As resorts in North America started wrapping up the 2012/2013 ski season, abundant snowfall has resulted in some resorts extending the season, at least through the weekend of 19-21 April. Among the resorts keeping their lifts and facilities going for the upcoming weekend are Colorado’s Copper Mountain, Vail Mountain and Breckenridge. Aspen Highlands had already committed to staying open through April 21, but now plan to reopen for the weekend of 27-28 April. Winter Park Resort had also committed to a closing date of 21 April and is currently sticking with that, while Loveland Ski Area has plans to remain running until 5 May, and Arapahoe Basin Ski Area is reportedly keeping its options open to extend its season into June.
In honor of its 40th anniversary, Copper Mountain is offering daily lift tickets at $40, with Sierra, Timberline and American Flyer being open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday between 9am and 4pm. Retail, rentals and restaurant facilities will be open at Center Village. Noting that “Mother Nature is a fickle business partner”, president and general manager of Copper Mountain Resort Gary Rodgers went on to say that the extended season was a good way of thanking loyal guests for celebrating the resorts 40th anniversary. In addition to receiving more than a foot of snow since Copper Mountain’s original closing day, snow is forecast for Wednesday and Thursday, with the possibility of more during the weekend.
Vail Mountain has received up to two feet of snow since Monday, with the irony of a snowstorm after closing day not being lost on skiers who had enjoyed what was meant to be the final weekend of Vail’s 50th anniversary season. With steady snow falling during an employee ski day on Monday, Vail management took the decision to extend its season, something which it apparently hasn’t done since the 1986-87 season. While it may seem that it’s an easy decision to stay open, it is quite a challenge for the resort’s management to gather and reemploy staff and care for other logistics. But when it means more time on the snow, no challenge is too great to overcome, and skiers no doubt understand that services offered will be limited to the basics. If the comments and ‘likes’ on Vail’s Facebook page is anything to go by, the resort is in for an exciting and busy weekend as skiers and snowboarders head back for the slopes.
With her spectacular Audi FIS Alpine World Cup slalom victory in Zagreb, Coatia, on January 4, 2013, Mikaela Shiffrin became the first American to win two World Cup slalom races before the age of 18, as well as becoming the youngest woman since 1977 to win two World Cup slalom races in one season – her first win of the season being at Âre in Sweden on December 20, 2012. Her margin of victory in Zagreb was an astounding 1.19 seconds and the popular 17-year old was crowned as Snow Queen following the event, while regaining the honor of wearing the red bib as the World Cup leader in her discipline. Proving that she is has what it takes to be a champion, Shiffrin has finished on the podium in each of the last nine technical events she has competed in.
Born on March 13, 1995, in Vail, Colorado, Mikaela Shiffrin discovered her talent for snow skiing at a young age, winning a Nor-Am Cup super-combined race at Panorama, BC on December 14, 2010, at the age of 15. In her next three Nor-Am races – a super-G, a grand slalom and a slalom – she took second, third and first place respectively, following this up with first place in two Nor-Am slalom races at Maine’s Sunday River. Her bronze win for slalom at the FIS Junior World Ski Championships at Crans Montana in Switzerland shortly after, brought her to the attention of the international skiing community.
Two days before her sixteenth birthday, Shiffren made her World Cup debut in a giant slalom event at Spindleruv Mlyn in the Czech Republic. In April 2011 she became the youngest American skier to earn a national alpine crown when she won the US National slalom title at Winter Park, Colorado. Her first World Cup podium win came at Lienz, Austria, where she won third place at slalom on December 29, 2011. Her second podium finish was a third place at Levi, Finland, on November 10, 2012.
Following her victory, Mikaela Shiffrin was quoted as saying “I was in the zone where you feel like you’re skiing well and you almost feel unstoppable”. Certainly, this young skier has made an impression and is no doubt on her way to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, with a growing fan-base wishing her well.