Forest Service taking comments on ski area proposals at Copper, Breckenridge
FRISCO — At long last, Copper Mountain Resort is set to move ahead with installation of a new lift on the north side of Tucker Mountain. The lift was originally approved in 2006, but according to the January 5 scoping notice from the U.S. Forest Service, the exact path of the lift has changed slightly.
New Year’s Eve accident marks first avalanche death of the season
FRISCO — A hiker trying to climb one of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks died in an avalanche on the last day of 2014. The accident happend on the Kelso Ridge approach to Torreys Peak, a 14er along the Continental Divide between Summit and Clear Creek counties.
Numerous resorts sign on to letter calling for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions
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.
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 “October heat wave delays start of Colorado ski season”→
The 2014-2015 Colorado ski season starts Friday, Oct. 17 at Arapahoe Basin
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.
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!
Resort officials discuss best way to allocate tickets to powder-crazed Front Rangers
FRISCO — Vail Resorts announced Tuesday that it’s curtailing sales of the so-called Epic Pass effective April 1 due to overcrowding on the slopes of Breckenridge, Keystone and Vail.
The move came as part of a rebranding effort that will see Vail Resorts focus on quality rather than quantity, chairman and CEO Bob Slatz said in a prepared statement.
“This spring break, we’ve come to realize that enough is enough,” Slatz said. “We’ve listened to our customers and we’ve heard them loud and clear. Starting April 1, the Epic Pass will be history.”
The announcement came after a busy weekend at Breckenridge, when the lift line for the Colorado SuperChair extended from the base of the lift to within about 100 feet of the top.
“It was kind of ridiculous,” said Aurora skier Charles “Tazzie” Wayright. “We got on the lift, side-slipped down to the end of the line and then rode back up again. By the time we got to the top it was time to head back to Denver to try and beat the I-70 jam,” Wayright said, adding that the drive back to the Front Range “only” took five hours.
“A couple of weeks ago, it took us four hours just to get from Breck to the tunnel,” he said, wondering whether Vail will replace the Epic Pass with some other product.
Breckenridge Ski Area chief Cat Rambell said the resort is thinking about using a lottery system to allocate precious day passes among Front Range skiers who flock to the slopes on snowy weekends.
Another option is to direct skiers according to their vehicles, Slatz added, quickly saying that it wouldn’t be a case of vehicular profiling.
“If you think about it, it makes sense. Hummers and Escalades will be directed to Beaver Creek; all other giant SUVs go to Vail, and, oh yeah, Volvos, too,” Slatz said. Minivans will be steered toward Keystone, while Subarus showing the slightest bit of rust will have to make the trek up to A-Basin.
*Bwah-hah-hah-haaaa … APRIL FOOLS! I’m actually a big fan of Vail’s pass products. I think it makes skiing much more accessible and attractive. It’s absurd to blame Vail Resorts for I-70 traffic jams because it sells a product that people want.
That said, they could probably optimize their pricing to incentivize off-peak travel and skiing. In my mind, that would include a higher-priced unrestricted pass and deeper discounts for mid-week skiing.
And what about, finally once again, a locals pass that includes ALL local resorts, specifically Copper and Loveland.
FRISCO — Colorado powder seekers will line up for the rope drop at A-Basin’s Montezuma Bowl today, with steady early season snowfall ensuring plenty of freshies on the resort’s backside.
This season’s opening comes a month earlier than last year, and the resort announced that several intermediate runs will be open and groomed from top to bottom, including Columbine and Larkspur. Some of the favored tree-skiing stashes will also open, including Miner’s Glade.