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Steep Shots: Skiers, riders should be friends

Emily Palm

We’re all sliding down the same mountain

By Emily Palm

While riding the chairlift earlier this season we witnessed a rather unbecoming display from a skier. After a rider biffed it and fell board over teakettle, a skier whizzed by yelling, “Dumbass.” Albeit funny, ‘twas not kind.

Seeing such poor snowboarder-skier relations led me to thinking. Sure, I dislike getting cut off on the way up to the mountain by Honda Civics with grenade stickers. True, when I smell cigarette smoke in the lift line it tends to be a troglodyte with super-baggy pants. And yes, having fresh powder scraped off the mountain by inexperienced boarders grinds my gears. But maybe it’s not just the snowboarders keeping relations tense, a notion that should have been previously obvious.

My gripes certainly do not apply to all snowboarders, for it’s only the 90 percent that make the 10 percent look bad.

I jest; in fact, I’ve heard resort executives acknowledge that snowboarding saved the snowsports industry back in the 1990’s. Continue reading

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Steep Shots: Ski touring on the Hinsdale Haute Route

Alpine touring the San Juans

The Colorado Trail Memorial Yurt is part of the Hinsdale Haute Route. Click on the photo to see more images at the Steep Shots Facebook page.

By Emily Palm

Worrying if I put enough sunscreen on that small patch of skin beneath the nose, I stop for a moment to reapply yet another layer of Dermatone and tighten my ski boots. The snow glare reflects brighter than the sun and the wind whips up from behind.  I imagine it propels me as we skin up the ridge. My compadres and I are spending a long weekend exploring the Hinsdale Haute Route, sleeping three nights in the highest yurt system in Colorado.

Weekend warriors that we are, we hightailed it out of town last Thursday to spend the night at the Super Eight in Gunnison, helping maximize the daylight. Four people in a room coupled with an easy early start at the trail-head an hour away in Lake City, Colo., make this $20 per person very well spent.

For a paltry $9 each, our group opted for the system’s “Sherpa Service” to deliver a snowmobile’s load of food and beverages to the two yurts we stayed at. (A service, which, at mile 10 on day two, we would gladly have paid much more for — though my cheapo ways probably would have dictated my declination beforehand were it more.) Continue reading

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

Steep shots: Fancy newness at the SIA snow show

Our ski correspondent scours the SIA snow show for knee pads

Part of Patagonia's new line on display at the SIA Snow Show in Denver last week

By Emily Palm

It has become rather popular for people to testify about their nerdiness in a way that actually makes them sound cool.

“I’m such a dork because I have every album Widespread Panic ever made,” or “Man, we completely geeked out in the backcountry hucking cliffs all day.”

With the aforementioned in mind, let me tell you that I am the real deal. On our indoor soccer team, I’m the one who says things like, “My that goalie is spry.” It might come as no surprise, then, that I did not dork out over the latest gear at last weekend’s SnowSports Industries America (SIA) trade show. Nope, it was actually the coolest event I’ve attended in a while.When it comes to new gear, I tend to feel lucky that my skis are modern in the sense they were made in the last five years. I purchased virtually all my ski clothing at thrift stores, yard sales or, if I splurged, the clearance rack. I maintain high style with duct taped custom mending. After all, isn’t that still far more advanced than what our early 20th-century brethren skied with? Continue reading

Steep shots: Teching out the slopes

Ski writer Emily Palm highlights some useful smart phone ski apps.

Taking some smart phone ski apps on a test run

By Emily Palm

Last week I hopped on the fancy phone bandwagon by graduating from the classic flip style to a smart Droid. Along with being able to check e-mail and work on Google documents on the lift (the ultimate cubicle), the navigational features were alluring from the get-go. What I didn’t expect was the abundance of apps surrounding the wide world of skiing.

I’ve found some that I think are especially cool and useful.

Ski Report — Mittens-down my favorite day-to-day ski app. Instantly see a list of base depth and 24-hour snowfall from your chosen locations. Click on a resort to find more info, including snowfall of past four days, current weather, and up-to-date snow cams. All for price of free. Continue reading

Steep Shots: The right stuff takes the right fuel

Ski writer Emily Palm fuels up for a day at Keystone in this week's edition of Steep Shots.

Tips on maintaining your slope stoke all day long

By Emily Palm

Last week before heading up for a day dedicated to Keystone’s Outback, I ate my usual breakfast of multigrain toast and almond butter. Come noon, after a morning of looping through the trees below Outer Limits and skating the flat runout back to the lift on shoddily waxed skis (make sure you really scrape the excess wax off, I did not), I realized my body was cruising to bonk.

Luckily I had one of those Nature Valley Granola Bars they pass out at the base of the ski resorts in my pack (unluckily, it had been there for a couple years and well past the “Enjoy By” date). Usually I try to bring a string cheese stick for a snack, but had forgotten that morning.

This led me to thinking about the optimal pre-ski breakfast, so I consulted my good friend Stefania Kozial, a registered dietician in Denver.

“Your breakfast of almond butter on toast was actually a good start, but maybe it wasn’t enough,” she said, noting that the almond butter contains some good fat and the multigrain toast has complex carbohydrates. Fats take longer for your body to break down, thus providing a longer-term fuel source and the fiber from the toast leaves you feeling fuller longer. She recommended adding some more carbohydrates. Continue reading

Steep shots: Web resources for deals and powder info

Look for Emily Palm's Steep Shots column every two weeks.

By Emily Palm

Skiers have much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving weekend. In addition to a sweet new high-speed lift at A-Basin, bountiful snow news persists. The Pali lift at A-Basin is already running, and this year, Keystone’s Outback opened earlier than ever before. Hopefully all the good news is a harbinger of a season to redeem last year’s paltry snow totals.

Indeed, the usual November speculation has been replaced with the excitement of watching early season snow pile up, along with a flurry of photos and powder-day gloating on Facebook, Twitter and the like. I have already experienced far too much sleeping-in remorse this season. If knowledge is power, fortify your early-season ski quiver with the following resources.

Measuring snow by Tweet.

Last week at Outpost Sunsport in Ft. Collins while my husband had his boot punched to accommodate his sixth toe (a bunionette that commonly plagues alpine skiers), we echoed skier chitchat heard across Colorado. One fellow told us about the previous powder day at Keystone, and that a tipping point for making the two-hour journey was the heads up from Keystone Resort’s Twitter feed that snow was falling. Continue reading

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