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November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving at Brian Head

Brian Head received almost a foot and a half of snow while we were there between Tues and Saturday, but it was still the White Ribbon of Death. That being said, the skiing was great on very limited terrain. Nice and fresh. Good coverage.

My wife is a saint. When asked to go to the condo for Thanksgiving, she said no way in hell. I started to plead my case and she didn't hesitate in saying, "That doesn't mean you can't take the boys and go, I just don't want to."

I made turkey, potatoes, stuffing, and some gravy and it was a little bit difficult to cook at 10k feet. We normally stick to simple stuff like spaghetti or frozen pizza, but it turned out OK.

Hoping for some more snow and for cold temps. They were making snow on Heavenly Daze trying to get things open on Giant Steps from top to bottom.

Posted by Justin at 02:17 PM

November 24, 2008

Aspen Times Article on Business Climate at Aspen

Check the article on Aspen preparing for the economic slowdown:

ASPEN — The leadership of the Aspen Skiing Co. anticipates business could drop between 5 and 15 percent this season.

David Perry, Skico’s senior vice president, mountain division, said tough economic times make it difficult to gauge what will happen, but the company is braced for business to go downhill. The projection for a 5 to 15 percent decline is based on current lodge and hotel bookings in Aspen and Snowmass Village.

Skier and snowboard rider visits are the industry standard for gauging business. A visit is the purchase of a lift ticket or use of a season pass for any part of a day.

“This is an unprecedented circumstance we find ourselves in,” Perry said. “It’s really difficult to look historically at the business ups and downs and say ‘Oh, it’s just like ’91 or it’s just like after September 11th.’ It’s not. This is different. It’s global, it’s deep, and there’s still big turmoil...

Some resorts are responding to the global economic crisis by cutting back on staff. Intrawest, one of the giant operators in the ski industry, acknowledged last week it is laying off employees at resorts, including Steamboat, Copper Mountain and Winter Park in Colorado. Intrawest didn’t disclose how many people will lose their jobs.

It is gonna get rough out there. But it is a good time to look for deals.

Posted by Justin at 02:44 PM | Comments (1)

November 21, 2008

Ski Deals Abound

MSNBC has the lowdown on some good deals:

Those who shop early and aggressively stand to save considerably. Vail Resorts, a company with five luxury properties in top California and Colorado skiing destinations, is offering two money-saving promotions for travelers who book early. The "baggage bailout" deal gives guests a $50 credit when they stay four nights or more and book by Dec. 1.

Avid skiers can also purchase the Epic season pass for $579 until Nov. 15. The pass, which is good for unlimited and unrestricted skiing at Vail Resorts, is a huge savings over a typical $644 seven-day lift ticket.

Under $600 for a season pass at Vail. That is a sick deal

An analysis in a recent issue of the National Ski Areas Association Journal found that strong snowfall often trumps lagging consumer confidence and economic factors. During the 1981-82 season, when the country was experiencing a deep recession, robust snowfall helped the industry rebound to 50.7 million visits from the previous season's dismal number of 39.7 million visits. On the other hand, the industry suffered its second-worst season on record in 1990 when a recession and limited snowfall kept skiers away from the slopes.

"Good snow has the ability to trump all other realities," says Michael Berry, president of the NSAA, a trade organization based in Lakewood, Colo. Berry hopes that early snow will launch the season but doesn't expect business to surpass last season's banner year, during which there were 60.5 million visits to ski areas. As resorts try to drive visits with discounts, Berry says consumers should take advantage earlier rather than later.

Pray for snow.

Posted by Justin at 10:49 PM | Comments (4)

November 12, 2008

Article on Footbeds

Interesting Article on Custom Footbeds:

After you've spent thousands of dollars on new skis, boots, poles, pants, parka, helmet and logged hundreds of hours in ski school, there's one $40 item that is almost guaranteed to make you ski better - custom footbeds.

Footbeds (also called orthotics) are custom made insoles that you insert into your ski boots. They are designed to support your foot and transfer the movements from your hips, knees, and legs directly to your skis. They also can cure a number of common problems such as pressure points and sore feet. Without them, you may not be able to ski your best.

Unlike other sports, skiing depends on providing your feet with solid platforms. Think of footbeds as the foundation of your house and your feet and legs as the studs that support the building. As you apply pressure to your feet by standing and moving your knees fore, aft, left and right, your feet are designed to absorb pressure by flattening, or "pronating." While that may be a good thing when running or walking in tennis shoes and sandals, it can work against you while skiing.

Footbeds are designed to support the bottoms of your feet so that as you flex your ankles forward or to the side, they transfer the movements directly to your skis so you can make those perfect turns. Your feet will flex and flatten, making it difficult to control the edges of your skis without footbeds.

Make sure your boots fit properly by visiting a boot fitting technician at your local ski shop before you invest in a pair of footbeds. Some of the best places to find qualified boot fitters are in towns located near ski resorts. Assuming that you do have a good fit, ask the technician about the types of footbeds his shop sells. Most sell a wide variety that cost $40 to $200. While you can buy less expensive, pre-made footbeds, you'll get more benefit from having them custom made to your feet.

I had my footbeds made by the Deep Powder House at Alta and also had them take out some hotspots in my boots where the shell put pressure on my Cankles. They were awesome and it made all the difference in the world to have my boots fitting like a glove.

I have had my Nordica Beast boots for going on 5 seasons now and have had my footbeds since the beginning. I paid $300 for the boots on end of season sale and paid $150 for the footbeds. Seems pricy until you feel the difference. These are high performance and very stiff boots and need to fit precisely. When I wear my old boots, they seem loose and sloppy.

Posted by Justin at 05:00 PM | Comments (1)

Snowbird to Open This Weekend

From the SLC Tribune:

Snowbird announced Wednesday it will operate the Tram and two lifts, Gadzoom and Mid-Gad, starting at 9 a.m. Friday, the second-earliest opening in the resort's 38-year history. More than 3 feet of snow has fallen there this month, building upon a base created by snowmaking. Early season all-day lift tickets will cost $62. "This storm and the subsequent lake effect have provided a timely blanket of snow in Little Cottonwood Canyon," said Snowbird President Bob Bonar. "Skiing early season powder is a great way to kick off the season." The Regulator Johnson run off of the top of Hidden Peak will be open for skiing, along with Big Emma and Bassackwards.

$62 EFFING DOLLARS FOR A PARTIALLY OPEN RESORT?

OK, that is kinda crazy. But it does open skiing for the SLC area and that is a good thing.

Posted by Justin at 04:53 PM | Comments (2)

November 08, 2008

Politics and Utah Ski Industry

You have got to be kidding me:

SALT LAKE CITY - Utah's growing tourism industry and the star-studded Sundance Film Festival are being targeted for a boycott by bloggers, gay-rights activists and others seeking to punish the Mormon Church for its aggressive promotion of California's ban on gay marriage.

It could be a heavy price to pay. Tourism brings in $6 billion a year to Utah, with world-class skiing, a spectacular red rock country and the film festival founded by Robert Redford, among other popular tourist draws.

"At a fundamental level, the Utah Mormons crossed the line on this one," said gay rights activist John Aravosis, an influential blogger in Washington, D.C.

"They just took marriage away from 20,000 couples and made their children bastards," he said. "You don't do that and get away with it."

Salt Lake City is the world headquarters for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which counts about 62 percent of Utah residents as members.

The church encouraged its members to work to pass California's Proposition 8 by volunteering their time and money for the campaign. Thousands of Mormons worked as grassroots volunteers and gave tens of millions of dollars to the campaign.

The ballot measure passed Tuesday. It amends the California Constitution to define marriage as a heterosexual act, overriding a state Supreme Court ruling that briefly gave same-sex couples the right to wed.

The backlash against the church - and by extension Utah - has been immediate. Protests erupted outside Mormon temples, Facebook groups formed telling people to boycott Utah, and Web sites such as mormonsstoleourrights.com began popping up, calling for an end to the church's tax-exempt status.

He is calling for skiers to choose any state but Utah and for Hollywood actors and directors to pull out of the Sundance Film Festival. Other bloggers and readers have responded to his call.

"There's a movement afoot and large donors are involved who are very interested in organizing a campaign, because I do not believe in frivolous boycotts," said Aravosis, who has helped organize boycotts against "Dr. Laura" Schlessinger's television show, Microsoft and Ford over gay rights issues.

"The main focus is going to be going after the Utah brand," he said. "At this point, honestly, we're going to destroy the Utah brand. It is a hate state."

Seriously? This is supposed to intimidate Mormons HOW? A cursory understanding of the history of the Mormon Church would enlighten him that Mormons tend to be less than threatened by what happens outside of Utah. The boycott might affect some tourist businesses, but the Utah Ski Industry and the Sundance Film Festival are not run by the Mormon Church. So to get back at Mormons, attack Utah. To get back at Mormons, attack the Utah Ski Industry.

Dude, if you want to go after the Mormons, you gotta bring more than just a bunch of pissed of homosexuals to that kind of party. You gotta start by martyring someone. Mormons have been through more than just a boycott or two. I have family members from generations back that pushed handcarts to Salt Lake to flee religious persecution. And to have a bunch of California gays talking about hate and a hate STATE... that my friends would be Missouri. That is a hate state. Tell the gays to leave California for Massachusetts by handcart and when they get there, to talk about hate states.

Please take your dollars and stay away.

Posted by Justin at 04:40 PM | Comments (2)

November 06, 2008

Affordable Skiing Article from Europe

Great Article from a new site in the UK--talkskiing:

The advice here is fairly obvious: choose a less well-known resort or one which has a reputation for being inexpensive. In other words, do not give in to the temptation of booking the penthouse suite at The Lodge in Vail, Colorado. Doing so would set you back over $6,000 per night and whilst the accommodation is truly magnificent, you can probably do without a massage centre and swish piano bar for a couple of weeks.

Quiet, inexpensive resorts which nevertheless offer world-class skiing include Saalbach-Hinterglemm in Austria. This resort is a less obvious choice than Les Arcs in France for example. If you choose to stay in Saalbach-Hinterglemm, you will be able to ski on over 120 miles of well-maintained slopes. The cheapest time of year to visit the resort is at the beginning of the season, although there are usually some good deals to be found towards the end of the season as well. As a general rule, avoid booking a skiing holiday over Christmas and New Year as this is one of the most expensive periods of the ski season. Similarly, the school holidays at Easter and February half-term should be avoided. If you are able to leave booking until the last minute you may be able to pick up a bargain, particularly before Christmas or in January, after the schools go back.

You should also try researching the ski resorts of Eastern European countries, such as Slovenia and Bulgaria. These resorts often provide great value for money as well as fantastic skiing conditions. If you don't fancy Eastern Europe then why not try Andorra? Although it is a country that you may not associate with a winter break it is a great, and, best of all, very cheap, destination for a skiing holiday. The resorts are much quieter than in other European resorts and you will find unavoidable extras, such as lift passes, surprisingly reasonable. At the time of writing, there was a lovely chalet suitable for up to five people on offer for under £350 per week, available in the beautiful village of Encamp, Andorra.

Lots more, but a quick rundown on European resorts is never a bad thing. Most of the article is directly applicable to the States.

Enjoy.

Posted by Justin at 11:50 AM | Comments (1)

Orbitz Top 10 Ski Resorts

Orbitz published their list of the top 10 ski resorts but it appears that they just published destination resorts as opposed to some of the real gems that lack some of the night life. Here is their list:

  • 1) Lake Tahoe
  • 2) Breckenridge, Colorado
  • 3) Park City, Utah
  • 4) Vail, Colorado
  • 5) Aspen, Colorado
  • 6) Keystone, Colorado
  • 6) Winter Park, Colorado
  • 8) Whistler, British Columbia
  • 9) Banff, Canada
  • 10) Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

I would have added Alta-Snowbird to the list, not just for those two resorts, but for both little and big Cottonwood Canyons sporting 4 resorts within 20 minutes of each other. The skiing is better on the West side of the Wasatch because of the amount of snowfall from Lake Effect.

I also would have added Big Sky, Montana and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Both offer massive mountains and Jackson just replaced their tram.

From what I understand, Mammoth is a heck of a place to ski. with both size and ample snow. But it is tough to make a top 10 list because you leave something off every time. Of my favorite places to ski, Alta is top of the list.

Posted by Justin at 10:26 AM | Comments (3)

November 05, 2008

The Edge of Never

More shwag--The Edge of Never:

In the world of big-mountain skiing, Trevor Petersen was a legend. Appearing in countless films, magazines and photo shoots, his ponytail flying behind him, he was the very embodiment of the freewheeling spirit of extreme skiing in the 1980s and early ’90s. Then it all came to an end. On February 26, 1996, while skiing in Chamonix, France—the so-called Death Sport Capital of the World—an avalanche swept Trevor away. His body was found sitting up in the snow as if gazing at the mountains he loved.

Nearly a decade later, Trevor’s fifteen-year-old son, Kye Petersen, a rising star in his own right, traveled to Chamonix to ski the run that took his father’s life and, with the aid of some of the world’s greatest ski mountaineers, to become a member of skiing’s big-mountain tribe. There to chronicle Kye’s story was William A. Kerig, a filmmaker with a dream of his own—to create a film about the soul of big-mountain skiing and the band of mountaineers who ski the steepest, wildest, most dangerous terrain in the world.

In The Edge of Never, Kerig gives us not only a ripping adventure tale about a young man coming of age but a frank and subtle portrait of the extreme skiers who "live big" in the face of death and risk everything to experience the fullness of life in the mountains.

I am 40 pages in and just got the book two days ago. I am really enjoying it and the prologue alone had me hooked.

I got yelled at by my wife for reading while the kids were trying to get ready for bed last night. “It must be nice that one of us has time to read.” I ignored her because I was too busy reading.

Posted by Justin at 12:20 PM | Comments (1)

MSNBC Article on Ski Bookings and the Economy

MSNBC has an article on the economic downturn and the impact on the ski industry:

The good news for the Mathes — and anyone else who wants to go skiing — is that the penny pinching might not be so bad this year thanks to the creative measures ski resorts are taking to combat the slumping economy.

Extra nights lodging, ski rental packages, cut-rate lift tickets, stay-and-ski deals, upgrades — all are part of the promotions resorts are using to lure people to the mountain.

Of course, there's always going to be a portion of the population that's going to ski no matter what; snow's falling, they're headed for the hills.

For the rest of us, skiing is a luxury, something easily cut from the budget when things get tough. Paying rent or skiing? There isn't much debate.

Ski resorts are aware of the competition for consumer money and they're doing everything they can to hold onto their share...

Even luxury resorts, which normally don't feel the economic sting quite as bad, are taking measures to keep their numbers up.

The Park Hyatt Beaver Creek has taken the unprecedented step of extending some of its discount offers to the holidays, a time when the hotel fills up without much effort.

It is an excellent year to vacation if you can afford it. Gas prices are almost half what they were a year ago. It helps me a ton since I drive most of the time.

Posted by Justin at 12:16 PM

November 03, 2008

Swany Gloves

I got my Swany gloves that I need to demo. They are seriously pimpin'. Jake wants a pair too.

Can't do much to try them out in PHX right now, but am ready to give them a workout at Brian Head. They are very well made and probably better than the Burtons that I have been using for the last two years. Warmer pockets. Double stitched.

They fit me like a glove--ok, and no OJ jokes either.

Posted by Justin at 02:20 PM | Comments (1)

Season Pass Purchase

Just bought my season passes. One adult plus three kids--$986. Not a bad deal. I wanted to get a buddy pass for a friend which would have only been an extra $220, but could not make the ski pass sale in Vegas.

I am praying for snow.

Posted by Justin at 02:14 PM | Comments (1)