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Colorado: Arapahoe Basin extends the season

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Summer fun at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area. Bob Berwyn photo.

Bonus weekend set for June 7-9

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Colorado skiers will get a bonus weekend at Arapahoe Basin, as the ski area extends the season for an extra weekend. Cool spring temperatures and big snows in April and May helped preserve a good base at the high-elevation ski area.

“With all the spring storms, our exceptional snow conditions, and our guests’ enthusiasm for skiing and riding, it only makes sense to open for another weekend,” said Alan Henceroth, Arapahoe Basin’s chief operating officer.

The last couple of winters have been a roller coaster for A-Basin and Colorado in general. The winter of 2010-2011 delivered near-record snow in many locations and A-Basin stayed open though the Fourth of July holiday. Continue reading

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Essay: A mountain town Christmas

“It’s Christmas. Build community and invite your guests to be part of it. Be real. Hold on to your culture. Don’t be afraid to let your spiritual values shine through. Celebrate the mountains for the joy and comfort they give. Protect the forests and the streams. Nurture your children and give them hope.”

“Kohlmaisbahn” in Saalbach-Hinterglemm (Austria), background:The village and the Schattberg and Zwoelferkogel, the dominant ski peaks in the valley. Image via Wikipedia Creative Commons, Share-Alike attribution.

By Bob Berwyn

Christmas and skiing have been inextricably linked for me ever since I was an “army brat” growing up in Frankfurt, Germany. The classroom Christmas party on the last day of school (yes, we called it that back on the pre-politically correct days) wasn’t nearly as exciting as the thought that we’d soon be on starting our annual two-week ski vacation to Austria.

Sometimes there was snow on the ground; slushy, dirty city snow that splattered as the cars passed by. But more often than not, it was just gray and dreary, and my heart always skipped a beat when that finned, white 1960 Chevy Impala rolled up. Everything fit in the trunk of our classic American car, even our two-meter-plus skis, so there was plenty of room for my brother and I to sprawl in the back seat. No fast food stops for us — there was no McDonalds or Burger King along the way, so we ate well; cold schnitzels  my mom had made earlier that day, or open-faced sausage sandwiches with tangy pickles, carrot sticks and wedges of green bell peppers.

Sometimes we dozed, but more often than not, we were still awake when we slowed to a stop at the border, where customs officials in long, thick wool coats decorated with epaulets scanned our green U.S. passports, then waved us through with a friendly smile and a “Merry Christmas.”

The mountainous frontier south of Munich was the gateway to snow country.  By the glow of the headlights, we gauged the depth of the berm alongside the road to get an idea of how the skiing would be. Here the road narrowed and twisted through a river-carved canyon, mysterious and new each time we made the trip. Our destination was Saalbach, then a small, up and coming ski village that has since succumbed to the same development pressures that have afflicted so many mountain communities during the past few decades. Continue reading

Summit County: A-Basin open for skiing through July 4

A fine end to an amazing ski season

Skiing at the Basin — photo by Liam Doran, courtesy A-Basin media library.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Keep those boards handy. The skiing and riding have been epic this year, and the season isn’t quite over yet. A-Basin has decided to extend the ski season to July 4 this year, staying open on weekends only through the holiday. It’s the first time A-Basin will be open on Independence Day since 1997. Details online here.

Two lifts are operating, the Black Mountain Express and Lenawee. Ticket window prices are $39 for adults, $29 for teens and $19 for kids. Details on ticket prices online here. The ski area is reporting a 50-inch base and 275 acres of open terrain. Lifts are operating from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

From Al’s Blog:

“The snow is good. People want to ski and ride. We will be skiing at The Basin on the 4th of July. We will re-open for two more weekends, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday June 24, 25, and 26 and Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday July 1, 2, 3, and 4.”

Morning photo: Love and inspiration

For Dad

Gentoo penguins emerge from the water in the lagoon of Deception Island, Antarctica.

SUMMIT COUNTY — My passion for photography, skiing and travel were all sparked by my dad, who passed away last week. I was always eager to share my latest shots with him, and he did the same, often e-mailing pictures of dolphins he photographed in the Gulf of Mexico as soon as he could get home and upload them. We shared legendary road trips, counting tunnels on the Mediterranean coast highway between Genoa and Nice, plowing through deep powder on twisty mountain roads in Austria in our rear-wheel drive Chevy and listening to the Charlie Daniels Band and Roberta Flack on a non-stop run between Newark and Port Charlotte, Florida so many years ago.

He never hesitated to take us out of school a few days early for a journey, and even if he never verbalized it, it was clear that he considered life experiences to be equally as important as academic achievement. And when he gave me an old Asahi Pentax Spotmatic as my first SLR camera, I knew I had found something that I would cherish for life — the ability to capture some of those experiences visually and relive them in slideshows and photo albums. The technology has changed, but the idea remains the same. Continue reading

Breckenridge: Police to crack down on ‘tourist harrassment’

Law enforcement officers will patrol the slopes of Breckenridge April 1 to discourage harrassment of tourists.

‘Zero tolerance’ on April 1 for illegal and disrespectful behavior

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — The Breckenridge Police Department says it will help the ski resort crack down on April 1 “Gaper Day” shenanigans, an occasion when some people have made fun of visiting tourists.

While the practice has sometimes been dismissed as harmless late-season fun, the harassment has sometimes turned mean-spirited, prompting concern among tourism officials.

“April 1 has been a busy day for us the past four to six years,” said Breckenridge Police Department spokesperson Kim Green. “The ski area has been asking for our involvement.”

In the past few years, Green said police officers have issued citations for violations of open container laws, as well as cannabis infractions. Asked about harassment of tourists, Green cited incidents of locals being rude and verbally abusive to visitors, for example skiing too close and spraying them with snow. Continue reading

Most-viewed stories, week in review

Former Colorado Avalanche Information Center director Knox Williams stirs up some 5 percent density snow during a day of cat skiing at Monarch Mountain. Click on the image to see more.

SUMMIT COUNTY — Top National Park Service officials last week stood firm in the face of political and economic pressure as they backed up a decision by the superintendent of Colorado National Monument to deny a permit for a pro bike race. That was the most-viewed story at Summit Voice in the past few days,  followed by a short blurb on extended hours at the Breckenridge Ski Area terrain during the last few weeks of the season. Check the rest of the top stories by clicking on the headlines.

2011-2012 Copper Mountain passes on sale now

Copper Mountain, Winter Park combined pass on sale for $409.

Copper, Winter Park single-mountain passes are $369, Rocky Mountain Super Pass on sale for $409

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Next year’s single-mountain season passes for Winter Park and Copper Mountain will remain priced under $400.

A joint ticketing agreement between the two ski areas will apparently continue for the coming season, even though Copper is now owned by Powdr Corp, while Winter Park is the Intrawest family of resorts.

The single-mountain passes for 2011-2012 are on sale starting today (March 21) for $369 ($399 for teens, 209 for kids). No cutoff date for that pass price has been announced.

The Rocky Mountain Super Pass, valid at Copper and Winter Park, will sell for $409. For a limited time, through April 10, the Super Pass Plus (Copper, Winter Park and six days at Steamboat) will sell for that same price.

Steamboat’s season pass will continue to be a premium price product, at $929.

Winter Park four-packs for next season are also on sale for $149 (not valid Dec. 27-31, 2011) and Copper Mountain four-packs are on sale for $139. The four-packs are non-transferable. Click here to get all the detailed pass info.

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