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Ski Area News Archive

We're moving! As promised back in November, this news blog is being revamped as part of a new website, Ski Bum USA. Gondyline will remain the "Home of the Old School," and with even more of a focus on ski history, memorabilia, lost ski areas, and generally where the sport has been. SkiBumUSA.com is designed for those who live to ski and snowboard, and to help you pursue your passion, regardless of skill or profession.

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News prior to December 1st 2014 is archived below.

25 November 2014 Southern California is online! Mountain High opens today, Snow Summit tomorrow, and Big Bear will spin 'em Friday. Lift tix top out at $45 for this early season opportunity...Oregon's Mt. Bachelor opened yesterday with fabulous conditions...move north a bit and the story isn't nearly as good at Crystal in Washington State; they've got snow but not enough and rain is on the way...move even further north and it's just as bleak at Alyeska; the Alaskan resort has no snow at the base and temps are too warm for their small battalion of snow guns...but the good news is piling up at Alta and Snowbird, getting snow by the bucketfull; three feet in the past two days...Swain NY set to open Friday...a lot of northeast resorts looking for something to come of this predicted Thanksgiving storm; appears that Catskills, Berkshires, Southern VT will get the bulk of it, with potential for some of the Maine areas to cash in as well. It's a wait and see...but this forecast is making a better picture for places like Ski Liberty and Whitetail in Southern Pennsy, as well as Maryland's Wisp which is about the same latitude. Whitetail will open Friday...Virginia biggie Wintergreen aiming for Saturday; that appears to be quite doable if they get just a touch more cold weather...good news out of Vermont, Okemo may get their new six-pack up and running this weekend, which would be about three weeks ahead of their original projection...how about this: Ted Ligety is expected to train this week and may race next Sunday at Lake Louise with his surgically repaired hand in a splint. One thing about ski racers, they are a fearless bunch...New York's Belleayre will not open Thursday, storm or no storm; they'll open Friday and remain so until April.


At first glance the picture at Wisp, MD looks pretty bleak, but with these sizable whales and a bit more cold they could be ready to open any time.

24 November 2014 We take you to North Dakota for the first time in the (almost) 11 year history of this column, pleased to report that Huff Hills in Mandan opened on Saturday, earliest in their history and first time prior to Thanksgiving. They'll reopen weekends until Christmas, then open daily for the season...Indiana's Perfect North Slopes dropped the ropes this past weekend with about three-quarters open; this was the earliest in 35 years...kudos to all the small-but-mighty ski areas that have pushed for an early opening...in the Tahoe area, Heavenly and Northstar joined Boreal and Mt Rose in the open ranks this past weekend; they've been struggling with a nasty drought...early season much happier at Grand Targhee; opening weekend skiers and boarders enjoyed a 55" base and yesterday they woke up to a half-foot of fresh...Tough news from the FIS World Cup circuit, bad hand injury had Mens GS Champ Ted Ligety in surgery; he'll be out for an unspecified amount of time and no word yet if he'll be up for the World Championships in Beaver Creek. With both Ligety and Aksel Lund Svindal out, they might as well just give the overall to Marcel Hirscher now...New York's Peek'n'Peak turned their snowguns on over the weekend, that's unusual as they tend to be more conservative...Ohio's Boston Mills, Brandywine and Alpine Valley remain quiet, no word yet on opening day...Southern Pennsy's Ski Liberty has piles of snow melting right now, it's a sorry sight but no unusual for the Gettysburg area that more or less straddles the Mason-Dixon line...Arizona Snowbowl has scheduled the 28th as opening day; meanwhile Sunrise Park down by the Mogollon Rim opened with limited terrain this weekend...Taos will open on the 27th...Intrawest has announced that William Jensen has resigned as CEO for personal reasons, naming Thomas Marano to replace him, with Stratton pres Sky Foulkes promoted to COO.


Let's hear it for Huff Hills, North Dakota!

21 November 2014 Utah's Alta, Snowbird and Solitude all dropped the ropes today...Vermont's southern giant Mount Snow opened today with trails from the summit plus stuff at Carinthia...Titus Mountain in New York State opening tomorrow, it's their earliest in the history of the resort, and a shout out to our Canadian friends who can easily hit Titus and send me some Timbits...At least one eastern resort is playing it cool, that would be Bolton Valley VT, scheduling opening day for December 13 instead of riding the thermal roller coaster that is sure to come any day now. Stratton also conservative, but they do count on some sort of Thanksgiving business so they are calling for a November 26 opening...Mountain Creek NJ opening a hike-up terrain park tomorrow; might be worth checking out as they are also hosting the Hidden Valley Ski Patrol's annual ski swap tomorrow. Some people might be scratching their heads right now, but you read it right. Hidden Valley (NJ -- not Missouri) is closed for the forseeable future so the patrol has moved...Loon NH opened a bunch more terrain, they'll have more tomorrow than they've had some years at Christmas time...Wildcat NH reopened today...Treetops joins a slew of other Michigan resorts open this weekend, however we're seeing forecasts for temps in the 40s and drizzle...Peak Resorts IPO kicked off today with a price range midpoint of $10. The stock goes under the ticker SKIS and has a 25 day quiet period until December 16, lockup is 180 days. Shares opened at $9 and closed about a half a buck lower.

20 November 2014 with afternoon update Pacific NW areas opening ahead of schedule; Mission Ridge and Whistler-Blackcomb will open Saturday...the smaller Valley segment of Colorado's Loveland opens tomorrow...everybody's getting in on the early opening act; even venerable Aspen Mountain will open Saturday, five days ahead of schedule...NY metro area skiers gear up; Hunter just announced that they'll spin the Kaatskill Flyer tomorrow at 0900, probably because Windham is now saying they'll open. Not to be outdone, Belleayre opening Saturday...Vermont's Bromley now scheduling Saturday as opening day, they'll be open Sunday as well then close until Thanksgiving. Sugarbush, Stowe and Smuggs also opening Saturday...Bittersweet in Otsego, MI open now...Earlier report follows...New York's Bristol Mountain; yesterday mentioned that they haven't really benefitted from the snow in Buffalo, but the have been cranking it in the cold temps. Well apparently they've taken a cue from the closest city and blown a bunch of it -- they're opening the well known Rocket Run today, and they're gonna stay open...Pennsy's Blue Mountain has indeed announced that they'll open for the weekend on Saturday at 8 am, it's the earliest in their history...but they've been scooped for first in the commonwealth honors by Big Boulder, which will open a terrain park today at 3 pm...Wild Mountain Minnesota was first in the midwest to open, now they're announcing 100% open, might be the first in the nation to do so...Reminder for any Down East Dickerers that Black Mountain of Maine will host its Second Annual Benefit Auction this Friday, November 21st, 2014 at the base lodge at 5:00pm...on Friday Michigan biggie Boyne Mountain will join sister resort Boyne Highlands in the open ranks...a couple of big biggies counting down the days; Oregon's Mt Bachelor set to open next week, as is Wyoming's ever popular Jackson Hole...fyi working right now to revamp this website a bit. We'll be re-branding this news column on a new site, and turning Gondyline more toward vintage skiing information, memorabilia, history, old school, and most importantly, a place where you can share your memories.

19 November 2014 Well all that snow in Buffalo is having a residual effect on Holiday Valley; they're gonna open Friday, a week ahead of schedule. This is quite the localized storm; Bristol is only 90 miles away but the sun is shining. Bristol is, of course, making snow right now to go with the light dusting they received overnight...Western readers and even some New Englanders pooh-pooh these areas, but past the Catskills they are really the biggest game in town until you get to Terry Peak in the Black Hills, which by the way will open December 6th. Right now they're making snow and taking what the sky gives them, should be in very good shape by then...Arizona Snowbowl working on runs in the Hart Prairie and Sunset sections, plans to open on the 28th...a Denver based lodging consortium says winter bookings in western states are about 7% ahead of this time last year, backyard syndrome I suppose...in Vermont Sugarbush opens to the ticket buying public on Saturday. Jay Peak opening Friday for passholders...in Michigan it looks like Ski Brule may get its entire front side open sometime Friday or Saturday, planning to have the whole mountain open for Thanksgiving. With three feet of snow on the ground in some places, that may very well happen...in eastern Pennsy Blue Mountain has snowguns going like Ullr on steroids. They're having a job fair Sunday at noon. Based on how their system is cranking, I wouldn't be surprised if they do some sort of soft opening in the very near future...no smiling faces at Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard right now, the early season snow is mostly gone...Washington State Mt. Baker hosting its annual backcountry film festival on Saturday. As usual they do not have a scheduled opening day. They just wait patiently for the snow to come, knowing that when it does, they get absolutely pounded. I bet they'll spin the lifts before Thanksgiving.

18 November 2014 Earlier this season I reported Bode Miller retired to raise racehorses, not entirely true, he's going to compete in a few races and then in the world championships at Beaver Creek. Not sure how this will shake out since he's now scheduled for back surgery; "He's getting surgery in California with a doctor who specializes in endoscopic spine surgery," says wife Morgan Miller, but intends to return to competition in time for Wengen in mid-January. Talk about a test, the Lauberhorn races are among the longest and most grueling on the schedule...Looks like Snowbird will open Friday, a day ahead of schedule...Jackson Hole will open the 27th...still snowing in parts of the east, and Killington is now pointing the guns on the Caper trail, barring a meltdown they will have Rams Head open for Thanksgiving...shout out to the nordies, the Noquemanon Trail Network in Marquette, MI has mid-season conditions including quite a few kilometers of groomed track and skate open, wow...intelligent news out of Nova Scotia, Anna Sperker was on a class trip at Ski Martock back in 2007, and on something called the Strawberry Run she collided with Harold Lownds. Long story short, Lownds got a separated shoulder and sued everybody for everything, including the cost of re-sanding his boat. (That's not a misprint) Judge said no dice, you aren't supposed to stop in the middle of the trail. I tell you the American legal system could learn a lesson about personal responsibility from our neighbors to the north...add Grand Targhee to the list of likely opens this coming Friday...let's finish up the day with happy thoughts of Michigan. Call it "Two Peninsula Tuesday" if you want. First off, Boyne Mountain in Boyne City, Boyne Highlands and Nub's Nob in Harbor Springs, also Ski Brule in Bessemer have all opened to some degree; those four will all open for regular season hours on Friday. All will have a bunch of trails, but the good news is for the nordies who are enjoying 100% of the XC terrain at Nub's. Meanwhile, both Mt. Holly and Pine Knob in Clarkston have been open with a varied schedule. Two more resorts will add their names to the open rolls on Saturday, they would be Treetops in Gaylord and Caberfae in Cadillac. Both of those had been scheduled for the end of the month, but the falling snow and ringing phones prompted more immediate action. It's all good!


Stock image of Treetops Resort, Gaylord Michigan. They'll spin the lifts on Saturday.

17 November 2014 If I may borrow a line from Mean Gene Okerlund, "folks, talk about your action!" There's been plenty of it this past weekend with resorts opening left and right. In addition to those mentioned here on Friday, we saw a few audibles called on Saturday...Montana's Great Divide spun the lifts Saturday...Oregon's iconic Timberline Lodge had the famous Palmer Chair spinning Saturday and Sunday, likely won't spin again until the weekend...Mt. Hood Meadows had a small but very cool jib park operating while a foot of snow fell on the resort...in Michigan, Boyne Highlands did a soft opening yesterday, free skiing on the Heather slope off the MacGully chair; they closed again today, likely reopen next weekend...also in MI Mt. Holly surprised us by opening Saturday...another surprise Jiminy Peak Massachusetts did a soft opening yesterday, reduced pricing for a handful of trails, closed again today. Even though these are limited operations, still good to see and hopefully bodes well for the season proper...same deal in Wisconsin at Granite Peak near Wausau; they'll reopen on the 22nd. Granite upgraded their Riblet Triple for the season, the old chair has been sold and installed at small but mighty Mt Pleasant of Edinboro, a 320' family operation outside of Pittsburgh. It's one of those little operations that is simply fantastic and an absolute treasure to have in the community. Prior to this -- which they will call the Highlander's Triple -- Mt. Pleasant was limited to surface lifts...Okemo Vermont opened for the season yesterday, looks like they have top-to-bottom skiing on two routes...Pennsy's Blue Mountain turned on the guns this weekend, they're targeting November 28th...meanwhile in Colorado the good news continues; Arapahoe Basin gathered in a foot of new snow total over the weekend...Minnesota's Lutsen Mountains opened over the weekend, lots of terrain and snow. Well maybe not "lots" but plenty for the crowds on hand. They shut down for the week, they will be reopening Thanksgiving week if not sooner...Speaking of Minnesota, Vail-owned Afton Alps also had a few runs open this weekend, they're closed for the week and expect to re-open Friday or Saturday with 100% of their terrain ready. Yes it's a small area but that's still very cool...snowing in most of New York State today; Hunter talking of a Friday 21st opening...in Maine Sugarloaf is kicking off full-time operations for the season today; they were limited to weekends previously. And not a moment too soon; snowing quite a bit up there...couple of upsets on the World Cup circuit this weekend, sort of upsets, namely Mikaela Shiffrin and Marcel Hirscher did not win. Slovenian star Tina Maze took the women's slalom in Levi on Saturday, while Norway's Henrik Kristoffersen topped the men's podium yesterday, edging Hirscher by a tenth of a second. Shiffrin finished a disappointing 11th...back to Montana, Pomerelle got over a foot and a half of snow this weekend, plans to open this coming Friday. They'll be on a holiday & weekend only schedule until December 12th, which is a fairly intelligent way to proceed at this time...Mammoth California dropped the ropes this weekend and was rewarded with a mild dusting of fresh snow...snow keeps falling in Jackson Hole it's gonna be some kind of season in those parts...optimistic for midwest...going to remain cautious regarding the northeast. Have had my heart broken too many times seeing top-to-bottom skiing in November, then skiing on grey snow in the rain by the end of December.


Mt. Holly in Michigan, showing off the snowmaking firepower they used to open this past weekend.

14 November 2014, with updates 1 & 2 Michigan's Mt. Brighton set to open Sunday...bunch of hills in Wisconsin open this weekend, namely Little Switzerland, Sunburst Winter Sports Park and venerable Alpine Valley Resort over in Elkhorn...Adirondack biggies Gore and Whiteface announced that they will both open Sunday morning...Remember Steamboat filed a suit against the Visit Salt Lake tourism whatever? The Utahans kicked off an ad campaign this season for "Ski City USA," and promptly got sued by Steamboat. At first I thought, well, they gotta be suing them because the slogan is so damn stupid and it makes the entire sport look idiotic. But no, it wasn't that. Steamboat was suing them for infringement on their "Ski Town USA" trademark. Well it has just been settled, lawsuit dropped, no word on what the terms are other than Salt Lake City will make some sort of change to the ad campaign. This is like Salt Lake is saying, ok, if you drop your lawsuit we'll stop smacking ourselves with hammers...Snow keeps falling at Arapahoe Basin and Loveland, 7"yesterday at the Basin and even more on the Mississippi side of the Divide...in Virginia Homestead Resort has turned the snowmakers loose...New Hampshire's Loon Mountain has been blowing snow like gangbusters, somebody said, "why wait for Saturday!" so they cranked up their lifts this morning...temps dropping in the east means a bunch of ponds are being drained; in the Catskills Windham and Hunter have been going around-the-clock. Hunter still calling for opening the 21st...fiercely independent Plattekill isn't going to make snow any time soon, but they have received some natural stuff and they've scheduled a job fair for November 29th. Platty is one of those places that may not have the best lifts or the best snowmaking or the fanciest lodge, but when it's "on" and you ski it, you don't miss any of those things. Plus, the beer is priced better...single adult ticket midweek at Breckenridge this season? Just $118. I know, you're probably thinking, well that's a two-day ticket with a discount. Nope, that's one day. But take heart, they discount it all the way down to $108. for seniors...Killington has redoubled its efforts on the snow cannons and should be open to the K1 base tomorrow morning...and small but mighty Wild Mountain in Taylors Falls, MN will be 80% open this weekend. How about that!


Hunter Mountain, NY yesterday.

13 November 2014 Casper Wyoming residents with kids would do well to head to Casper College tonight, youth registration night for ski and board programs at local Hogadon Ski Area. Tonight's event includes detailed explanations of the various programs available for all ages and abilities...If the season opener of Down East Dickering has inspired you to head to Maine and make some deals, I'd strongly suggest the second annual Black Mountain of Maine benefit auction next Friday the 21st, it's definitely for a good cause (keeping the hill open) and the auction includes everything from a cord of wood to a lighted toilet seat...6" fresh snow yesterday is enough to set the Lenawee lift spinning at Arapahoe Basin; now offering top-to-bottom with the addition of the Lenawee/Dercum's route. If you've never been spacin' at the Basin that is one of the greatest intermediate cruisers on the planet and it is simply wonderful. A-Basin has a reputation for experts only but I tell you that's not the case...Canonsburg Ski and Ride near Grand Rapids MI turned on their snow guns around midnight this morning, earliest day in their history...Looks like two new lifts will be online at Crystal Mountain in the Pac NW; you may recall Chair 6 was obliterated by a patrol-triggered avalanche. Good thing they did it or people would've been killed in a slide. Anyway they also upgraded the Quicksilver lift...interesting news out of New Hampshire; Bretton Woods early season tix are just $19 now through December 19th...down the road at Loon the guns are back on and they will open Saturday...Western New York's biggie Holiday Valley plans to fire up the snow guns on Monday, maybe sooner, targeting the 28th as opening day...down in eastern Pennsy new owners at Alpine Mountain are going to open an ice skating rink this winter, and once you get cold you can step into the newly rebuilt base lodge. More important than anything, I suppose, they will be re-opening the long shuttered bar in that lodge...nearby Camelback scheduled to open on the 28th...Stratton VT talking about opening on the 26th....Ragged Mountain NH looking at December 6th...FIS World Cup gearing up for slalom races in Levi Finland; women Saturday and men on Sunday...Ligonier Township PA supervisors have approved plans to renovate and reopen the lost ski area at Laurel Mountain, including a new lift. The Commonwealth will now put the project out to bid with hopes of reopening next season (2015-16)...mentioned the new chair at Summit at Snoqualmie at the Summit East section some time back, just found out it is one of those conveyor-loading things. I'm still not used to those contraptions...Powder Mountain Utah upgrading the Sundown double to a quad...Brian Head down south took out the Giant Steps triple and has put in a high speed quad...lines will be shorter this season at Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort, updating chair 2 from a double to a quad...Breckenridge Colorado has updated the very cool Colorado Super Chair to a six-pack...even bigger is the new lift at Beaver Creek which has updated the Centennial Express HSQ to chondola, alternating six-packs with 10-person gondy cabins.

12 November 2014 11" fresh snow earlier this week at Jackson Hole...seems Aspen Skiing Co AKA SkiCo has some sort of fitness test required for all of its 1500+ on-mountain employees (lifties, patrollers, instructors, etc) and while this was causing a bit of alarm in the community, turns out it's not so bad. Fewer than 1% have failed, all of whom did so for medical conditions...looks like Nordic Valley in Utah is back. Follow this if you can. Nordic Valley went out of business over a decade ago, then was re-launched as Wolf Mountain which ran along as a local hill with fabulous conditions for a few year. Then Wolf went out of business, now new owners are in and reverting to the Nordic Valley name. My problem with all this is that it's an alpine ski area; I don't think they're offering much of anything for the nordies. Anyway they have a tremendous expansion plan, and have supposedly begun cutting trails...looking forward to the addition of Cherry Mountain to Utah's offerings this season; if you missed the announcement it's the Beehive State's newest resort, about five minutes south of the Idaho border...did I mention Solitude will spin lifts beginning Friday?...down in Colorado Breckenridge going to try to reboot its season on Friday as well; they were set for this past weekend but the thermometer said machs nichts...Vail calling for the 21st...Northeast gearing up for the first real cold snap of the season, plus the Boston Ski Show to get people in the mood...or the temporary opening yesterday at Sugarloaf, they spun a lift I assume as some sort of test or soft opening, sent people up the hill, closed today, reopen Saturday...Sipapu New Mexico originally targeting Nov 15 opening, sorry to say not gonna happen....back to Maine, our Utah correspondent Bill O'Hara reminds me that the new season of the TV's Down East Dickering kicks off tonight. If you haven't seen it, it's a combination spin-off of American Pickers and The Walking Dead...Salt Lake City tourism something or other keeps sending e-mails promoting Ski City which I of course read as Sin City since I never heard of Ski City. Why would I want to go to a city to ski? What happened to Ski Utah? This and more to be answered on tonight's episode.


If you live in New England or the Rockies and you wonder why they bother to ski those modest hills in the midwest, this is why. Photo yesterday afternoon from Ski Brule on the Upper Peninsula.

11 November 2014 Salute to our Veterans today, we thank you for your service!...Seattle metro area skiers and riders looking forward to the annual Ski Dazzle event this weekend, it's at the Century Link Field Event Center and kicks off Friday at 3:00 PM...news out of New York state is confirmation that Thunder Ridge will open this season. With the retirement of long time operators Mary and Bob Conklin, this was somewhat in doubt a couple months ago. Recently the property owners assembled a "group of returning managers and employees" and confirmed the area will open...news that will make you shake your head, FIS World Cup has banned skiing violinist Vanessa Mae for four years after finding that her qualification races for the Sochi Olympics were severely manipulated to give her the necessary points to qualify for the games. The "races" were organized by her manager and held in Krvavec Slovenia. The GS events were overseen by FIS officials who were either a) paid off b) incredibly stupid or c) intoxicated at the time, as the results included racers who never even participated. Mae competed for Olympic glory on behalf of Thailand based on her father's citizenship...Ski Utah has announced that something called "The Mountain Accord" is being organized to bring the ski industry, government agencies, and the Save Our Canyons group together to discuss the One Wasatch plan, in which the ski industry hopes to interconnect a bunch of resorts to rival the European model of skiing from place to place. Not since the Potsdam Conference have we seen such rivals planning to meet and try to work out an agreement...Loon Mountain NH targeting Friday to kick off the season.

10 November 2014 Add California to the list of opens; Boreal got it going this weekend up in the Sierras thanks to some aggressive and creative snowmaking. Tough to do, as virtually the entire state has been in a drought situation. Same deal across the border at Mt Rose Nevada; open but limited terrain...word is Breckenridge postponed opening day...Season getting started, slowly, but starting. Anyone who can't get to the early season white ribbons of death can get their fix at a screening of this year's Warren Miller movie. Now I don't normally hawk for Warren Miller Entertainment because, since the old man gave up control, the movies have been fairly lame. This year No Turning Back is a lot better than recent efforts. New Yorkers can get all sorts of goodies at showings sponsored by Swain Resort Thursday in Buffalo, Friday in Corning...the good news out of Wisconsin continues at Mt. Lacrosse; added a new Pisten Bully during the off-season, watch for a job fair coming up November 18 and 19...add Wildcat and Bretton Woods to the list of open areas; both spun lifts on Sunday. Wildcat's opening is easily the most impressive thus far, I don't care where you are coast to coast, they're serving up good coverage on 2,000' of continuous vertical, wow...and Wolf Creek Colorado opened with, uh, not much...back to New York State, attention ski bums, word is that Greek Peak is hiring. No job fair scheduled, but they're looking for a LOT of bodies...Bristol and Hunter both had some snow. Hunter blowing more; they're fighting the thermometer but still hoping to spin lifts on November 21st...Lutsen Minnesota scheduled to open Friday; planning to serve the 10th Mountain lift with novice and expert terrain. They're also making snow on Moose and Ullr, hoping to open those by the 22nd...Stratton and Jay VT made snow this weekend...earn-your-turns enthusiasts in Jackson Hole are watching closely for a soon to be announced route change at Snow King. This is the "other" ski area in Jackson Hole, and it happens to be the one with the most popular AT uphill route....FIS World Cup headed to Levi Finland this weekend for slalom competition.

7 November 2014 White ribbons of death expanding, albeit slowly, at the few open areas...Loveland has added the Spillway section; may have more for the weekend...first snowfall in New York's Catskills this week. Long time early opener Belleayre now operated by the Olympic Regional Somethingorother hopes to spin lifts on November 28th. Not too long ago they'd open a week before Thanksgiving; Belleayre benefits from having one of the highest base elevations in the northeast, little known factoid there...in Utah, Solitude says they'll open Friday; Brighton and Alta/Bird will follow a few days later...Sugarloaf Maine got a nice blanket of natural snow, and they had the guns firing for a couple days this week. There were rumblings that they might join sister resort Sunday River by opening this weekend, but no further word out of the north woods...Still a few ski swaps going on; get on that google machine if you haven't already marked your calendars. This is the best way to put kids on skis without spending a damn fortune. This weekend: NMX Sports in Santa Fe New Mexico; Cannonsburg up in Michigan; West Mountain New York; Pioneer Park Civic Center in Fairbanks Alaska; and in Osseo Minnesota at the Pioneer Midwest warehouse.

6 November 2014 Small but mighty Ski Brule in Michigan is scheduled to open tomorrow; it may just be a single rope and slope (depending on tonight's snowmaking efforts) but hey it's great news, and not that surprising as Brule is often first to open in Michigan...Reminder for east coasters, Albany Ski Show this weekend; Boston next...5" of natural snow fell on much of Arizona Snow Bowl but it's mostly melted off. The Flagstaff area sleeping giant is hoping to open by the end of the month...sometimes karma turns around and bites you right in the cheeks: 60-year-old Mark Leung of California sentenced yesterday to a year in prison and $160,000 in fines. Mr. Leung had been collecting workers comp at the expense of the US Postal Service since 1987 (!) when he claimed to sustain a work related injury. Since 1987 he's been signing an annual certification that he's been unable to work due to limited mobility and range of movement. Apparently this injury didn't have the same affect on his skiing; Leung has been a passholder at Heavenly since 2007 where he regularly logged about 40 aggressive days a year on the slopes. Unfortunately for Leung this was a serious red flag for US District Court Judge John Mendez...back to the midwest, neighbors Blackjack Resort and Indianhead Mountain are merging; the new venture will be called Big Snow Resorts but I think they're keeping the individual names. Plan is to run a complimentary shuttle so that skiers and riders can experience the whole shebang. Closest trails are about 3,000' apart, however there is a road and a waterfall that make a connection difficult. Odd man out is Big Powderhorn which is down the street...great news from Norway Michigan, down by the Menominee River, Norway Mountain has new owners who are working to get it open for the first time in a couple years. Wonderful little upside-down ski area. Wonder if it's important to the community? Judging by the steady stream of cars driving slowly up and down the road on weekends, the answer is a resounding YES...I tell you what these UP areas aren't big, but they get the snow, the people are wonderful, and the skiing is fantastic.

5 November 2014 Season looks like it will get off to a good start in the Sierras; Mammoth got a foot of snow this weekend and has been blowing non stop since Saturday. They're targeting November 13th, next weekend to open...down south, Bear Mountain and Mountain High both got a dusting of snow over the weekend, it made for pretty pictures but no real impact on ski season. Hot, dry weather set to return to Southern Cal...was also sort of a false start for winter up on Mt. Hood; raining at Timberline this morning and melting away the white stuff that was on the ground...better news in Colorado, where Keystone, Copper Mountain and Breckenridge are all scheduled to open this weekend...in New England, Loon is planning to spin lifts next weekend. We'll keep you posted.


Mountain High in the San Gabriels got a bit of a tease this weekend.

4 November 2014 Neglected to mention yesterday that Sugar Mountain and Cataloochee opened with all that snow in North Carolina. Considering they both spun the lifts on Sunday, we have to call a tie for first-to-open. Cataloochee is often first in the east...Bit of a shake-up at SkiCo this week; that's the company that runs the various mountains at Aspen. They're changing their internal reporting structure a bit, which is odd if they are indeed "coming off of a fantastic year" as CEO Mike Kaplan says. I honestly wonder if Vail Resorts' continued growth and the Boyne/Powdr agreement have them concerned. If not they probably should be...second area did open in the midwest this weekend, first in Wisconsin and that would be Trollhaugen which spun a chairlift and a rope tow on Sunday...ski swap this weekend at West Mountain in the southern Adirondacks.


Car Talk's Tom Magliozzi -- thanks for the laughter and memories!

3 November 2014 Finally getting things going in the northeast; both Killington VT and Sunday River open today, but we'll give "first" honors to Maine because K-Mart is only open for passholders. Wear a costume and you can ski free at the Riv. They have some sort of white ribbon of death off the Locke Triple, while K-Mart has stuff in the old Glades area...Wildcat NH trying to get in on the act, firing up the snow guns over the weekend...and on the other side of the Presidential Range, Bretton Woods turned loose their snowmaking on Rangeview and Rosebrook Meadow trails...also in New Hampshire, Loon is blowing this morning...in Vermont Okemo and Sugarbush both made snow this weekend. Okemo just took delivery of their new chairs for that orange bubble six pack and is now targeting mid December for that lift...speaking of new lifts, Gore is working right now on the electricical for the new high speed quad...snow over the weekend in southern Utah at Brian Head...and snowing at Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard up on Lee Canyon Road...temps in the southwest are supposed to warm up this week, but it's still fun to see...Loveland did open Saturday, latest opening for Denver's closest-with-the-mostest in over 20 years...and Wild Mountain Minnesota did spin the chairlift on Saturday, kudos to this little area...Albany NY Ski Show coming up this weekend for New Yorkers.

31 October 2014 Happy Halloween! If you're wondering, I like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups best. Also Baby Ruth bars, Chunky, and Pay Day. And if you remember Marathon Bars, aka Curly Wurly, you are definitely old school...Alright we're calling first-in-the-midwest honors for Wild Mountain Minnesota, which is neither of those things but they are selling tickets and running a rope tow today, planning to add another and a chairlift tomorrow! Kudos to this bunch in Taylors Falls...NY metro areas skiers would do well to head to the Hanover NJ Marriott tonight for the annual New Jersey Ski Council Jamboree it's a good time for all...NY metro area ski bums would do well to head to Belleayre tomorrow, job fair. And if you're hung over from the jamboree and can't drive that far tomorrow, another job fair at Tuxedo Ridge...speaking of Marathons, Seven Springs in western Pennsy has one tomorrow, making two laps around something, I guess adds up to that 26.2 miles you see all those stickers on cars. My sticker has the decimal point in a different spot. A couple spots over, actually...back to New York, Swain has a job fair this weekend...Former US Ski Team racers Erik Schlopy and Kristina Koznick are among the class of 2014 headed for enshrinement in the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in Ishpeming, Michigan...western ski bums have options tomorrow in Tahoe; a job fair for Heavenly and Kirkwood 9 am tomorrow at Heavenly in South Lake Tahoe; another for Boreal and Soda Springs at 10 am in the main cafeteria at Boreal.


Kudos to Wild Mountain in Taylors Falls, MN first ski area east of the Rockies to open, putting the final touches on the slope this morning.

30 October 2014 Huge news out of the southwest today, first of all Arizona Snow Bowl in Flagstaff is being sold to James Coleman of Durango Colorado, who is heading up a group of investors from Arizona, Colorado, and Texas. Snow Bowl has been owned for years by Eric Borowsky, who waged a terrific battle to get snowmaking on his mountains. Borowsky hasn't disclosed the terms of the deal....the other huge deal also involves Mr. Coleman, he's purchasing Durango Mountain Resort, better known as Purgatory, lock stock and barrel. Coleman already has an interest in Sipapu and recently Pajarito in New Mexico. Sounds like this guy is the Les Otten of the southwest!...Guns are blazing on the Home Run trail; Loveland scheduled to open Saturday...sad news out of Nowheresville, Pennsylvania; Ski Denton appears to be shutting its doors...better news elsewhere in Pennsy, resorts everywhere are hiring right now, from a handfull needed at tiny Spring Mountain near Philly to Shawnee in the Poconos, which aims to take on 500 seasonal employees...Jose Canseco accidentally shot himself in the hand yesterday. I once saw that guy launch a baseball into the left field upper deck at Yankee Stadium and he didn't even break a sweat...snow likely tomorrow late morning in the Tahoe region...big snow possible this weekend in West Virginia; Ski The East's Tim Kelley is calling for a couple feet at places like Canaan Valley and says the storm could swing into the Canadian maritimes. Prior to all this it might put some white stuff down in Michigan; we'll be watching for sure...Jackson Hole ski and snowboard swap this past weekend netted $160,000....the late Sarah Burke has been immortalized in the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame, deservedly so. You may recall she died in a halfpipe training accident in Park City in 2012.


Ski Denton, Pennsylvania, closing down. Problem is really the location; it's not the end of the world, but you can see it from there.

29 October 2014 Clearly the biggest news of the day is a "strategic brand partnership" between Powdr Corp and Boyne Resorts which will co-market their combined 17 -- potentially 18 -- ski resorts. They haven't said exactly what this is, other than provide "brand partners" with a "diverse platform" to reach consumers blah blah blah whatever the hell that means. No word yet if this will include cross-promotions on passes, which is really the way to combat the Vail Resorts juggernaut. Boyne Resorts includes Big Sky Montana, Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands in Michigan, Brighton Utah, Crystal Mountain and The Summit at Snoqualmie in Washington, Loon Mountain New Hampshire, Sugarloaf and Sunday River in Maine, and Cypress Mountain in British Columbia. Powdr's portfolio includes Boreal Mountain Resort and Soda Springs in California, Copper Mountain Colorado, Killington and Pico Peak in Vermont, Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort Nevada, Gorgoza Park Utah, and Mount Bachelor Oregon. The potential 18th resort is Snowbird Utah, which is a wildcard since Powdr's Cumming family just bought a stake from Dick Bass, but separately from Powdr...speaking of those resorts, Big Sky has a new trail map this year with additional terrain...in Oregon, Timberline has hinted that it may spin the Palmer chair this weekend if the weather cooperates...Colorado biggies Keystone and Copper are both delaying their openings due to warm temps; they were scheduled to open this weekend but that's not gonna happen. Loveland meanwhile has been running and gunning but still needs a lot more cover on the Home Run trail to get their white ribbon of death open. That leaves just A-Basin as the only open area that I know of, serving up a single run off the Black Mountain Express.


Gorgoza Park, Utah; a tubing/learning area that is part of the new Powdr/Boyne cooperative effort.

28 October 2014 Pleased to report that Heavenly and Squaw Valley had the snow guns on Sunday and yesterday...Neglected to mention that Utah is getting a new ski resort this season, called Cherry Peak and it's up near Richmond. A pair of triple chairs, a 500' magic carpet, complete snowmaking, 20 trails, a brand new lodge, and they plan to open mid November! Good to see this; we'll have more info soon...Longines has announced Mikaela Shiffrin as its newest "Ambassador of Elegance" which would be heady stuff for most 19-year-olds but I guess with Olympic medals and two slalom globes, no big deal. If you recall not to long ago the incredible back-and-forth between Lindsey Vonn and Maria Hoefl-Riesch, I think that the torch has likely been passed to Shiffrin and Anna Fenninger, and I still don't understand why Americans only care about ski racing every four years. Think about it, skiers put their very lives on the line to bomb down a frozen mountain on four edges of steel at 70 miles an hour. Meanwhile, NFL football players go bananas celebrating a meaningless fourth quarter fumble recovery and people gobble it up and pay hundreds and hundreds of dollars to see it. Makes no sense...and I want to point out that this is the time of year for discount cards and tickets, you've got to do your homework and figure out which ones are good and which ones aren't. The one I recommend above all others is the $20 Colorado GEMS Card which enables you to get two-for-one adult tickets, one time each at Arapahoe Basin, Cooper (not Copper; Coop is better), Eldora, Granby Ranch, Loveland, Monarch, Powderhorn and Sunlight Mountain Resort. The card is $20 and has a couple blackout days. But listen, think about this, you pay $20, get the card, go to A-Basin and plink down another $69 and you get two tickets. So you've paid less than $45 per adult ticket, and that includes the cost of the card. Next day you go over the pass and get two adult tickets at Loveland for $63, about $32 per adult. Now obviously you need to recuperate, so the next day you motor down to Leadville and grab a pair of tickets for $48 at fantastic Ski Cooper (natural snow only; better than sweet butter). Now if you've done the math you see that this is three days of incredible skiing for two people at a TOTAL cost of $200 for lift tickets. For goodness sakes it's a fraction of the cost of Vail, Breckenridge etc. and none of the parking headaches, no shuttle bus rides, no $15 cheeseburgers, and the only place you might wait on line is briefly at the bottom of A-Basin. We are not paid to endorse this in any way, and do not receive a commission if you go buy it. It's listed here -- and it's the only card you'll see listed here -- because it's that good of a deal. Think about it, reasonable air flights to Denver, rental car, cheap condo rental in Frisco, and the Gems Card, and that dream of skiing in Colorado can be a reality. Here's the link.

27 October 2014 The FIS World Cup season got underway this past weekend on the glacier at Soelden. USA wunderkind Mikaela Shiffrin got her first GS victory, albeit sharing the top spot with Anna Fenninger -- they finished dead even. News yesterday I guess is the un-shred-like 10th place finish for Ted Ligety; top spot went to * yawn * Marcel Hirscher. With Svindal out, they could just give the overall to Hirscher now and save a lot of time...guns are back on at Loveland...NY metro biggie Hunter Mountain has scheduled November 21st as opening day; somebody ought to tell the weatherman about this. Regardless, Hunter installed a couple new magic carpets in the off-season at Hunter One, which is great for the tots...troubled Lost Valley in Auburn Maine is definitely "on" for the season, thanks to local volunteers and fundraising efforts. Work crews covered the slopes this past weekend...Squaw Valley working to thin some forested areas of 5,000 dead or diseased trees; will add a bit to the skiable acreage count.

24 October 2014 Canada's important Ottawa Ski & Snowboard Show is scheduled for this weekend, it's absolutely free and a wonderful show, I encourage anyone who can to get out and go, support the city and show the bad guys we won't cower in our homes...Northeast resorts trying to get things going, but not gonna happen with temps set to soar into the 70s next week...Bromley Vermont claiming they're gonna start laying down snow November 1st, will believe it when I see it. Regardless, they'll be targeting November 28th to open...northern New York ski bums can head to small but mighty Titus Mountain in Malone for a job fair Nov 6th. Titus added a new carpet lift this year, that'll make it easier to teach the tots...Snowbird Utah serving up free sightseeing tram rides this weekend with a Utah Food Bank donation, which is very cool. Some hardcore skiers pooh pooh sightseeing lift rides; personally I enjoy them -- makes the upcoming season seem just a little bit closer. But for some reason I don't like aerial rides that aren't at ski areas, they scare the crap out of me. Go figure...interesting pass deal being served up in the banana belt; North Carolina Ski Areas Association offering "Gold Cards" for $820 a pop, they give the cardholder unlimited, unrestricted access to all of the state's resorts, including Cataloochee, Sapphire Valley, Beech, Appalachian, Wolf Ridge and Sugar. For what it's worth, Cataloochee is often first to open in the east...news from FIS World Cup has the annual Serge Lange Trophy going to Overall Ladies Champ Anna Fenninger. The trophy is awarded each season by the International Association of Ski Journalists. Well deserved for Ms. Fenninger! Meanwhile here in the USA the headlines are going to Lindsey Vonn, who just sort of announced that she's targeting her return to action for the December 5 Super G event in Lake Louise...and they get the season underway this weekend with Giant Slalom competition on the Rettenback Glacier in Soelden; ladies Saturday, men Sunday. Look for Mikaela Shiffrin to improve on her 6th place last year, and of course Ted Ligety is always tough here.

23 October 2014 Dustings across parts of the country yesterday, put a little bit of snow from here to there, Anthony Lakes in the Pacific Northwest, also on Sugarloaf in the northeast. Not enough to ski on, but certainly pretty to look at and hopefully a harbinger...back to the northwest, calling all ski bums, Summit at Snoqualmie has a job fair scheduled for Nov 1st; Baker and Crystal plus a few others are still hiring...one of the best unsung ski areas in the nation may be facing its final season, this is Skiland near Fairbanks Alaska. Owners' lease is up in April, and a Canadian mining company wants to dig it up. This would be a real tragedy; Skiland is one of the few places you can buy a lift ticket during the day to ski, then another at night to view the aurora borealis. Awesome place; here's a video worth watching...

Skiland, near Fairbanks Alaska may be in its final season.

21 October 2014 It's official, New Mexico's troubled Pajarito Mountain is being taken over by the people who run Sipapu. Pajarito has been run by the Los Alamos Ski Club, and they're still in the picture, but the day-to-day ops and the assets will be transferred to the Sipapu group. They're saying Pajarito will return to a full schedule, opening Thanksgiving Day...Western New Yorkers would do well to head to the annual Buffalo Ski Show this weekend in Williamsville, kicks off Friday evening...the on-again, off-again IPO from Peak Resorts is back on again according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Peak, which got started with Hidden Valley Resort in Missouri, now operates a smattering of midwest resorts including Paoli Peaks Indiana, and northeast biggies Mount Snow VT, plus Attitash and Wildcat in New Hampshire. Same company that brought Crotched NH back from the dead. The IPO is said to be a $100 million offering, 80% of which will be used to pay down debt. The planned NASDAQ symbol is SKIS...Summit County ski bums capable of fogging a mirror can probably find something that pays Thursday at the Summit County Winter Job Fair in Silverthorne; Breckenridge Resort, Keystone Resort and the usual transportation and hospitality service companies will be on hand. Breck and Keystone are going to have another round of recruiting at the Keystone Conference Center November 13th. But if you want to work at a real cool ski area, head to Leadville November 1st for a job fair at Ski Cooper; ok to use me as a reference.

20 October 2014 Indeed A-Basin dropped the ropes on the High Noon route Friday; they're still open and busy as of this morning...over the divide at Loveland it's just too warm and the guns have been off...news last weekend that President Obama creating San Gabriel Mountains National Monument in southern California, giving that land full protection under National Park Service guidelines. Question came up in skiing circles, will this have any impact on Mt. Baldy Ski & Snowboard Resort? Answer is yes and no, the monument boundaries are planned to leave Baldy outside the park, which means fewer future headaches and Baldy will continue to lease land from the US Forest Service. Impact apparently will be on any future expansion; the Monument is said to pretty much eliminate any chance of developing the "back side" of the area. Incidentally there are a couple of operational ski areas at National Parks; Badger Pass in Yosemite and Hurricane Ridge in Olympic come to mind. In the east, Boston Mills and Brandywine are both within Cuyahoga National Park...major news from the FIS World Cup circuit, apparently 2-time overall mens champ Aksel Lund Svindal will be out for the season, following an achilles tendon injury while playing soccer...Aspen Skiing Co keeps losing out in a lawsuit against their former Sr VP of hospitality Paul Cherrett; seems SkiCo loaned Cherrett half a million bucks and they want it re-paid. Cherrett is going through a chapter 7 bankruptcy and SkiCo is among those holding the bag...speaking of SkiCo, they've announced that the guns will come on November 1st at Aspen Highlands in the Golden Horn and Thunderbowl areas, but only for race training. Highlands won't open to the public until December 13th, along with Buttermilk/Tie Hack. SkiCo season gets underway at Aspen Mountain (Ajax) and Snowmass on November 27th...midwest biggie Lutsen Mountains has announced November 15-16 as targeted opening weekend, that's good news...I don't usually hawk about pricing deals, not a patsy for the ski resorts, but a good deal is a good deal, and in this case bears mention. Pico Peak Vermont (Peak...a little personal missive there) has announced midweek deals for the upcoming season, $24 tix for ladies on Thursdays, $24 tix for men on Fridays, and $24 tix for anyone 50+ on Mondays. You can't beat that...word from Ski Area Management magazine is that pre season ski trip bookings for Colorado are up about seven percent.

16 October 2014 It's right upon us, Arapahoe Basin has announced that they will spin the lifts and drop the ropes on High Noon tomorrow (Friday 17th); mayhem is sure to ensue but hey it's great to get the season started for real...Mixed news out of Vermont concerning the troubled Ascutney Resort, which has been shuttered for a couple years; local town has agreed to purchase the land and prevent development on the tract. Upside is they're gonna reserve it totally for open space and recreation; downside is they say nothing about alpine skiing in their plans.

15 October 2014 New Mexico's Sipapu cranked up the snowguns yesterday morning...elsewhere in the Land of Enchantment, Taos announced a Thanksgiving opening...Popular northwest ski swap run Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort, Oregon, benefits the patrol squad, this Saturday at the Riviera Activity Center...move farther north and west and we've got a couple on Saturday in Alaska. Nordies will delight in the Nordic Ski Assn of Anchorage swap at the Kincaid Bunker and the Eagle River Nordic swap at Beach Lake Chalet...Alyeska area nordies take heart, there is an open house scheduled Sunday by the Girdwood Nordic Ski Club with waxing demos, drinks and snacks, and I believe a contest on who has the loosest spandex. Just kidding about that last part...popular northeast ski swap Mt. Peter New York, Sunday at the mountain...amateur racing news, move by the USSA to standardize dimensions for U14 and U16 age classes this season took parents a bit by surprise. Seems it took manufacturers and distributors by surprise as well; turns out there isn't a lot of gear available that conforms to the new dimensions. So they've backpedalled a bit and said, ok, this season the U14 and U16 athletes can use other stuff, except at selected championship type events. If you haven't seen the new dimension rules, please click here for downloadable pdf. Even if you aren't a racer, it's worth a look to see the requirements; FIS World Cup standards are on the list...back to Oregon, Hoodoo and Mt. Bachelor are pointing to opening on Thanksgiving, assuming Mother Nature agrees...plans to build an indoor ski facility in Grand Prairie, Texas along with a Hard Rock hotel, indoor luge track and heaven knows what else. The ski slope proper is slated to be 300' vert and 1200' long...and now a bit more down-to-earth, we're pleased to announce that a brand new ski area, albeit a nordic area, is opening on hallowed ground in Sugar Hill NH. New but very old Ski Hearth Farm will offer 23 km of XC trails and 5k of snowshoeing trails, along with rentals, grooming, and a "base" lodge. I say hallowed ground because this village has been home to countless ski hall of famers: Back in 1929 Katherine Peckett built the first ski school in the USA on property adjacent to Ski Hearth Farm, and hired Sig Buchmayr to run it. Enzo Sarafini lived nearby -- he's the guy who published America's first popular ski magazine. Roland Peabody lived at Peckett's; he developed the Cannon Mountain aerial tramway and ran the mountain until his death. He also put on the first ski jump demonstrations at Madison Square Garden and was PSIA Badge #1. The Ski Hearth Farm itself was originally owned by none less than Sel Hannah, 1930s national champion who was later involved in the design and development of some 250 ski areas in North America. Not to mention Sel's daughter Joan Hannah, who won Olympic bronze in Chamonix. Sel Hannah is believed to be the only ski area developer to be shot at, allegedly by Mary "Mountain Maw" Warner who was losing her property to eminent domain during construction of Canaan Valley West Virginia. (Hannah won Mary over by helping her dig potatoes). And finally, the Ski Hearth Farm was owned by the Bode Miller family for a few years. Well I left a couple out, but I suppose that's enough of the bonus history lesson for today. Cool stuff. The US Ski Hall of Fame is in Ishpeming, Michigan, and the New England Ski Museum is right at the base of Cannon Mountain. If you've read this far today, you gotta add those to your short list.


Sel's Choice, Okemo, Vermont

14 October 2014 News out of Europe has some blaming the GoPro mounted on his helmet for the severity of Formula One great Michael Schumacher's head injury. I suppose it's possible, although GoPro says not. Still, their stock sank about 10 percent yesterday...tiny Alpine Mountain in the Poconos is in the national news, as it's right in the middle of the search area for Eric Frein, the lunatic who ambushed troopers at the police barracks in Blooming Grove, Pennsylvania. The area is a warren of steep ravines, heavy woods, abandoned resort properties and vacation homes just north of Stroudsburg. Meanwhile, Alpine Mountain is targeting the second Saturday in December to kick off the season...speaking of odd news out of the east, the producers of Jersey Shore are casting for a new series to be set at a ski resort, featuring the same formula as the booze-and-sex fueled summertime hit. No word yet on which resort...Snowshoe West Virginia has announced Nov 26 as likely opening day; they often hit that but some years have had to shut down shortly afterward. The other biggie in WV, Timberline, is talking December 12...once again it looks like Arapahoe Basin will take honors in the annual Colorado first-to-open sweepstakes, although Loveland may have a trick up their sleeve -- they are blowing snow over at the Valley section, which would be easier to open than their usual route and probably the same length as the High Noon route over the hill. The guns are going at Big L's usual early season white ribbon of death, but it's still quite igneous at the bottom. I wonder if they're considering opening the Valley...yes it's that time again, the World Cup white circus is gearing up for its usual GS events on the glacier at Soelden.

10 October 2014 Although the Commonwealth of Kentucky has exactly zero operational ski areas, it's about to gain one of the biggest name skiers in the history of the sport as World Cup and Olympic Champion Bode Miller will move in soon. Mentioning his fondness for mint juleps, Bode is mostly retiring from skiing and preparing to go into the horse racing business...I'm not kidding. Well, except for the part about the juleps...speaking of former champions, Norwegian World Cup Cross Country star Petter Northug was just sentenced to 50 days in jail and fined 185,000 Norwegian, uh, krohners? (About $30,000 US) Northug was found guilty and sentenced for a wild drunk driving binge last spring. This was hot on the heels of his non-Olympic performance; if you saw it the announcers kept saying "where's Northug?" and "look! There's Petter Northug, he must be getting ready to make his move" as the camera would pan wildly among the middle of the pack. Northug says he'll be back; he's only 28 years old and certainly the nordie world would benefit from the return of its most decorated champion...natural snow fell yesterday at both Loveland and A-Basin, they're pitted in their annual battle to see who can crank the lifts and drop the ropes first on a white ribbon of death. Loveland has a longer run to cover, but potentially has just slightly colder and drier weather -- like a millionth of a degree or something. It's actually a good gimmick for both areas, and they benefit marketing-wise from each other's efforts...snow this morning in the east at Whiteface and Jay Peak...well Steamboat Resort, CO is suing Salt Lake City, UT over the latter's $1.8 million Ski City USA promotional campaign. Steamboat, which owns the trademark Ski Town USA is calling it an infringement on their mark. The Utah resorts involved in the campaign include Alta, Snowbird, Brighton, Solitude...and now for some high-tech humor, this from California where an e-commerce site for Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows was briefly selling season passes for one whole dollar yesterday due to a programming glitch. A couple hopeful skiers happened to see it and figured it was an error, but said "what the heck" and ordered anyway. Lo and behold they received e-mail confirmations of their $1 season pass a few hours later. This was of course followed a few hours after that with a "sorry we made a mistake" e-mail. To recoup some dignity from this miscue, Squaw and Alpine are going to give the handful of $1 purchasers an option on a half-price pass...speaking of unbelievable pass deals, young Vermonters would do well to look into Bolton Valley's $159 unlimited all-access pass for 18-25 year olds. Damn that's a good deal...since we're in the neighborhood, news at Stowe this season is a new fixed grip quad at Spruce Peak, replacing the old Alpine and Easy Street doubles, as well as a significant rebuild and overhaul of the summit gondy...another significant quad replacing double is underway right now at Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort...speaking of snowboards, somebody called me out on some old anti-snowboard text lingering somewhere on the site. Alright, truth is that when we kicked off SkierNet in 2003 the sport was still trying to sort out exactly how snowboarding would fit in. At many resorts, particularly those closest to the New York metro area, a lot of kids were running amok on the slopes. Those kids happened to be on snowboards, and the result was a blanket damnation of the entire sport by us crusty old school types still wedeling on our Rossignol Viper 198s. By 2010 the tide was turning, those one time boarders were now skiing switch with their pants down. So we checked out the snowboarding thing, found out it wasn't totally populated by demons, and slowly started editing the anti stuff. When I sold off SkierNet and launched this website, we tried to distance the editorial from all the prior negative stuff. Live and learn, right? Skis or board, respect gets respect. Unfortunately some of the negative stuff lives on. We're killing it off when we find it, but there are a lot of legacy files that you might click into. So please accept my apologies. I love snowboarders. Except Jake. (I'm kidding!) Well now we're gearing up to launch a new site, we'll maintain Gondyline for where the sport has been, new site for where the sport is going. Skiers and boarders together, amen!

8 October 2014 Continuing to play "catch up" with off-season news, pleased to report that Michigan's Norway Mountain is fully back from closing/selling, all the lifts are up to snuff and things are looking great for the upcoming season. They've got some creative pass deals, including free tix to Colorado's underrated Sunlight Mountain Resort and discounted tix at Sunburst and Camp 10 in Wisconsin. Check it out, Norway has a swap scheduled for the weekend of the 18th...a lot of new lifts in the east, biggest and most notable arguably are a new high speed quad at Gore NY, replacing the quirky and underused detachable triple...a completely refurbished gondy at Stratton VT, replacing the lousy one they had...and a sparkling new bubble-top six-pack at Okemo VT, replacing their workhorse Northstar HSQ...elsewhere in the northeast, Massachusetts favorite Berkshire East replacing an old double with a fixed-grip quad, while suburban Nashoba Valley is adding another magic carpet to its mix...Ragged Mountain and Sunapee NH both replacing fixed grip lifts with detachables...and finally in Maine, what goes around comes around, Shawnee Peak replacing a double with a triple, shipping another chair to the coast, where Camden Snow Bowl will use it to upgrade a t-bar. We're sad to see that t-bar go, but our legs are happy about it...speaking of Maine, something of a Cinderella story out of Skowhegan, local hill Eaton Mountain will be running a lower mountain handle tow this season, and they'll have equipment for rent. It's not much but it's great news for the community and even better news for the family that runs it; the GM was severely injured in a freak grooming machine accident a couple years ago. That event really set back what was then a rebuilding operation, so it's great to see how far this has come...ski swap scheduled next weekend at southern New York's Mt. Peter...and new rumblings yet again out of Ligonier, Pennsylvania, officials saying Laurel Mountain will reopen next season...California's Vail-owned Heavenly Mountain Resort, Northstar and Kirkwood will be hosting job fairs this Saturday, looking for 3,400 people for winter operations...temps in the 40s have snowmaking at Loveland and A-Basin temporarily on hold.

7 October 2014 This is the time of year we clear the crap from the tuning bench, drink malty German beer, and catch up on off-season news...one fairly big piece of news in the northeast is pending retirement of Sugarloaf President/GM John Diller, and they're looking for his successor...more fallout in Utah following the Vail Resorts purchase of Park City Mountain Resort, Vail says it's going to do the work necessary to connect PCMR to The Canyons next summer...lot of stuff happening at Breckenridge, replacing the high speed quad Colorado chair with a six-pack, also opening a new restaurant on Peak 9 for those of you who can afford it...up at Steamboat they've announced that the night skiing schedule will expand with two more weekdays...small and mid-sized hills in New England have also been busy, Mt. Abram in western Maine is installing a solar array that will ultimately provide 70% of its power needs...interesting development in New Hampshire, where Dartmouth Skiways took the lead in a new product they're calling the "Freedom Pass." Deal is, you buy a season pass from any Freedom Pass ski area, and for an additional $50 it becomes an all-encompassing pass. The collective includes New Hampshire's Black Mountain, Granite Gorge, McIntyre and Dartmouth; Massachusett's Ski Ward, and Vermont's underrated Bolton Valley. Although these areas lack the cachet of New England's bigger areas, I have to say this would be a no-brainer for the average New Hampshire skier, or any Ski Ward passholder. Kudos to Dartmouth Skiways' Ben Craig for cooking this up.


Small but mighty Ski Ward, Shrewsbury Massachusetts, part of the new "Freedom Pass."

6 October 2014 Huge news out of Idaho, the misfire known as Tamarack Resort getting new wind in its sails with some group called New TR Acquisition Co., or NEWTRAC, taking over the lease and claiming they're gonna pump a couple million into the place. This operation appears to be Canadian based, says they're gonna keep the Tamarack Municipal whateveritis running things...Gearing up for gear...ski swap season is underway, a reminder this is one of the best ways to get good deals on equipment. Usually you can inspect the stuff really well, and ask the swap volunteers for help...and hot on the heels of these swaps will be the early openers; frequent midwest leader Ski Brule in Michigan is optimistically targeting November 7th...drama continues in the Wasatch, as Deer Valley announced that it is buying Solitude. Obvious question, is Deer Valley doing this to combat the encroachment of Vail Resorts' vis-a-vis Park City? Deer Valley says no. The DeSeelhurst family has operated Solitude for decades, and will do so for one final season with transfer expected May 2015...Californians, sick of Utah dominating the daytime soaps, just got in on the action with Mammoth Mountain announcing purchase of the Ski Big Bear operations Bear Mountain and Snow Summit...meanwhile southern Cali neighbor Mountain High trucked in 40 tons of snow this weekend for a jibbing party/demonstration event, they're looking to open for real by the middle of next month...good news in Maine, Auburn's tiny Lost Valley says it will open this season, thanks in part to a $5,000 donation from Sunday River. If you want to get involved, the CrowdRise page is a good place to start...jump to the Pacific northwest, I'm told Crystal Mountain is adding two new chairlifts for the upcoming season...and unless you are living under a rock you probably heard that Lindsey Vonn was back on the snow this weekend, first time since last December...our hearts go out to the families of freeskiers JP Auclair, Carl Andreas Fransson and others killed in an avalanche near the border of Chile and Argentina this weekend. Both were outstanding skiers who elevated the game.


Thanks for the "Kicks" goes out to Paul Dick, aka Paul Revere, of Paul Revere & the Raiders fame...rest in peace.

2 October 2014 BOOM! The guns are on in the west, the mice have been blown out in the east, and skiers across the country have high hopes for another terrific season...unless of course you were in parts of the Pacific Northwest, eastern desert areas, where the season never even got off the ground. Let's hope that turns around...anyway the snow guns have kicked on for real in Colorado; unoffficially a couple days ago at Copper Mountain, but as usual that's a closed trail for the U.S. World Cup team. The festivus for the rest of us is at Arapahoe Basin and Loveland, where they started making white stuff on both sides of the divide...regular readers know that I don't kick this blog off for the season until they crank 'em up at the aforementioned ski areas on US 6. Over the past few months a couple of you asked why I wasn't weighing in on the Park City Mountain Resort vs. Talisker/Vail soap opera that consumed much of the summer, or this or that story, whatever. Fact is I've been busy working on a new format for this blog; hope to serve it by the time they send up that first chair in Summit County...so back to that Park City story...At least the majority of Park Citorians think this is a good thing -- Vail Resorts has bought out Powdr Corp. amidst much legal wrangling over a past due library book or something like that. Indeed a lot of Park Cityfolk are celebrating the dawn of a new era, however I suggest it's more like "meet the new boss, same as the old boss." Nerdy metaphor would be, the Federation was stretched too thin, let things go a bit, so the local businesses are welcoming the Borg with open arms. Hope I'm wrong. Meanwhile the Cumming family (Powdr) saw the writing on the wall, so they went over the hill and struck a deal to take over Dick Bass' Snowbird Resort, which is no slouch. All's well that ends well, I guess...big multi-resort operators seem to shrug off problems that would crush a normal person. To wit, Les Otten, former ceo and founder of the imploded American Skiing Co. is involved in a curious project to rebuild and re-open the venerable Balsams resort hotel and ski area in the north boonies of New Hampshire. Been causing a minor stir in those parts...not a big off season for news in the east, perhaps the most notable is new/updated primary lifts going in at Stratton and Okemo Vermont, and a key lift upgrade at Gore in New York...Bromley VT blew out the mice this morning...most significant new lift in the west I suppose is under construction at Taos; it's going above timberline to Kachina Peak, which has been popular hike-to terrain for decades.


Live image from Loveland today!


Archival News

News from January 1 2014 through mid April is available for your reading pleasure if you click here. News from Summer 2013 through the end of December 2013 is located here. News from January 2013 through the end of the season in April 2013 is available by clicking here.News from October 2012 through the end of December 2012 is available by clicking here. News from January 2012 to the dismal end of the season is located here.
News from January thru December 2011 is located here.
News prior to January 2011 is located on the Oct/Nov/Dec 2010 page. Previous season and earlier news has been deleted and moved to the old "skiernet" news archive from 2009-2010, or for 2008 and older seasons click here.


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Use this to get Lift Tickets at Discount: There is a "clearinghouse" of sorts that many ski areas use to raise cash by selling discount tickets in advance, called Liftopia . If you haven't used this service, it is usually best to know for certain that you are going on a specific date. The deeply discounted tickets must be purchased in advance; generally up to two days out. The sticking point is that some ski resorts only make a limited number of tickets available to Liftopia for any given day, so they might be sold out if you wait too long...so, as soon as you are absolutely, positively sure that you will be skiing on a certain day, click this link to get deeply discounted tickets . I've used this service many times, usually when I am absolutely certain I will be skiing on a specific date. Some resorts offer "flex" tickets with which you can specify the date, and some have a few different tiers of pricing. In other words, you might be able to get a lift ticket that can be used on different days, but you'll pay a little more for that privilege. You need to have access to a printer to print out your receipt, and you have to take identification with you to the mountain. I've knocked a third off -- even half off -- the price of some tickets. Not every area participates, but it's well worth checking before you head to the slopes.

A tiny portion of your Liftopia purchase helps fund this website, at no added cost.

Ski Movies for Mere Mortals

Did you ever feel like those big money ski movies are often a big let-down? You get all pumped up for the new release from some ski film company, and it's mostly incredible footage of guys jumping out of helicopters and shredding down some un-named mountain on the far side of the globe. They're neck deep in powder, skiing lines that you'll never, ever see. If you want ski movies you could actually relate to, a bunch of guys called The Meatheads, from Burlington, VT have made a series of "Ski The East" films. They film at real resorts like Sugarloaf, Blue Mountain, Big Boulder, Mount Snow, Ski Sundown, Stowe, Jay, Mountain Creek, Killington, Sunday River...urban locations ranging from Virginia to Quebec...mogul skiing with The Hammer and Radio Ron...and backcountry throughout New York, New England, and the Chic Chocs. It's simply fantastic -- and since it's the same terrain we can get to, it's inspirational!

Their most popular current release is No Matter What , which received the ski equivalent of an Oscar for the Jay Peak powder segment, filmed during 2012 of all things. One that is probably their best is from a year ago, called Prime Cut . Another favorite is Wanderland: An East Coast Ski Thriller. All Meatheads DVDs have hours of "bonus" footage, so it's like getting three ski movies for the price of one. The links go to Amazon.com, which enables you to order and return if you don't like them. And a small percentage of the sale helps us pay the expenses of this website, at no extra cost to you.

Here's a preview, courtesy Youtube...