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Colorado forecasters issue avalanche watch

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A strong storm will increase the avalanche danger in the Colorado mountains.

Avalanche cycle likely by Sunday, experts say

Staff Report

FRISCO — An incoming winter storm has prompted the Colorado Avalanche Information Center to issue an avalanche watch for most of the Colorado Mountains, with the exception of the southern San Juans and the Sangre de Cristos.

Heavy snow falling on a weak snowpack will quickly push the avalanche hazard into the red zone, with triggered avalanches all but certain on slide-prone terrain the next few days. Continue reading

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Skiing: Forest Service taking input on proposed Snowmass Ski Area improvements

Glading, lift upgrades eyed in draft environmental study

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Snowmass to upgrade the High Alpine lift, add new snowmaking and expand gladed terrain.

Staff Report

FRISCO — The U.S. Forest Service is looking for public input on a slate of proposed improvements at Snowmass Ski Area, including replacement/realignment of the High Alpine Chairlift, additional snowmaking coverage, and trail and glade projects. Continue reading

Morning photo: Snow dancing

Powder love!

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Dylan and Comet enjoy some powder and air time in the Loveland Pass backcountry.

FRISCO — All the world’s eyes focusing on the current round of climate talks in Lima, Peru, made me realize once again how much is at stake for those of us who love winter and snow. Of course, global warming isn’t going to wipe out all the snow at once, but that’s one of the things that makes the global warming issue so vexing. Even if we can’t see much change from season to season, there’s a good chance that snowfall patterns will be very different 50 years from now. Based on everything we know, it’s hard to say with any certainty that skiing will be be sustainable as a sport by the end of the century. Since I want my son, and his children, to have the same chance to experience winter the way we do know, I know that it’s imperative to #actonclimate. Continue reading

Climate: Skiers rally to support EPA Clean Power Plan

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Powder is in peril, so skiers and ski areas are rallying to support the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

Numerous resorts sign on to letter calling for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions

Staff Report

FRISCO — With so much at stake around the world, it seems almost frivolous to talk about how global warming might affect the ski industry. But in some parts of the world, skiing is central to the culture of mountain communities, so it’s not surprising that skiers and their allies are rallying to support the EPA proposal to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

As the comment period on the agency’s Clean Power Plan closed, more than 115 snow and mountain supporters across the country including ski areas, local businesses, professional winter sports athletes, local governments, and organizations signed letters supporting the plan. Continue reading

Forest Service seeks comment on plan to build new road to a private inholding on Peak 6 at Breckenridge Ski Area

Access law obligates Forest Service to consider road access

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Will this be the ultimate ski-in, ski-out cabin at Breckenridge?

Staff Report

FRISCO — The owners of a 10-acre private parcel surrounded by national forest lands on Peak 6 at Breckenridge Ski Area may soon have the ultimate ski-in, ski-out cabin.

The U.S. Forest Service this week started taking public comment on a plan to provide access to the private inholding, located near the top of the Zendo Chair and base of the Kensho chair. Continue reading

October heat wave delays start of Colorado ski season

Snow guns silent in late October as temps run 15 degrees above average

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2014 on track to become warmest year ever.

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How will the ski industry weather global warming?

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO —Last year’s winter Olympics helped cast a spotlight on global warming and the ski industry. As the snow at Sochi’s alpine venues visibly melted during the live television coverage of the games, winter sports athletes advocated for action on climate change.

Now, just a few months later, some of those same ski racers who had planned early season training sessions at Copper Mountain, Colorado will have to wait. A run of extraordinarily warm temperatures in October all but silenced industrial snowmaking operations at several resorts, as both Copper and Keystone delayed scheduled openings because of the balmy conditions. Continue reading

A-Basin: A family ode to opening day

The 2014-2015 Colorado ski season starts Friday, Oct. 17 at Arapahoe Basin

Dylan Berwyn charges down West Montezuma Bowl, January 2012.

Dylan Berwyn charges down West Montezuma Bowl, January 2012. bberwyn photo

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Snaky, hissing lines under Pali Chair.

By Bob Berwyn

My history with A-Basin goes way back to the early 1980s.  I remember a memorable July 4 snow storm during that era, and lots of other assorted mayhem.

OK, mayhem may be stretching it a bit, but there was the time when I was hurrying to get to the slopes and accidentally slammed my friend’s thumb in the sliding side-panel door of that old lime-green ’75 Ford Econoline.

The mishap required a quick trip down to the Snake River emergency clinic at Keystone, but we were back on the mountain by lunchtime. And despite a new hand and forearm splint, to which we promptly taped a ski pole, at the end of the day, my friend led me on my first ride through Montezuma Bowl.

Twenty years later, I was teaching my toddler to ski at A-Basin. Sure, we’d go to Keystone with Opa now and then, or trek over to Breck on a fine spring day, but we lived in Summit Cove at the time and A-Basin was always our home mountain — the “Hausberg,” as the alpine villagers of Europe call it.

It’s where you take turns sharing childcare duties with your friends, watching their kids they make a few laps, and vice-versa. The place where several generations of family have skied. Maybe you’ve even scattered the ashes of a loved one from the summit. It’s where you feel the global mountain vibe that ties all high country dwellers together regardless of national borders.

It’s where you ski with Opa and Omi.

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A local middle-schooler airs it out in the Fourth Alley.

Over the years, you get to know every crinkle of terrain. Just by watching the direction of the snow plume blowing off Pali or PHQ, you know exactly where the best blown-in powder will be, and you recognize individual trees and their sprawling branches as snow-depth indicators.

Exploring leisurely through the steep, shady spruce glades or charging down an avalanche gully on the East Wall, you build an intimate relationship with nature, which breeds respect and leads, hopefully, to a stewardship ethic.

Another decade down the road (I’m almost afraid to count up the total number of years) and my teenager mostly skis with his peers. But tomorrow, on opening day at A-Basin, we’ll head up together to celebrate the start of another ski season. It couldn’t happen in a better place!

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