Early snowfall, along with state-of-the-art snowmaking equipment, will allow many North American ski resorts to be up and running for the Thanksgiving Weekend this year. Among resorts opening early are Boston Mills Ski Resort and Mad River Mountain in Ohio; Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort and Timberline Four Seasons Resort in West Virginia; and Crystal Mountain and Mount Brighton Ski Resort in Michigan.
Mount Brighton had already opened one lift servicing three runs and as many terrain park features on Monday, with discounted lift ticket prices for snow skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts. Mount Brighton Ski Resort GM Taylor Ogilvie noted in an interview that the ski area will continue with special pricing in the week as more runs open up. Skiers may want to take advantage of these early-bird specials, as once the resort is running at full steam for the season, prices will revert to standard rates. A new lift and additional snowmaking equipment are part of the investment Vail Resorts has made since acquiring Mount Brighton in December 2012. The lodge at Mount Brighton has been renovated and, thanks to snowmaking equipment, natural snow supplements manufactured snow, rather than the other way around. Mount Brighton will be open on Thanksgiving Day from 10am to 3pm, allowing for ski enthusiasts to get in some time on the slopes and still enjoy Thanksgiving dinner.
In Ohio, the Boston Mills Ski Resort will be starting up its lifts at 3:30pm on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Considering the weather patterns over the past few years, which delayed opening due to warm temperatures and lack of snow, this early opening is stirring up excitement among staff and skiers alike. Product manager at Boston Mills, Steve Mackle, noted that the resort has been making snow all week and is planning for a bumper opening, regardless of natural snowfall. Boston Mills is a great snow tubing venue for snow-sport fans of all ages – no skill or experience required.
In West Virginia, Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort opened Wednesday, with Timberline four Seasons Resort sticking to its plans to open December 12, followed by Winterplace Ski Resort and Canaan Valley on December 14. These days may change if the area receives sufficient snowfall.
Northern Michigan’s Crystal Mountain Ski Resort is planning a Thanksgiving Day opening for the first time in many years. Public relations manager at Crystal Mountain, Tom Kramer, noted that relying on Mother Nature to supply all the snow for the resort is not an option anymore and snow-guns have been working virtually nonstop for a week to provide coverage, while temperatures continue to be low enough for the snow cover to last. The resort’s new winch cat has been pushing loads of snow uphill to areas that were once out of reach for grooming.
Certainly, snow sport enthusiasts have much to look forward to this coming holiday weekend, and hopefully for the remainder of the 2013/2014 season.
With the US government shutdown dragging on, skiers may be left wondering whether their favorite US snow sport destinations, many of which are on federal land regulated by the US Forest Service, may be affected. Spokesperson for the National Ski Areas Association, Michael Berry, noted in a recent interview that the shutdown would not have a major impact on the upcoming ski season. He went on to explain that most construction and expansion projects that required approval from the federal government have already been completed in preparation for the start of the season. Projects in the pipeline at various ski areas may face delays, but would not prevent snow sport activities from carrying on as usual in the 2013-14 season.
Of the 350 ski areas represented by the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), 121 are on federal land under lease agreements. The federal government monitors expansion projects and their impact on the environment in a process that is subject to public review. The NSAA reportedly sent a memo out to these ski areas stating that, as the improvements are not government owned, they can continue to operate.
Utah’s Snowbasin and Alta have made it known that it will be business as usual as the ski areas open for the 2013-2014 season and this was backed-up by the National Ski Areas Association’s director of public policy, Geraldine Link. She did note, however, that should the shutdown continue it may impact future plans that require National Environmental Policy Act reviews and approvals.
Meanwhile, snowfall in Colorado may see resorts in this area being the first to start the season. Marketing director for Loveland Ski Area assured skiers that once the lifts are on at the resort, the season will continue through to May. Arapahoe’s communications director, Adrienne Saia Isaac, agreed with this viewpoint. Two years ago, Colorado’s Wolf Creek Ski Area was the first Colorado resort to open, and this year the honor went to Arapahoe Basin which opened to hundreds of visitors on Sunday October 13, 2013.
Located west of Denver, the Echo Mountain ski area was recently sold at an auction to a company that plans to turn it into a ski training center. The new owner of the ski area is Pykkonen Capital LLC and the motivating factor behind the purchase was to provide a place primarily for school-aged young people to develop their competitive skiing skills. The resort will become the new home for the Front Range Ski Club, with changes being put in place as early as November to be ready for the upcoming ski season. Echo Mountain had a decent amount of snow in the past skiing season unlike some North American resorts, and the fact that it lies entirely on private land will give the new owners free rein to make changes to suit their needs.
In a published interview, Nora Pykkonen revealed that she had been considering moving her family to Vail to give her children more time on the snow. That idea was discarded in favor of buying the 226-acre Echo Mountain ski area and turning it into a place where her children could spend as much time as they needed to develop their skiing skills – and there will be top-tier coaches on hand to train them and other keen young skiers, including World Cup skiers Petter Brenna, Sarah Schleper-Gaxiola, Mike Farny and Patrik Järbyn.
Echo Mountain will be set up with stations focusing on specific skills, such as jump starts and sliding. On the completion of their run, skiers will have the opportunity to review their form on video, taking note of where there is room for improvement. Surface lifts will speedily take skiers to their starting points ensuring that every moment counts while training.
Pykkonen reportedly plans on investing $5 million in Echo Mountain in the coming seasons, with the possibility of developing beyond the current 80 acres of skiable terrain to deliver up to 1,500 vertical feet of skiing. Other plans include building a Super G course and a mogul lane, as well as a new restaurant. Snowmaking guns will supplement snowfall where necessary, and a shuttle system is envisioned to assist students across the metro area to get to the slopes.
Previous owner of Echo Mountain, Jerry Pettit, noted that this new development will be an interesting opportunity for young skiers and he hoped in the future to hear of an Olympic skier coming out of Echo Mountain.
Founded in 1976, the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum strives to maintain the legacy of snow sports in the region, specifically by preserving the history of the 10th Mountain Division which was the foundation upon which Colorado’s skiing community was built. The museum also maintains a comprehensive Olympics collection symbolizing the spirit and camaraderie of the snow sport community, and honors achievers by means of the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame.
To qualify for the Hall of Fame, nominees must have made a significant contribution to the sport and industry of either snow skiing or snowboarding in Colorado. The accomplishments of individual nominees must have had a tangible benefit to Colorado, and have enhanced the image of Colorado as a source of skiing and snowboarding innovation. Hall of Fame inductees are voted in by eligible voting panel members.
After careful consideration, the 2012 inductees to the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame were chosen, and are: Bill Bergman, Toby Dawson, Tom Jankovsky, Jerry Gart, John Meyer, Ralph Walton and Paul Testwuide. Bill Bergman is credited with laying the groundwork of resort management – including designing environmentally-friendly trails and initiating snowmaking measures – that are currently practiced in leading resorts. He is considered to be the driving force behind turning skiing into a corporate enterprise.
2006 Olympic bronze medalist freestyle skiing champion Toby Dawson joins Hall of Fame inductees. Among his achievements are 7 World Cup titles and 17 podium finishes during his time with the US Ski Team. South Korean by birth, Dawson is currently the South Korean National Ski Team Coach and helped with that country’s winning bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. As the marketing director for Ski Industries of America, Jerry Gart has played a major role in bringing affordable ski equipment to the residents of Colorado. He founded the Colorado Ski Country USA Ski Lift Program and established Denver/Post Gart Bros. Ski School.
Tom Jankovsky has worked as the General Manager of Sunlight Mountain Resort and has been on the Colorado Ski Country USA Board of Trustees. John Meyer has enjoyed a 25-year career writing for the Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post, and has been recognized as “America’s Ski Writer” as well as being the dean of Olympic journalists in America. Paul Testquide started as a trail crew member back in 1963 and worked his way up to Vail’s Chief Operating Officer. He secured the water rights needed to facilitate snowmaking and managed the sustainable development of Blue Sky Basin, and the rebuild of Two Elks destroyed by arson. Ralph Walton bought Crested Butte Mountain Resort in 1970 and turned it around from bankruptcy to success. Among his achievements are being on the Board of Directors for Colorado Ski Country USA and receiving the Lifetime Achievement Awards from the NSAA. Certainly, these snow sport enthusiasts are all worthy recipients of being honored alongside existing Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum Hall of Fame athletes and innovators.
The Pennsylvania Ski and Winter Sports Museum and Hall of Fame is located in Camelback Ski Area’s base lodge, with additional exhibits in the museum’s Liberty Mountain Annex. In 1994 Alex Bensinger and Alber Dowden headed a group in forming this education organization that is committed to preserving the state’s skiing and winter sport heritage.
The museum’s collection at Camelback in Tannersville includes displays entitled “One Hundred Years of Ski Equipment”, “History of Sledding”, “One Hundred Years of Pocono Winter Sports” and the Hall of Fame. Amongst the items on display are skis, equipment, clothing, sleds, ice skates, posters, biographies, memorabilia and photographs. Organizations that have collaborated with the museum to create a place where the public can learn about winter sports include the United States Ski and Snowboard Association, American Association of Museums and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
The Hall of Fame, also located at Camelback Ski Area, has been in operation since 2002 and has inducted about 50 individuals who have made contributions to snow sports in Pennsylvania, countrywide or internationally. These individuals are honored at the annual Hall of Fame ceremonies and then their names are added to the permanent exhibit. Amongst the Hall of Famers are Howard head, inventor of the metal ski and S.L. Adams, creator of the Flexible Flyer. Founders of various ski resorts have also been inducted, including James Moore (Camelback), Martin Wilburger (Elk Mountain), Dupre Family (Seven Springs) and Irvin Naylor (Roundtop).Others who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame include veterans of the 10th Mountain Division from World War II, National Ski Patrol volunteers, ski retailers, racing officials and ski instructors.
The Pennsylvania Ski and Winter Sports Museum’s Liberty Mountain Annex is situated at Liberty Mountain Resort and Conference Center in Fairfield. This supplement to the main exhibits at Camelback was opened in December of 2007. This museum contains a number of items related to the history of winter sports, particularly those related to Liberty Mountain. There are also plans to expand to other ski areas, opening up small museums across Pennsylvania. Be sure to pay a visit to the Pennsylvania Ski and Winter Sports Museum and Hall of Fame when skiing in the area, as there is much to discover.
Holmenkollen Ski Museum was established in 1923, making it the oldest ski museum in the world. It is situated at the base of Norway‘s famous Holmenkollen ski jump in Oslo. Tours of both the museum and the Jump Tower are on offer, providing insight into the ancient history of skiing, as well as modern-day skiing. In fact, the Holmenkollen Ski Museum covers the history of skiing back some 4,000 years to the Stone Age.
The latest addition to the exhibitions at the Holmenkollen Ski Museum is the “Is it possible?!” display. Located in the new building of the museum, this feature has been designed to challenge people’s perceptions and open them up to the possibilities. It demonstrates how anything is possible for those with disabilities, how difficulties can be overcome. Visitors to the museum are given the opportunity to experience firsthand what it is like to move on a Sitski, as well as what it feels like to shoot when blind.
The museum’s polar exhibitions deal with the expeditions of Børge Ousland, Fridtjob Nansen and Roald Amundsen, with much of the equipment on display having been donated by polar explorers. Two of Fridtjof Nansen’s expeditions are followed. Firstly there is his trip across Greenland in 1888. Nansen is noted for his experimental nature, testing different types of ski gear during the journey. He published “The First Crossing of Greenland” in 1890, leaving a model for explorers who followed him. The next expedition of Nansen’s covered at the Ski Museum is the “First Fram Expedition” to the North Pole in 1893 to 1896. On display is the clothing worn by Fridtjof Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen, along with other artifacts from their attempt to reach the North Pole.
Roald Amundsen’s South Pole expedition is also looked at. This was in fact a race between Amudsen’s group and a British expedition with Captain Rober Falcon Scott. They won the race, arriving at the pole on 14 December 1911, followed by the British on 18 January 1912.
An interesting display is related to Børge Ousland, who in fact borrows pack his equipment when headed on further polar adventures. There are film clips of his solo North Pole trip in 2001 as well as other items on display. Further exhibitions at the Holmenkollen Ski Museum show how skis were used in prehistoric times, as well as the development of skis through the ages. Intricately decorated skis are found in the Old Norwegian Village Skis display. There is a Wall of Fame that is constantly updated, models of the Holmenkollen ski jump and films of famous moments in skiing history.
Holmenkollen Ski Museum is well worth a visit for the whole family. Visiting hours are 10 am to 4 pm in October to April; 10 am to 5 pm from May to September; and 9 am to 8pm in the months of June, July and August.
Protect Our Winters is a non-profit organization that was started by Jeremy Jones, a pro snowboarder, in 2007. The organization is concerned with the effects of climate change on mountains, and in turn on winter sports and communities. Protect Our Winter’s mission is to get the global snow sports community to unite and lead the way in fighting climate change.
Jeremy Jones saw the need for action to be taken when he experienced firsthand the effects of climate change. Resorts and areas that were once open to snowboarders and skiers had to be closed due to lack of snow. The greatest risk to winter sports is the increasing temperatures that will result in decreased snowpack in North America‘s western mountains, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This would ultimately mean less snow, with a shorter skiing and boarding season. While it has been noted that climate change may see more powder in certain areas, the warmer mountains are at risk. It is strongly believed by scientists that if action is taken now, mankind can reduce the build-up of greenhouse gases, lessening the rate and magnitude of climate change.
With this in mind, Protect Our Winters firmly believes that active participation by the community, along with a change in consumer behavior, means snow sport enthusiasts can have a positive impact on climate change. The organization is involved in activitism, education initiatives and other community projects. Amongst their campaigns is the POW Riders Alliance, which encourages winter sport athletes to set an example in reducing their carbon footprint and influence consumer behavior positively. The POW Community Fund/Monthly Grants program offers grants to community based groups working to fight climate change. Through global activism, Protect Our Winters educates others and also brings the community together to create awareness and bring about change, especially in relation to legislative issues.
Protect Our Winters has joined with Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) to establish the Hot Planet/Cool Athletes initiative, aimed at mountain community schools. Through the help of pro-athletes and multi-media, students learn about solutions to climate change and are inspired to take action. The Coal Kills Snow program has been formed along with The Sierra Club, highlighting how burning coal, as well as mining, are poor ways to generate power and are affecting climates in mountain regions. The focus is to move away from coal to renewable energy. Finally, the Resort Partnerships scheme is used to raise funds to assist community projects, as well as creating awareness through events.
A number of Protect Our Winters‘ projects have seen good results and they continue to work hard to save our mountains for the benefit of communities and winter sport fans.
The Salty Peaks Snowboard Shop is located in the ideal location in Salt Lake City, as it is in close proximity to world famous and very popular skiing and snowboarding resorts, such as Canyons, Snowbird, Park City and Brighton. It is nestled between two canyons, namely Cottonwood and Parley’s at Wasatch Mountain’s base. Not only is the shop conveniently situated for winter sport enthusiasts to do their last minute shopping, or to purchase a new snowboard while on vacation, but it is also home to a very intriguing attraction.
The Utah Snowboard Museum offers visitors the opportunity to delve into the history of snowboarding and skateboarding, as it has a collection of more than a thousand items on display. With display areas filled with boards, the ceiling as also become a display unit and each snowboard displays its make and date of manufacture. Depending on funding, it is hoped that the Utah Snowboard Museum can be expanded to accommodate more exhibits, and it is proud to boast the biggest snowboard collection in the world. The museum is a self-funded establishment that relies on donations to keep it running. It was founded in the year 1981, and by 1989, the museum was in full swing. Every make and model that snowboarders can think of is displayed in the museum that ranges from vintage snowboards to the most modern, creating a visual display of the evolution of snowboarding.
Another feature of the museum that makes it quite unique is the display that hosts prototype snowboards that date back to the 1940s and also exhibits boards that were used by the pioneers of snowboarding, as well as snowboarding champions. Visitors will also get to see the longest snowboards ever produced, and visitors are also recommended to explore the Snurfer room. Many of the pieces in the collection have either been sold or donated to the museum, and the Utah Snowboard Museum is constantly on the lookout for places to display either permanent or temporary collections, to promote the sport and educate the public on the history of snowboarding. The Utah Snowboard Museum is most definitely an attraction that all snowboard enthusiasts should visit, as they will be amazed at what is on display, whilst learning more about the sport they are passionate about.
As its name suggests, the Ski Museum of Maine documents the fascinating history of skiing in Maine. Not many realize that Maine actually has a rich skiing heritage to be proud of. Some of the earliest skis in Maine were produced by Swedish immigrants for transportation and were all handcrafted. Primitive to say the least, with toe loops and upturned tips being the only accessories to the planks, they were effective, and the beginning of ski production in Maine. The main mission of the Ski Museum of Maine is to create awareness of the magnificent history of skiing and preserve the skiing heritage of Maine.
In 1995, Don Fletcher, Don Hayes and Greg Foster informally founded the museum when the Sugarloaf Ski Club decided to clear out some of their old files due to lack to storage space. The files dated from the early 1950s all the way to the 1970s and not wanting to destroy all the information, the suggestion of a museum was mentioned. The club’s archives revealed a wealth of information, newspaper articles, photographs and artifacts. In 2006 they held the first exhibition of the collection that they had accumulated, which included boots, skiing accessories and skis made in Maine. In the year 2009 the museum found a permanent home in Kingfield, Maine. Some of the skis and other artifacts are owned by the museum, while others are on loan from collectors such as Glenn Parkinson, and some items have been donated to the museum. One of the most popular items is a set of miniature skis that were crafted by Theo A. Johnsen from Portland, Maine, in the year 1905.
Over and above the documents, artifacts and photographs, the museum also has a section in the museum that is called Fireside Chats. This exhibit has four narrated presentations in the form of a digital slide show, and has wonderful vintage photographs telling the four various stories, which are Down Mountain and Cross Country: 140 Years of Skiing in Maine, An Avalanche of Interest: The First 75 Years of Skiing in Maine, Schuss Boom and Schuss Bust: Fast Paced Growth and Face Plants in Maine Skiing 1946 – 1980’s, and Made in Maine: 100 Plus Years of Craftsmanship in Skiing. The museum is also home to the Maine Ski Hall of Fame, which has thirty-nine inductees from Maine so far who have made a noticeable contribution to the sport of skiing.
Over the last few years the sport of snowkiting has increased in popularity and is now a regular sight on many of the slopes across the world, such as in Sweden, Canada, Austria, Norway, Russia, France and Iceland. It is very similar to kitesurfing, with the only difference being that snowkiting is done on ice or on the snow. It is a sport that has evolved greatly, with foil kites being used when the sport first made its appearance, as opposed to the inflatable kites that are used today.
Using Otto Lilienthal as his inspiration, Dieter Strasilla and his brother Udo started to experiment with parachute skiing. With their testing in 1972, it began to evolve into kiteskiing, which was perfected into a paragliding kite that enabled skiers to swivel the kite, allowing them to change direction. Frozen lakes and fields were used at first, but Wolf Beringer saw more room for improvement, and began to develop a parawing system in 1982. The Parawing system was used over long distances on expeditions. It did not take long before a foil was designed, making kiteskiing more manageable, as the foils had two handles and were much easier for the skier to control. While lakes were being used to do rails, jumps and trick kite skiing, alpine skiers were taking notice and the industry was set into motion to sustain yet another change.
As the millennium began to approach, the limits and boundaries of snowkiting began to be pushed and explored, leading to more defined technologies being created to allow for freestyle snowkiting. Snowkiters are able to travel up and down terrain with the kite, and even speeds and terrains have changed. With more snowkiters taking to the sport, it is becoming a better documented sport with films being made, showcasing the fun, excitement and skills that snowkiting enthusiasts have been developing. Not only have films and magazines been released in regard to snowkiting, but instructors have been trained to assist aspiring snowkiters in regard to skill and safety. As snowkiters become more comfortable they are able to do cliff jumps, course racing, tricks and endurance.