outstanding late season run in most of the USA. Alta posted 14″ of snow yesterday, Mammoth got dumped on, even Arizona Snowbowl added another inch to its incredible depth. Things look good in Colorado as well. The Upper Midwest and the Northeast look fine; New York’s Belleayre should hold well into mid-month. Elk, Mountain Creek and a few others are looking at a final weekend April 2-3. Sunday River added 4″ of snow yesterday, should be a contender for latest-season honors usually grabbed by Killington. Rumor has it that Stowe plans to keep something open quite late…we’re thinking Jay might surprise us this year…don’t expect a repeat of last year from Bretton Woods; snowfall on the west side of the Presidential Range didn’t match the 03-04 season.
3/31/05 More news out of New England…American Skiing Co., has filed an 8-K with the SEC that says, in part: Mount Snow Ltd. (Mount Snow), entered into a Purchase and Sale Agreement for the sale of the assets of Mount Snow comprising the Haystack ski resort to Tyringham Ridge, Inc. (Buyer). The Purchase and Sale Agreement provides for a $5,000,000 purchase price, subject to certain customary adjustments. The Purchase and Sale Agreement includes a two year right of first refusal in favor of the Buyer for certain developmental land owned by Mount Snow (but not used in its ski resort operations) known as the Howe Farm. Under the terms of the Purchase and Sale Agreement, Mount Snow will continue to be allowed to withdraw water from sources at the Haystack resort after the closing in amounts which approximate Mount Snow’s historical use from this source. In addition, Mount Snow will retain a right of first refusal to re-acquire the Haystack resort (not including certain developmental real estate assets) for not less than twenty years following the closing. The closing on the sale of the Haystack resort is subject to the Buyer’s completion of a 90 day due diligence period as well as satisfaction of customary contingencies. Net proceeds to the Company from the sale of the Haystack resort are expected to be used for additional liquidity, to fund capital expenditures and reduce senior debt, each as permitted under the Company’s senior credit facilities.
3/21/05 We’re officially in “end of season” territory in some parts of the country, and I guess my only comment is “better late than never.” While we’ve enjoyed the snow being dumped (seemingly everywhere but the Pacific Northwest), I think we can all agree that we could’ve used this stuff in December!? New York metro area skiers will note that the weekend rains spell the beginning of the end. I expect we’ll be seeing quite a few tying in trips to Easter weekend, and grabbing some powder in Summit County, Tahoe, and Utah’s canyons. Some great skiing still to be found in New England and the Upper Midwest. The late season snows have even helped the bigger areas in the southeast; Wintergreen VA is still firing on all cylinders. The only sizable area outside of the Pacific Northwest that is winding down thus far is Mountain Creek, NJ which closed a third of its slopes yesterday, but plans to keep the lifts cranking right into April.
3/2/05 We’ll let this one speak for itself:
Maryland teen charged with manslaughter in fatal snowboard collision . By The Associated Press . JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — A Maryland teenager was charged with manslaughter after a fatal collision with a skier at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
Authorities would not release the name or hometown of the 16-year-old snowboarder, who also was charged Friday with reckless endangering. Teton County Sheriff’s Sgt. Lloyd Funk said the county attorney would decide whether the teen should be tried as a juvenile or an adult. The manslaughter charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
According to witnesses, Heather Donahue, 28, of Shrewsbury, Mass., was skiing slowly on an intermediate slope on Thursday when the boy collided with her. Witnesses said the boy was going very fast and had ample room to turn, but didn’t do so.
Donahue was airlifted to an Idaho Falls, Idaho, hospital, where she died Friday, apparently from head injuries.
The boy, who was wearing a helmet and had only minor injuries, was released to an adult friend of the family, and has since returned to his family in Maryland.
2/23/05 The Pacific Northwest season is officially a disaster. In Oregon, a couple of the Mt Hood ski areas are working on less than 12″ of base. Venerable Timberline has about half of its runs open. In Washington, Snoqualmie has only West open, skiing on about 10″ where they normally have well over 100″. We shudder to say it, but throughout the Pac NW it’s likely that a few of the marginal areas simply won’t make it…too many heading south to California’s incredible season. We can’t blame them, really, but there will be some closings if the cash doesn’t stay closer to home. The picture has improved tremendously in the northeast. If nighttime temperatures stay low, look for a couple of resorts to stay open well into April. There are a lot of great runs available this week, but one of the most notable and worth seeking out is the Lost Bo trail from the summit on NH’s modest Black Mountain. This is one of those classic New England double black diamonds with no snowmaking, and is seldom open. Not many skiers can negotiate this trail without looking somewhat troubled.
2/11/05 Kudos to the Herminator, Hermann Maier, garnering gold in the World Championship Giant Slalom. His wins are becoming few and far between…it’s no secret that he’s well past his prime…but ski fans around the globe agree that it’s awesome to see this guy reach down and pull off a gold. Many more, Herminator! News from New Hampshire is finally good. Finally. Yes, southern New Hampshire’s season has been uncharacteristically outstanding, but the big peaks in the Whites have been more or less miserable…until now. Cannon and Wildcat both report 22″ and counting. Attitash slightly less, but nevertheless plans to be 100% open this weekend for the first time this season. Neighboring Vermont is reporting equally good news, 10″ or more at Mount Snow, almost two feet at Killington. Why couldn’t this have happened on December 11 instead of February?
2/1/05 Things are better all over — except perhaps the Pacific Northwest. The east has been bombed, and many resorts up and down the Appalachians are at 100%, including Wintergreen, Elk, Windham, Bromley to give you an idea how widespread the great ski weather has been. Even the front rangers in Colorado are getting some much needed snow; a lot felt as if January was too much, too soon, and then it all shut off. The good news continues in the southwest, where places like Arizona Snow Bowl are reporting dumps by the foot.
Should we be complaining? Yes and no. Yes, because winter is too brief and the ski season is short enough without the added problem of mild weather. But really, we have nothing to complain about; a look at the Winter Special Olympics held yesterday and today at Mountain Creek in New Jersey puts it all in perspective. This is truly the joy of skiing. I pick on Intrawest a lot because of the way they cater to the moronic, ill-mannered, unsafe, uncouth snowboarders, but they truly deserve kudos for the outstanding job they do hosting this event.
1/20/05 The current cold spell is spelling relief to the beleaguered eastern ski industry; the roar of firing snowguns can be heard in virtually every ski community up and down the east. It’s about time, since the picture remains quite spotty. Venerable Vermont favorites Bromley & Killington have only about half their terrain open, same deal at New Hampshire’s Cannon & Bretton Woods. In Vermont, Jay Peak & Stowe have a lot more percentage-wise, but still aren’t 100%. Okemo has the biggest mostest in New England right now. The picture is improving through the New York metro area; Windham and the rest of the Catskill crew are all around the 90% mark, along with Pennsy’s Elk, which has arguably the best snow in the east right now. In the south, Wintergreen is at 8 runs and growing, but it’s not enough terrain for the masses. Head to Snowshoe if you can make the journey. Central states continue to look great. Boyne & Crystal report 100% open, typical for most Michigan areas right now. California, Arizona, New Mexico, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana…everything is fabulous right now. Colorado is having an excellent but not legendary year; none of the Summit County resorts have every last inch of terrain open.
1/11/05 California is the place to be, obviously. The real sleeper is the two biggies in the southwest, Taos and Flagstaff’s Arizona Snow Bowl continue to receive regular snowfalls. The picture is very nice in Colorado, Loveland is open up to the Continental Divide — when winds allow. Others like Breckenridge and Copper are in 85-95 percent open territory. Western favorites Alta and Sun Valley are at 100%, and The Canyons is getting close. Moving into the midwest, the picture is fantastic. Hey New Yorkers, can’t afford Colorado? The best conditions you’ll find close to home are at Brule, Boyne, Whitecap etc. Turning south, Snowshoe is holding on, but the picture at Wintergreen and elsewhere is pretty bleak. It’s no better in the Big Apple banana belt…Mountain Creek is offering a mix of porcelain ice with haphazard mounds of unskiable snowcone crud. The Poconos — even reliable Elk further north — are struggling to provide enough trails for the number of bodies. Belleayre and Windham have good conditions, but the irregular temperatures are keeping trail counts down. As for New England, mainstays like Okemo, Attitash and Wildcat are offering decent but certainly not memorable skiing. But it’s not all glum faces in New England. Oddly enough, some of the southern New Hampshire areas like Crotched and Pat’s Peak have received a foot of snow during the past week, and are 100% open with incredible conditions. We’ll see if the forecasted warm front wreaks havoc with the slopes in the east.
1/03/05 Alright, the season is officially in the doldrums for much of the east. New Hampshire stalwart Bretton Woods seems to be on the wrong side of the Presidential Range this year; Attitash and Wildcat continue to receive daily dustings, while the ground is bare but for the man-made stuff at Bretton. At the Mt. Washington Hotel across the street, the golf course is better suited to golf than XC skiing! The story isn’t any better throughout much of the east, although Killington and Okemo seem to be holding up well. Biggies Mountain Creek in NJ, Elk in Pennsy, and Wintergreen in Virginia have only a fraction of their normally-open terrain available. In the Midwest, on the other hand, places like Wisconsin’s Whitecap are operating at 100%. Heading west? Look for Utah to be better than Colorado thus far. Front range biggie Breckenridge is not yet fully open, while Utah favorite Alta is running on all cylinders.
12/16/04 Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about! Outstanding news for the eastern skier who might’ve been a little down in the dumps…Wintergreen drops the ropes tomorrow, Mountain Creek and venerable Elk will follow on Saturday. Locations like Windham and Attitash will be doubling their available terrain, while southern VT favorite Mount Snow will be opening both Sunbrook and Carinthia on Saturday…and the forecast keeps looking better and better! Midwest is also looking fantastic…Ski Brule plans to be 100% open on Saturday. In Minnesota, Buena Vista is about 50% open, while biggie Lutsen is skiing on a foot of new powder on three of its peaks. Let’s hear a whoo-hoo!
12/14/04 Winter has finally arrived across the USA…6″ of new snow at most Michigan resorts, California looks good, and the rain has finally been replaced by snow in Vermont. With cumulative snows of a foot or more, Killington jumped from 32 open trails to 90 in just two days. In the south, Wintergreen is blowing the white stuff on both Dobies, Eagles Swoop and the Potato Patch and should be open by the weekend.
12/13/04 “Interesting” continues to be a keyword for Intrawest. The mega-operator has new terrain park policies at at least two resorts: Stratton requires huckers and scratchers to watch a brief safety video to obtain a free pass to enter the terrain park. Mountain Creek, on the other hand, has gated the entire Great Northern/Kyber Pass area off and is requiring a special $5 permit (good for the season) to enter. While this all sounds good, the general consensus among northeast skiers is that it will backfire on all cylinders. A few comments we’ve heard: “The fact that they are “training” people will likely increase their exposure to lawsuits.” and “The kids will be too cheap to spend the five bucks, so they’ll be crawling all over the mountain” and “Creek has three or four routes off the Vernon summit, and now they’ve effectively shut one down.” Another skier asked “How much terrain are they closing off? Is it still worth buying a pass?” If this is successful, watch for a bunch of other resorts to restrict access to terrain…and we imagine the day will soon come when marquee routes will require a special “extra” fee.
11/24/04 Northeast looks dismal, but the news is great on the opposite end of the country; Taos is running three lifts. Another southwest classic, Arizona Snowbowl plans to open November 26th with 100% skiable terrain. I’m thinking the Flagstaff favorite will be the first large ski area in the country to open 100% this season…not sure…but it is outstanding news, considering that it was the last major ski area to open last season!
11/23/04 Four biggies added to the open ranks over the past few days; Vail and Heavenly in the west; Whiteface and Sugarloaf in the east. Although the weather in the east remains dismally warm, New York’s Windham, Hunter and Belleayre remain open with something resembling skiing. The southeast still looks downright balmy, highs at Snowshoe today around 62°. Hardly snowmaking weather, but they do hold out hope for opening this weekend if the forecasted cold moves in. Wintergreen is a little more realistic, turning their sights to December 3.
11/15/04 If you visit this page from time to time, you know full well that ski areas are opening like crazy in the west, and a number turned the lifts this past weekend in the east. But we’ve failed to mention two key openings in the midwest: Michigan’s Ski Brule opened for the weekend, closed today, will reopen on the 19th. Earliest opening in the central states goes to Minnesota’s Wild Mountain, which cranked up a rope tow on the 11th. They’ve been adding steadily since. The last area to report on is Dixie. Snowshoe, the southern giant, has been blowing snow for three nights now. Their efforts are quite impressive, considering the amount of daily meltoff and ground that is not yet frozen. DC area biggie Wintergreen hasn’t been able to crank the guns yet, but looks for a November 29 opening just the same. Wintergreen has modified the terrain a bit in the Highlands area, and has added a high speed quad to that section.
11/11/04 Eastern ski news…Killington is enjoying one of their finest opening weeks ever, skiing a dozen trails on three lifts. Okemo looks for opening tomorrow, with perhaps a half dozen trails. In New York State, late season winner Belleayre plans to open two runs on Saturday 13th, with Windham just maybe following suit on Sunday.
11/8/04 Colorado’s Copper Mountain opened this weekend with 2,000′ of vertical. Utah’s Snowbird also did an unexpected opening for the weekend…a test run, perhaps? Snowbird closed today, and will remain so for the next couple days; stated reason is employee training. The Big Bird reopens on the 12th, looking for an awesome season. In the east, the guns at Mount Snow were turned on this morning. Update: Killington is slated to open tomorrow, not today as originally planned.
11/4/04 Eastern skiers, take heart: Word is in that the Beast of the East will again take opening honors; Killington is calling for a Monday, Nov 8 opening. The Big K may get some rain between now and then, but they may also get some natural white stuff. Regardless, their crew will have something skiable next week. Nearby Okemo plans to follow suit on Friday the 12th. Meanwhile, New Yorkers are encouraged by Windham’s tentative opening day of November 19.
11/3/04 Maybe the networks couldn’t decide who won the election, but Killington had no trouble deciding to fire up the snow guns this morning!
10/28/04 Can you say SNOW?! California: Mammoth opened Oct. 21 with top-to-bottom skiing and riding on a 60″ base; Boreal opened on three feet. Kirkwood followed three days later, their earliest ever. Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Mountain High, Sierra-at-Tahoe and Tahoe Donner ALL plan to open this weekend!! But that’s not all…Wolf Creek Colorado and Brighton Utah also plan to crank up this weekend. Western skiers are jumping for joy, and let’s hope it sticks. New Englanders remember all too well how all that fantastic snow the first two weeks of December last year turned to crap with the Christmas rains. Attention New York City area skiers: Your best shot at bargain equipment was two weeks ago at Mt. Tom‘s (Warwick NY) annual ski swap. BUT in case you missed it, Hidden Valley in Vernon NJ has theirs scheduled for this weekend; drop-off Oct 29 and sales on Oct 30 & 31.
10/20/04 Mucho News to Report….Update…Pennsylvania’s Laurel Mountain has been saved! The state-owned property will be run by Seven Springs for the 2004-2005 season. Loveland Pass opened October 15th. Other Colorado resorts as follows: A-Basin is looking at Oct. 22, Copper says Nov. 5, Keystone calling for Nov. 10. All is not lost in the east; Killington had a dusting in the canyon on October 18th.
9/10/04 [update added above on 10/20/04]According to a report from SamInfo.com, we have to conclude sadly that Pennsylvania’s Laurel Mountain will officially achieve “Lost Ski Area” status for the second time on September 17th when creditors auction off snow grooming and snowmaking equipment. Laurel had been “lost” for about a decade prior to reopening in 1999, but never really gained any momentum. It’s a shame to lose any ski area, let alone a 900′ vertical located so close to so many people in western PA and eastern OH. I’ll say it again and again, for every half dozen days at a big resort, spend a day at a small local hill. These areas need our support.
9/9/04 Hold the phone, call off the dogs, stop the presses! The 2004-2005 season is indeed upon us, as SW Colorado’s Silverton opened on September 4th. This single-lift resort may not exactly count, as it is limited to 80 skiers/day, guided-group skiing only. But it will be open to general skiing within a year or less, so I suppose we’ll count it. Hey, at the end of the day last Saturday, a bunch of people rode a chairlift to the top of a mountain and skied down. So there you have it; the season is officially upon us. Yes, we realize Timberline had operations just a few days earlier, but that was the official end to last season.
9/8/04 The 2004-2005 ski season is just 10 days away, as Timberline has announced September 18th to re-open the Palmer Express. Time to find the file and the waxing iron…and to start getting in shape!
8/21/04 Comerica Bank officials have initiated foreclosure proceedings against several of Michigan’s Shanty Creek/Schuss Mountain Resort properties, accusing the resort’s owners of defaulting on a $20.35 million mortgage. Resort owners say the foreclosure “does not change operations or ownership of the resort.” Comerica’s public notice of foreclosure states affected properties are set for sale to the highest bidder at public auction Sept. 24. A resort spokesman said Shanty Creek ownership is seeking to reorganize its debt. A Comerica spokesman declined further comment.
5/12/04 Lift-served skiing finally slushed to a halt in the east yesterday (5/11/04) as the final hotshots banged down Superstar for the final time at Killington. No surprise there, but some surprise that Bretton Woods came close to challenging the Big K for the eastern title, finally shutting down on May 9th. Unlike Killington, the late spring stuff at BW was concentrated on kinder, gentler slopes without the monster moguls. For the hard-core and crazy, Tuckerman Ravine still has trace routes as of Tuesday, but the season is more or less over. Western slopes still going strong at Mammoth, A-Basin, Timberline and a few other limited operations in the Cascades.
5/3/04 In the east, Sunday River closed after Saturday’s free “ski Maynia” day. Killington is still open, and — surprise — Bretton Woods has two novice trails open! BW reports that some walking is required; tickets are repriced at $10/kids and $20/adults. Overall, the season in the east was off a bit; fewer skiers, fewer days, but still a decent year for many resorts. In the west, A-Basin, Mammoth & Timberline are still providing some awesome skiing.
4/13/04 The majority of the U.S. ski resorts are now officially closed for the season, many of them a week or two earlier than usual. A couple of notes: Sunday River in Maine is offering a May-mania special (or some such thing) which translates to free skiing on May 1st. Elsewhere in the east, the following are still open: Belleayre, Bretton Woods, Jay Peak, Stowe, Wildcat and of course, Killington. In the midwest, Lutsen is hanging in, and Brule even made snow yesterday. The west is still swinging at Alta, Mammoth, Vail and if you even had to ask, Timberline Lodge. Yes, it is mid April, but you still have a few choices before it’s all over but for the glaciers.
3/22/04 If you Easterners didn’t ski this past weekend you ought to have your heads examined. Excellent conditions on Saturday, back to winter on Sunday. Stowe has all 48 open. Stratton has 88 of 90 open, and Okemo has 105 of their 113 open. In New York, Windham is 100% open. And I can tell you that as of yesterday (Sunday) and today it can hardly be called “Spring” skiing…much more like winter out there. From the Poconos southward it’s starting to get a little crummy, but even the Catskills received constant cold, blowing snow yesterday. Personally spent yesterday at Belleayre and can tell you it was a lot more like early January than late March. The snow was the cold, dry sort — not spring wet stuff. And because it’s March, the roads were warm and stayed clear…how can you beat that? Let’s hope this reprieve from spring skiing holds for one more weekend!
3/16/04 News from New York State; Gore Mt has received the go-ahead from the State to expand…build more lodging units, connect with nearby Little Gore. If all goes according to plan, this mega-resort will rival Killington for sheer size. In other news, land including the defunct Big Tupper ski area has been sold to a group of Philly investors. Word has it that skiing will return as part of a four-seasons resortplex. Colorado’s Sol Vista to be renamed Granby Ranch; this is unconfirmed.
3/5/04 Yuck. Head north. Last weekend for the old Great Gorge section at Mountain Creek. The snow/muck at Ski Windham looks good, but we don’t know how much longer it will be around. Belleayre and a few others in the Catskills are hanging on. Head north. I don’t like spring.
2/23/04 Lousy news in the mid-Atlantic, where the stuff on the slopes in the Poconos, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and on down has turned into chum. What happened to winter? Fortunately you won’t have to drive too far this coming weekend to find some good stuff — snow has dumped throughout New England, and the temps should keep it there. Maybe we’re looking ahead to the last really good ski weekend of the season? Let’s hope there’s a few more. Your secret weapon, if you can’t make the drive to New England, is to opt for anywhere that caught a few inches over the weekend…Windham, Belleayre, Plattekill, Bobcat in New York come to mind, and our favorite in Pennsy, Elk Mt is well north of the Poconos and got hit with a solid 3″ yesterday. When in doubt, head north…or to the Midwest…For example, Boyne was just blanketed with half a foot, and the conditions at Ski Brule (5″ overnight) are nothing less than fantastic.
2/18/04 Good news from the southwest, as Flagstaff’s fantastic Arizona Snowbowl is finally going to get snowmaking. The USFS has done the requisite studies and given the green light. This ski area is one of the best kept secrets in the country. Moving to the northeast, those of you planning a few weekends might want to check out American Skiing Co’s end of season promotion, in which $229. puts you on the lifts at Killington, Mount Snow, Attitash, Sunday River and Sugarloaf. Assuming you plan to ski any one of these a few more times, this is a great deal. In the mid-Atlantic, temps are warming a bit these days, but everybody who’s anybody is still reporting 100% open, including biggies Elk, Mountain Creek, Wintergreen, etc.
2/9/04 Looking at the upper midwest, things look fine and dandy. Michigan monster Bohemia and many others from the snow belt are reporting 100% open…although in Bohemia’s case, it’s probably more than 100%! Just in time for Valentine’s, President’s Day, etc. snow has been DUMPED on VT/NH, biggies Mount Snow and Attitash are both at 100% open, including glades. NH stalwarts Cannon, Wildcat and Black are at 80-90% open. Things have looked bleak lately from our offices in the New York metro area, but if you head north you’ll be in good shape.
2/5/04 Some of the fallout from the snowfall…Vermont monster Okemo is now open 113 of 113 trails. Mount Snow has lifted the ropes from a number of trails, including favorites Big Dipper and Little Dipper on Sunbrook, and expects to be 100% open this weekend. In New Hampshire, Attitash was able to open a lot more terrain, and should be close to 100% by the President’s Day holiday week. A few of the northeast monsters, Hunter, Stratton, Killington, Jay etc. are running at about 95-98% open…but with all the trails each of those has, that little bit is hardly noticed. Good news from the southwest, Flagstaff’s Arizona Snowbowl got a 14″ dump and now has all but a handful open. In the mid-Atlantic, where rain fell Tuesday, banana belt biggies Wintergreen (VA) and Mountain Creek (NJ) are still strong with 100% of trails open.
2/4/04 While the mid Atlantic got rained on, New York was inundated with a massive storm augmented with lake effects snow. That snow stretched south to Altoona, PA, so places like Blue Knob and Elk were blanketed with as much as 15″ of new snow. Catskills, Adirondacks, Berkshires and Vermont were hit with 10-12″, while Cannon, Bretton Woods and the like received 4-6″. More cold and snow inbound, looking forward to what will be the fifth straight outstanding weekend in the northeast.
2/3/04 We keep talking about Bromley, probably because it’s one of the few areas that continues to do things worth talking about. This coming Friday, Feb. 6, all you Moms need only show pictures of your kids at the ticket window, and you get to ski for a $15 donation to the Vermont Chapter of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. In my opinion, Dads fortunate enough to be spending a day at Bromley this Friday ought to pony up a $15 donation as well, regardless of what they pay for a lift ticket. In another part of the Green Mountain State, Jay Peak (pronounced “Chay” in honor of Walter Foeger) offers a double dutch bus from Burlington VT and Montreal Canada on weekends. It’s a free ride to the mountain, no pass required, just show up and ride the funky bus.
1/30/04 Looking at a fantastic, positively fantastic weekend of skiing. Go for it! Anyway, on the “news” front, something quietly happening at modest old Bromley in Vermont that I expect to have an impact on and ripple through the entire industry. New policy — targeting snowboarders — is a $20 ticket limited to the terrain park t-bar lift. (It’s the Lord’s Prayer t-bar by the Sun Lodge for you Bromleyites). If you’ve ever seen snowboarders repeatedly hiking back up a short distance to re-do a jump or whatever crap they’ve stuck out there, and wondered why the resort didn’t just have a little rope tow there for the boarders…this is the concept. A lot of boarders don’t want to be bothered with the rest of the mountain; they like the community around the hits and the idea of practicing over and over. They tend to be younger, less affluent…and they have trouble on chairlifts anyway. Bromley’s move is a natural, and you can expect a lot more of this in years to come.
1/27/04 Those of you in the New York metro area who like to ski on the wild side can now dive into Mountain Creek’s new superpipe, which is lit up like the sun and is easily one of the finest in the world; an incredible sight. More sane minded gothamites will want to head to NY’s Belleayre, where all tickets are $10 through this Friday. Another great deal Superbowl Sunday at New Hampshire’s Cannon where tickets are two for one.
1/26/04 Annual pilgrimage to Pennsylvania’s Elk Mountain this past weekend netted the finest conditions I have ever seen at that venerable 1,000′ vertical. Things are looking good all over…
1/20/04 After some complaints from the midwest, we have to add that a number of resorts are at 100% and more. Both Boynes, as well as Crystal, Brule and Minnesota’s Powder Ridge to name but a few. Another weighing in this morning with 100% open trails is mid-Atlantic monster Mountain Creek which has very good conditions on their sprawling terrain.
1/19/04 Continuing to look good all across the country. In the east, always known for touch-and-go conditions, kudos go to three major resorts that have everything open. In Vermont, you might be thinking Killington, or Okemo, perhaps Stratton (close! only two trails to go) but it’s old reliable Stowe open from pillar to post. How about New York? Whiteface? Gore…Hunter? Nope. Windham has one to go, so they get honorable mention. The real champ is Belleayre with every run and then some. Moving south, Pennsy’s top gun Elk Mountain is on track — two trails to go. The big surprise is south of the Mason-Dixon line, where golf/resort destination Wintergreen is at 100% and proving once again that it is a ski area to be taken seriously.
1/13/04 Today and tomorrow is the Women’s Retreat at Waterville Valley, offering instruction, camaraderie, wine and cheese apres ski, video review — a whole host of stuff. Glad to report a massive snow dump in parts of the upper midwest, where resorts like Minnesota’s Lutsen report about a foot of new white stuff.
1/12/04 Monday morning greetings — Good News EVERYWHERE cold, snow, all that happiness. Most importantly, our fave Arizona Snowbowl is finally open (about 60 percent open) with a solid 27″ of beautiful snow at the 10,800′ line. Poling around, New Hampshire resorts are opening more and more terrain, Vermont’s Okemo now has 96 of 113 open, and the midwest looks good too — Boyne Highlands is virtually 100% open. Conditions at Park City are reportedly phenomenal. Skiing at NYC’s closest Mountain Creek was positively outstanding over the weekend, not fully open but the single-digit temperatures resulted in what might be the finest manmade snow ever laid down. Dixie skiing at Wintergreen is also top notch, about 75-80 percent open, good stuff. Time to hit the slopes!
1/7/04 SHAZAAM! cold weather feels sooo good, I have to quote Gomer Pyle. While resorts like Mammoth, Heavenly, Timberline, Hood in the west have been literally dumped on, the midwest and east have been suffering…until now. The cannons have been cranking in the midwest, and resorts in New England have been adding trails at the rate of one or two per day. Also glad to report that mid-Atlantic stalwart Mountain Creek re-opened today after blasting snow through the 12º F night. While Taos continues to add snow in New Mexico, we’re still waiting for Flagstaff’s Arizona Snowbowl to fire up the lifts.
1/7/04 Tim and Diane Mueller, Owners of Triple Peaks, LLC (That’s Okemo) have announced today that they have entered into a Definitive Purchase and Sale Agreement to buy Crested Butte Ski Resort from the Callaway and Walton families.
1/5/04 Nothing good is happening in the Northeast — or the Southwest for that matter, old favorite Arizona Snowbowl in Flagstaff is still shuttered for the season. Bought a $20 ticket New Year’s Day at Vermont’s Magic Mountain. I immediately found it an unskiable, frighteningly pitched sheet of ice…and that was just getting off the chairlift! We’ll give them credit; the frozen mud and ice was actually groomed. After one harrowing run I called it quits…