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Steep Shots: The family that skis together …

Bonding with the bro

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By Emily Palm

When fresh tracks beckon, I usually encourage interpersonal allegiances to fall by the wayside.

Wait for others when there are freshies to be found? No way José. “No family on a powder day,” however, sounds a bit harsh, even when said in Spanglish.

So it went last weekend with my brother, Garrett, visiting from Brooklyn. He caught the schussing bug last year when he came out to experience a slice of the skiing life. The rest of my family knows what a major role skiing holds for my husband and I, but Garrett is the only one who has actually seen it.

While my siblings and I excelled in the newspaper, choir and theater rooms, no one ever marveled at the grace and athleticism of the Palm kids. Hailing from Oregon and California, we went on a handful of trips to Mt. Hood and Mt. Bachelor over the years. None of us ever graduated beyond the green slopes, except for me when I went to college and skiing changed my life. Continue reading

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Lindsey Vonn snags World Cup downhill trophy

Olympic champion Lindsey Vonn holds the crystal globe she won for taking the season-long Audi FIS World Cup downhill title in 2010 after the final downhill race of the season in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. (Doug Haney/U.S. Ski Team)

Colorado racer earns coveted title with secon-place finish in Italy

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Vail’s Lindsey Vonn continued to strengthen her position as one of the best speed event ski racers in recent years by winning this season’s World Cup downhill title just one day after nabbing the super-combined trophy.

Vonn finished second to Sweden’s Anja Parson Saturday in the next-to-last downhill of the season at Tarvisio, Italy, taking an insurmountable 143-point lead over Germany’s Maria Riesch. Continue reading

Colorado: New master plan for Eldora Ski Area

Several new lifts planned; improvements need site-specific Forest Service review

New lifts and trail alignments are designed in part to address wind issues at Eldora. Click on the image for the full-size map.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Eldora Ski Area plans to expand intermediate terrain and upgrade other facilities, as well as revamp its lift and trail network to try and address frequent wind closures and wind-related snow problems in certain parts of the ski area. Click here to see the whole master plan. Continue reading

Most viewed stories & week in review

See what other people are reading …

Several stories on global warming ranked among the most-viewed stories last week.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY —An op-ed on ski industry stats was the most-read story at Summit Voice the past week, with a story on an unusual skier death at Arapahoe Basin close behind. Other top stories included continuing coverage of global warming, with a pair of stories about detailed mapping of sea-level rise impacts and a second story about how warmer temperatures may increase human exposure to waterborne disease.

Jenney Coberly has been working behind the scenes the past few weeks organizing Summit Voice content, so now all our global warming stories are available with a single click on the sidebar at this link.

Here are the rest of the week’s most-viewed stories:

Wells Fargo Cup: Skiing for cash and glory at Winter Park

The Wells Fargo Cup, Winter Park, March 4-6.

March event is one of the biggest fundraisers for the National Sports Center for the Disabled

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — One of the biggest fundraisers of the year for the National Sports Center for the Disabled is coming up March 4-6 with the 36th annual Wells Fargo Ski Cup at Winter Park. The weekend festivities include three exciting ski races, skier hospitality, live entertainment, ice carving demonstrations and a large silent auction.

Participants have the unique opportunity to race with world-class competitive disabled skiers as well as enjoy the fun activities throughout the weekend. Saturday morning, the Corporate Challenge brings amateurs of all skiing and snowboarding abilities to the slopes in a pro-am style event. Each race team consists of a top disabled athlete and five amateurs. Starts are handicapped so that every run is competitive. Continue reading

Opinion: Is more always better?

Bob Berwyn.

“Instead of counting skier days, let’s figure out a way to measure skier happiness.”

By Bob Berwyn

Skier visits appear once again to be increasing this year in Colorado, which is generally perceived as a good thing. But since I’m not a big fan of conventional wisdom, I’d like to offer a somewhat contrarian take on the subject: Instead of counting skier days, let’s figure out a way to measure skier happiness.

I first spent some time thinking about this back in 2007 when Colorado was heading for a record season in terms of sheer skier numbers. As I scanned various news reports about the statistics, I noticed that there was an unquestioning tone in the media that more skiers is automatically better for everyone.

A Denver Post story on the numbers superficially appeared to be value-neutral — or objective, in journalistic terms — yet in the context of our culture, it’s clear that the high number of skier visits is generally considered to be a good thing, at least by anyone that matters. That’s probably not surprising, given our fixation with statistics and records, our insistence on measuring success in economic terms, not to mention our worship of the almighty dollar. Continue reading

Morning photo: Powder nation

20 feet of snow and counting …

Powder in the famed aspen glades of Steamboat. PHOTO COURTESY LARRY PIERCE.

SUMMIT COUNTY — Today’s photoblog is courtesy Colorado Ski Country USA, a trade group for most of the ski areas in the state. All 22 member resorts picked up significant snow in the past couple of days. Steamboat picked up 44 inches of snow in the past few days and has already reached the 300-inch mark for the season. Click on the photos for more info on each resort. Continue reading

A-Basin patroller dies while hiking Aspen Highlands

Leif Borgeson. PHOTO COURTESY ARAPAHOE BASIN.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY —Sadness amidst the bounty of powder today at Arapahoe Basin, as the ski area reported that snow safety director Leif Borgeson died while hiking along a ridge at Aspen Highlands. Ski patrollers on the scene were not able to resuscitate him after he collapsed.

Borgeson, 50, was a long-time A-Basin patroller and well-known statewide for his work on snow science and avalanche safety. He was training director for the National Ski Patrol between 2001 and 2004.

He is survived by his wife, Denise Schmidt-Borgeson, two sons, Ian and Aidan, his parents and a brother. More details are reported in the Summit Daily News and at 9NEWS.com.

A-Basin general manager and chief operating officer Alan Henceroth also posted a short notice on his blog, saying simply, “We lost one of our best today. Rest in Peace my friend.”

Part of the close-knit A-Basin ski patrol family, Borgeson always greeted everyone cheerfully, and was on a first-name basis with scores of loyal A-Basin skiers. He always greeted me with a jovial, if slightly skeptical, comment about ski journalists. I always felt just that much safer jumping into one of the East Wall chutes or Gauthier knowing that he was in charge of controlling that terrain. He will be missed by all.

Many people are visiting A-Basin’s Facebook page to leave messages of condolence.

Colorado: Beaver Creek plans lift upgrade

Beaver Creek to upgrade Rose Bowl chair to high-speed quad.

Rose Bowl triple to be replaced with high-speed quad chair

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Beaver Creek plans to upgrade the Rose Bowl Chair (Chair 4) from a fixed-grip triple to a high-speed quad.

The U.S. Forest Service is currently raking input on the proposal, which would involve some minor tree removal and ground disturbance. The new lift would have an uphill capacity of 2,400 passengers per hour, compared to 1,600 passengers with the existing lift. All activities are within Beaver Creek’s Forest Service-administered Special Use Permit boundary.

“This is another example of Beaver Creek’s attention to mountain planning and commitment to improve the guest experience and maintain a world-class ski resort on National Forest System Lands,” said Dave Neely, District Ranger of the Eagle/Holy Cross Ranger District of the White River National Forest.  “With only relatively minor environmental effects anticipated, skier circulation and the guest experience will be greatly improved.”

Comments on the proposal are being accepted until February 12th, 2011.  If approved, implementation could occur in time for the 2011/2012 winter operating season.  For further information on this project, please contact Don Dressler, Winter Sports Administrator, Eagle/Holy Cross Ranger District, at (970) 827-5157 or drdressler@fs.fed.us.

Breckenridge: Town council update on Peak 6

A recent rendering of one possible alignment of new ski terrain on Peak 6 at Breckenridge.

* This is the text of a memo included in the Jan. 25 Breckenridge Town Council packet. View the full council packet here.

Proposed Peak 6 Expansion Project Overview Presentation to Breckenridge Town Council January 25, 2011 Work Session

Breckenridge Ski Resort (BSR) has fluctuated between the most- and second-most visited resort in the U.S. over the past decade making it consistently one of the busiest mountain resorts in North America. Historically, peak visitation days put pressure on the existing terrain and infrastructure capacities.
As visitation increases, the quality of the recreational experience is impacted. High trail densities and long lift lines are associated with three periods:

(1) peak days;

(2) average days during key egress periods; and

(3) new snow days in areas of off-piste, lift-served terrain.

To begin to mitigate these issues and improve the guest experience, Breckenridge has identified the need for the following needs:

•    Better accommodation of current daily visitation levels;
•    Reduced skier/rider congestion on BSR’s existing Intermediate and Advanced
intermediate terrain network and associated lifts;
•    Reduced waiting time for lifts at BSR; •    Efficient dispersal of Intermediate and Advanced Intermediate skiers/riders across the
entire skiable terrain network;
•    Additional lift-served terrain to accommodate the existing terrain distribution deficit;
•    Additional hike-to access servicing advanced ability levels Continue reading

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