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Ski gear recycling program to expand

Old boards, boots being re-purposed

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Your old snowboard may end up somewhere other than the landfill, thanks to an expanding recycling program spearheaded by SnowSports Industries America. Bob Berwyn photo.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Thanks to some grant funding from Colorado and the persistence of industry partners and stakeholders, SnowSports Industries America says it hopes to expand its equipment recycling program with new locations in Boise, Reno, Albuquerque and Phoenix.

The grant funds were recently used to purchase additional equipment needed for the six-step process of separating, reducing down and re-purposing the collected equipment into a material used in construction, landscaping, furniture and fixtures.

SIA created the Snow Sports Recycling Program looking to reduce environmental impact, conserve natural resources and encourage sustainable design within the snow sports industry.  Plus, there’s an added incentive for snow sports retailers — approximately 67 percent of consumers dropping off equipment make some form of purchase, giving retailers a good reason to get involved. Continue reading

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Colorado: Copper Mountain starts snowmaking

Ski team speed center to open late October; passholders have a chance to win a preview session with the team

Picabo Street helps open the U.S. Ski Team speed training center at Copper Mountain in Nov. 2011. Photo by Bob Berwyn.

Opening day of the 2011-2012 season. Photo by Bob Berwyn.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — With a seasonable October chill in the air, Copper Mountain has fired up its snowguns, aiming to open the U.S. Ski Team speed training center by sometime in late October is favorable snowmaking weather persists.

The ski area is scheduled to open for the public on Nov. 2, but a few lucky passholders can win a preview session with the U.S. Ski team by entering on Facebook for VIP access that includes lift access for two, a venue tour from a U.S. Ski Team athlete followed by open skiing and riding and lunch with the Team.

In a press release, Copper said 87 snow guns will be dedicated to covering the speed training venue of the Super Bee lift, prepping a full-length alpine racing venue that will help top-level World Cup racers get ready for early season tests at Beaver Creek and Aspen.

Entries to the Speed Center VIP Preview Contest will be accepted until Oct. 28. The official event day will be announced on the U.S. Ski Team and Copper Mountain Facebook fan pages. You must have a Copper Mountain Season Pass, Copper Four Pack, Rocky Mountain Super Pass, or Super Pass Plus to enter. Continue reading

Breckenridge: Riverwalk Center ski swap benefits Team Summit

Bigger and better than ever in its 32d year

Get ready! Bob Berwyn photo.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — It’s never too early to start thinking about the upcoming season, and for a lot of people, that means upgrading gear, whether it’s the big stuff, like boards or boots, or just a few new accessories.

In any case, the Team Summit Ski Swap in Breckenridge, now in its 32d year, is always one of the best places to start. The swap is on again this weekend at the Riverwalk Center, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and again from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, offering some of the sweetest deals of the  year on ski and snowboard gear. Continue reading

Passive outdoor recreation grows, skiing, hunting decline

New Forest Service study analyzes outdoor recreation trends.

Forest Service study takes big picture look at outdoor recreation trends

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Outdoor recreation in the U.S. is shifting toward more passive activities, with the biggest growth seen in areas like wildlife watching and photography, according to a new study published by the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station.

Traditional activities, including hunting and fishing, were flat, while various forms of skiing, including snowboarding, declined during the 10-year study period from 2000 to 2009.

“Our research shows that, not only are more Americans participating in outdoor recreation, but the number of times they participated in many of the outdoor activities surveyed has grown,” said author and lead researcher Ken Cordell, considered an authority on recreational trends in the United States. Continue reading

Mountain news roundup

Custom snowboards for soldiers, state-of-the-art bike sharing in Boulder, and more ice-age discoveries at Ziegler Reservoir

Compiled by Jenney Coberly

Custom snowboards for soldiers

When soldiers from the G Company 2-135th General Support Aviation Battalion, a helicopter MEDEVAC unit, returned from a year in Iraq, they were greeted not only by their families and friends, but also by custom snowboards provided by Never Summer Industries of Denver, Colorado. For the board graphic, Never Summer Art Director Jeremy Salyer designed a silhouette of a Black Hawk helicopter like the ones the battalion flew in Iraq. Check out the coverage in the Mountain Weekly News to see photos of the snowboard and the ceremony.

New bike-sharing program in Boulder

Boulder is already a bike-friendly town, and will become even more so with the launch of the Boulder B-cycle program this Friday. The program will launch with 12 stations, 7 of which are completely solar-powered. The stations are state of the art, with computer touchscreens and encrypted wireless data transmission for the bike rentals. The bikes are state of the art as well, with adjustable seats, specially designed brakes that work even when wet, durable tires that rarely go flat, utility baskets, and bike locks with removable keys for parking away from B-cycle stations. Read more in the article in the Boulder Daily Camera or the Boulder B-cycle website. Continue reading

Colorado: Deals on ski, snowboard lessons in January

Improve your skills with special deals from Colorado ski areas during January, tabbed as Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month by Colorado Ski Country USA.

Colorado resorts offer special promotions for Learn to Ski month

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The future economic health of the ski industry hinges partially on the retention of beginning skiers and snowboarders who are trying out the sport for the first time.Enthusiastic skiers and riders who return year after year form a strong core for the market, but it’s critical to keep new skiers coming and make sure they enjoy it enough to keep returning.

One of the best ways to do that is to help them get to the point that they can explore the mountain beyond the bunny hill safely. Colorado resorts are among the leaders when it comes to offering great lesson packages and the member resorts of Colorado Ski Country USA will focus on that goal in January, during Learn to Ski Month, with reduced prices and special programs for skiers and riders who want to improve their skills.

“Colorado resorts have always been committed to providing a top-notch ski experience for beginners,” said Melanie Mills, CSCUSA president and CEO. “Learning to ski or snowboard is a part of our heritage, and we and our resorts want to encourage one and all to give skiing or snowboarding a try. The deals and packages our resorts offer are a great way to hit the slopes and learn the ropes.” Continue reading

Breckenridge to host action sports film festival

Ski and snowboard films will be featured at the first-ever Summit Action Sports Film Festival. PHOTO BY BOB BERWYN.

Festival features 20 cutting-edge action sports flicks

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Book-ended by the USSA Grand Prix at Copper Mountain and the Dew Tour in Breckenridge, action-sport filmmakers from around the world will showcase their best works at an inaugural film festival that’s been dubbed The Summit Action Sports Film Festival.

The four-day event starts Dec. 8 with an open house and a meet-and-greet and continues with the screening of more than 30 films during the next three days, followed by the Dec. 11 award ceremony at the Riverwalk Center.

The festival will feature ski and snowboard films exclusively for the kick-off season. As the festival builds momentum and support for 2011, it will expand to feature all action sports genres, including surfing, wakeboarding and skateboarding. More details after the break … Continue reading

Avy center fundraiser is coming up in Breckenridge

A small slab avalanche in Summit County Colorado

A small slab avalanche near the summit of Loveland Pass, along U.S. Highway 6, between Arapahoe Basin and Loveland.

Annual event helps round out funding for daily backcountry forecasts and education programs

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — It’s never to early to start planning for a good thing, and the third annual Friends of the Avalanche Center fundraiser is about as good as it gets. Along with massive piles of ski and snowboard schwag, the Nov. 13 event at the Breckenridge Riverwalk Center raises a big chunk of cash — $39,000 last year — that goes directly toward supporting the center’s operations and providing the daily forecasts used by thousands of backcountry skiers and snowboarders each week. Check out the CAIC here.

The silent auction this year includes — get ready — a spot in a week-long heliski guide school, season passes at local resorts, skis, avy gear, as well as a mouth-watering spread, beer from the New Belgium brewery and live music from Zen Mustache, a Denver band with a groovy sound. Check them here. Any band that includes a line about climbing trees in the wind is alright in my book!

Organizer Aaron Carlson said his goal this year is to raise $50,000, which would go a long way toward filling in some of the soft spots in the CAIC’s annual budget. The avalanche center operates under the auspices of state government, and part of its operating costs are covered from various sources, which have included the oil and gas severance tax fund, as well as money from the Colorado Department of Transportation, which relies on CAIC forecasts to keep the mountain passes open and safe for passenger and freight traffic. Continue reading

Weatherblog: Winds expected to up avalanche danger

A March 10 avalanche in the Steep Gullies, a mile west of A-Basin, killed a snowboarder.

Seven skier or snowboarder-triggered slides reported in past three days

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Another round of flurries overnight brought as much as 6 inches of new snow (Copper Mountain) to the Summit-Vail zone. Breckenridge, Loveland and Monarch picked up 5 inches of snow, while some of the resorts in the Aspen area reported about 6 inches.

Showers will taper off Thursday under a dry northerly flow, with fair and mild weather forecast through at least late Saturday, with the forecast uncertain beyond that, although the general prediction is for another Pacific storm to pass south of the area later in the weekend.

Winds will be on the increase the next 36 hours, leading to continued concern among avalanche forecasters about the potential for dangerous backcountry slides. New snow from recent days will be transported to avalanche start zones and form tender slabs that could easily be triggered by skiers and snowboarders, said Colorado Avalanche Information Center forecaster Scott Toepfer.

Since March 8, the CAIC has received reports of seven skier or snowboard-triggered avalanches, including the March 10 death in the Steep Gullies, near A-Basin. Most of the slides have been in wind-loaded terrain pockets near rock bands around treeline, where the overall avalanche danger is rated as considerable. Check the CAIC’s web page for details on the recent accidents here.

Sitting on a weak base layer, slides starting in the soft wind slabs on the surface have the potential to step down and create large avalanches. Toepfer said that, based on the condition of the snowpack, the avalanche hazard is expected to persist well into spring. Visit the CAIC web site for the latest forecast or call the local hotline at (970) 668-0600 before heading into the backcountry.

Weather: Closing out 2009 with new snow

Dawn breaks over Summit County landmark Buffalo Mountain on the last day of 2009. PHOTO BY BOB BERWYN.

Widespread snow across Colorado, with 2 to 4 inches in Summit County and more than a foot in other mountain areas.

*Click on the more link for a fun photo essay of sunrise on the last day of 2009

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Widespread snow fell across the Colorado mountains Wednesday night, with decent snowfall totals reported from most areas, including 12 inches at Monarch, 11 inches at Steamboat and Winter Park, 9 inches at Telluride and Wolf Creek and 8 more inches at Powderhorn.

Closer to home, Beaver Creek picked up 13 inches and Vail reported 7 inches, with 2 to 4 inches at most of the Summit County resorts. For two-day storm totals, Powderhorn picked up 19 inches, but Beaver Creek was not far behind, reporting 17 inches for the past 48 hours. The latest round of snow at Beaver Creek brought the season-to-date snowfall up to 99 inches.

Base depths around the state:
Wolf Creek: 80 inches
Monarch: 54 inches
Silverton Mountain: 50 inches
Telluride: 49 inches
Winter Park: 48 inches
Powderhorn: 40 inches

Get the full Colorado snow report here.

Breckenridge, Keystone, Vail and Beaver Creek snow reports are here.

If you’re thinking of a road trip to start 2010, Snowbird picked up 17 inches, with 15 inches at Alta. Base depths in Little Cottonwood Canyon range from 43 to 59 inches according to SkiReport.com.

More light snow could be on tap for the northern mountains Friday night under a strong west to northwest flow with chilly temperatures, according to the National Weather Service. Another system could drop into the area from the north Sunday night into Monday.

As the storm clears out, winds will be light, setting up a slight inversion, with chilly air trapped not the valley floors Thursday. Lows Thursday night in the low single digits, highs Friday in the teens. Stay warm!

The backcountry avalanche hazard hasn’t changed much in the past 24 hours. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center is still warning of a chance for triggered slides on slopes facing north to south, near and above treeline, across the Summit and Eagle zone, where danger is rated “considerable.” Check in with center for a daily forecast, Call the hotline at (970) 668-0600 and report your own backcountry snow observations here.

More sunrise shots below! Continue reading

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