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.
Yeah, yeah, you might say, can’t you just get that information from the weather channel? True, but nothing beats the real-time updates (I’ve compiled a handy list in my Twitter account.
Additionally, I’ve found, ahem, that the amount of reported snowfall for a resort can sometimes vary, so a quick look-see from several sources can be helpful.
Another go-to resource for me is the Summit County Citizen’s Voice Weatherblog. Delivered right to your inbox, such headlines include “Arctic blast headed our way,” “Storm favors SW Colorado mountains early,” and “Persistent snow through Wednesday!” This can help when deciding which day next week to call in to work and let them know that you’re not sure, but you might have a case of that whooping cough that’s going around, and better safe than sorry.
A skier’s market. Along with enjoying plentiful early-season snow, skiers can après and stay in a buyer’s market. Some lodging and pass packages can be found at http://tiny.cc/ColoSkiDeals (it lists the expiration dates), but honestly if you have a pass and can crash a friend’s place or split a condo with some pals through http://www.wildernest.com/ViewSpecials.aspx, that’s an even better deal.
For those with kids in 5th and 6th grade, free passes are a classic Colorado benefit, check out http://www.coloradoski.com/Passes for details.
Twitter serves as a great resource for finding out about bargains, too. I have a list of resources compiled at http://tiny.cc/SteepShotsDealList
Soapbox of the week. You wouldn’t raft through a class V rapid without a life jacket, or rock climb without a harness, so don’t venture out into the backcountry without a beacon, probe, shovel and know-how. Avalanche warnings issued by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center across the state, coupled with a death at Wolf Creek and several near misses already, make gearing up your knowledge base absolutely imperative. There’s no reason not to take advantage of the Friends of Berthoud Pass classes.
Telemark skier and freelance writer Emily A. Palm Mulica lives in Golden, Colo. Check out her Web site at www.EmilyPalm.com & follow Twitter.com/SteepShots. Share with her your favorite joke at firstname.lastname@example.org .