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November 29, 2009

Unexpected Storm Dumps 12" at Brian Head

Not that it opened any new terrain, but the 12" will certainly help. Totally unexpected storm. Started snowing about 2PM as we were coming off the mountain and never let up.

Today is straight up bluebird, but the scary part is it is a foot of powder over plenty of rocks. I didn't hit any rocks on the man-made packed areas but skiing blues and greens on man-made snow is only fun for a little bit unless you are 5.

Nonetheless, a few more storms like this and the resort will be ready to rock for Christmas.

Bad news for Utah folks down here is the resort is closing all but two lifts on weekdays until Christmas. Can't blame them because yesterday was absolutely dead for a holiday weekend on a Saturday. I hope things pick up. Damned economy.

Posted by Justin at 10:48 AM

November 28, 2009

New Snow at Brian Head

It is snowing at Brian Head today. Second day of the season only consisted of a couple runs with Jake and Jarrett because it was such flat light due to the snow, it was cold, and it was basically ice with a dusting over it. Combine that with only a few green runs open and it is a recipe for disaster. But it was good to get my legs under me.

Lindsey spend the day in ski school again and had a blast. She is hooked on skiing and Brian Head is a great place to do it. Full day kids program is normally $95, but with a season pass it is $68. Because she is 5 and under, she gets a free season pass. Net is that it saves me $27 a day and the program is great.

Condo is almost done. They still need to finish the mantle over the fireplace, but for the first time the living room is finished. Busted out the Murphy's Oil and cleaned the entire place.

All in all, a very good weekend. Tera got to relax because Lindsey was gone in ski school all day. Jake and Jarrett have been pretty mellow. Heading home tomorrow AM.

Only real negative--the heater core in the suburban is hosed and we cannot park underground because of the yakima topper on top. It is cold as hell.

Posted by Justin at 07:07 PM

November 20, 2009

Latest Ski Journal is Out

Good stuff as always. The latest Ski Journal just arrived and it is awesome as always. Perfect for the coffee table.

Check the site out:

Mt. Baker, WA – With winter hammering down full force, and our local mountain opening up tomorrow, The Ski Journal's latest edition is hitting homes at the perfect time. The Ski Journal #3.3 features another great line up of timeless stories, new heroes and stunning photos, including: a Wayne Wong interview – arguably the world's most influential freestyler on Sun Valley in the '60s, skiing with Jean Claude Killy, Pepsi ads, being inducted into the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame and a lifetime of charity work for cystic fibrosis; A journey to Antarctica involving broken boats, 30-foot swells, sublime descents and penguin sex; a photo retrospective by veteran Wasatch shooter Lee Cohen featuring a 1970 Buick Le Sabre, $100 passes and two very, very stoked young men; and a profile of JP Auclair, one of the patron saints of the modern freestyle movement on going from Quebec to AK, being harassed in the pipe by snowboarders, and his non-profit work in Kenya. Also: Vermont backcountry touring, a Christian Pondella photo gallery, and becoming a certified Canadian Ski Guide. This issue continues the tradition of quality TSKJ has established, and is on newstands and shipping to subscribers now.

My black TSJ t-shirt is probably the favorite in my closet, but it is now the shadowy black color complete with the start of the the body salt pit stains from total overwearage. I had a Ski Journal sticker on my old work laptop.

If you ski, you must subscribe.

Posted by Justin at 12:39 PM

Megeve Mike Checks In

Megeve Mike has become one of my good friends through the blog over the last few years and runs a private tour / ski instruction company in the Alps. He is an American who speaks fluent French and English and because of his local hookups and knowledge, his service pays for itself. You get top notch instruction from a Level 3 US Equivalent instructor and guide and with the lodging, transportation, and food savings as well as local knowledge, he actually pays for himself. A huge benefit for foreign folks traveling to Europe to ski and for expats living in Europe now.

Here is a link to his www.ski-rosmegeve.com:

As a young boy growing up in Maine, all I wanted to do when I grew up was to have the chance to ski in every ski area that I could dream of. The Rocky Mountains were a must, as was Europe and especially France. During my University years, I taught skiing at the weekends in Breckenridge, and after graduating from the University of Denver, I taught in Vail for five seasons at Gold Peak and Mid Vail as a full-time, private instructor.

Skiing and working in Vail during the 70’s were some of the best days of my life. For me, skiing the back bowls in deep, ultra light powder, and with snow flakes the size of a quarter falling throughout the season, was simply out of this world. The quality of the runs, and the professionalism of the resort personnel who ensured that the slopes were maintained in a first class condition, were amongst the best in the world.

However, as we all know, things change, and today the valley is developed to the maximum. The last time I drove through, everything was lit up like a Xmas tree from the Town of Minturn to East Vail and the start of Vail Pass.

I have been now been out of Colorado for over 22 seasons, and I am currently the Director of a Private Independent Ski School in Megeve, France, and as such continuing to fulfil my boyhood dreams. With over 30 years of ski teaching and coaching in all the major areas of France and the US, my credentials include, ISIA Member, Full Certification in Professional Ski Instructors of America-RM, the prestigious French Government "National Alpine Academy" in Chamonix as a Moniteur de Ski Diplome, and a member of the first PSIA National Academy held at Mount. Hood Timberline, Oregon.

I believe myself to be extremely lucky to be based in Europe, in France, and in particular in the delightful village of Megeve in the Haute Savoie, living the uniqueness of the European experience. In a little over six and a half hours, Americans can also have this experience by flying into Geneva, driving for one hour, and suddenly finding themselves in a village a world apart from those back home.
The Village of Megeve, is over a thousand years old, has cobbled streets and even horse drawn sleighs. It boasts everything from Michelin star restaurants and luxury 5 star hotels, to Gites and a trusty McDonalds!!! Megeve has over 40 family operated farms, making some of the best cheese you have ever tasted, and has stunning views of Mont Blanc – Europe’s highest mountain.

The skiing is super and caters for all levels from beginner to expert, and even in bad weather you can still ski as there are the trees all around. This place is like a fairy tale, full of Alpine charm, and is a pleasure to ski. The slopes are perfect and extremely well groomed, the people are friendly - even if you can’t speak the language, and the food is out of this world, with restaurants dotted all over the place, catering to all tastes, and to everyone’s purse size.

From Megeve there are 6 ski areas within a 30 minute drive, offering a variety of terrains and different atmospheres. I also take clients from Megeve for day trips to ski the Italian Alps, which are only a one hour drive from Megeve through the Mont Blanc Tunnel. If you drive for another hour, you have the opportunity to ski in both the Swiss and Italian Alps, in the same day, at an altitude of some 3883 meters, returning home with wonderful pictures of the Matterhorn.
We start the season on 1 November, with our "Early Bird trips" to the Swiss, Italian and French Alps. The ski season in Megeve starts around the middle of December and finishes in the middle of April. On completion of the season in Megeve, we offer high altitude glacier skiing in the Italian and Swiss Alps at the foot of the Matterhorn.

This includes helicopter skiing for those powder hounds. Ski passes and private lessons in all these areas are much less than the current Vail prices, and out of bounds is legal here – although make sure you go with a fully certified French Ski Instructor/Guide!

I would always go back and ski with clients in the Rockies as it has undoubtedly some of the best ski areas in the US, however, over the years I have noticed that once people have skied in Europe, they inevitably come back for more!!. I look forward to welcoming you in Megeve.

Posted by Justin at 12:19 PM

Truth in Motion

New movie coming - Truth in Motion - that follows the US ski team training for the Olympics this year. Check the trailer and press release:

HERNDON, Va., Nov 18, 2009 - As part of its continued support of the U.S. Ski Team, Audi of America today announced that it has commissioned a documentary film, Truth in Motion: The U.S. Ski Team’s Road to Vancouver, which will tell the unique stories of these elite American athletes as they prepare for the competition of their lives – the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Truth in Motion: The U.S. Ski Team’s Road to Vancouver will air first January 30 at 8pm EST on NBC, followed by an appearance on the USA Network on February 6 at 5pm EST. It will also run three times in primetime on the Universal Sports Network. Audi has been a sponsor of the U.S. Ski Team since 2007.

The film will be directed by Brett Morgen, multiple-award winning director of such acclaimed documentaries as The Kid Stays in the Picture and On the Ropes. The film is executive produced by ten-time Emmy Award winner Rick Gentile, executive producer of three Olympic Winter Games, and MediaCom Entertainment’s Adam Pincus.

The film focuses on a select group of elite American skiers at different stages of their careers through the crucial months of training leading up to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. Truth in Motion: The U.S. Ski Team’s Road to Vancouver chronicles not just the physical skill necessary to compete at the highest level, but also the uniquely personal quest that is involved in achieving greatness. Some of the featured players will qualify and some may not and the film will detail the triumphs and struggles of all those involved.

Posted by Justin at 12:08 PM

November 18, 2009

Advice on Avoiding Altitude Sickness

Good information for flatlanders:

Thickening blood and dyhydration can cause headaches. Worse, these conditions, plus the increased calorie burn at altitude, can help bring about altitude sickness.

The only cure for altitude sickness is to go a lower elevation. But prevention could help stave off this condition. Some tips and tricks I’ve learned:

  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Drink plenty of water in the days leading up to your trip. Don’t wait till you get to the ski lift to pound down a bottle of water. Start pumping the water down a few days in advance and keep up your hydration pace throughout your stay. You should have water with you as you ski and ride, and drink often, even if you don’t feel particularly thirsty. If you wait until you’re thirsty, it’s pretty much too late.
  • Eat well. Get in a good balance of carbohydrates and proteins. Bring snacks with you on the mountain and stop to munch every now and then. Keeping your energy level up will help fight the effects of altitude.
  • Pace yourself. Even if you’re in good shape, you’re not in mountain shape. Your first day on the hill should be measured. As your body acclimates, then you can push yourself more.
  • Speaking of acclimatizing… You need to give your body time, particularly if you’re flying in to your destination. Spend at least a day getting used to the altitude by taking it easy, going for brisk walks and just allowing your body to adjust.
  • Learn to love the baby aspirin. This is a standard part of my first-aid kit on the mountain for this reason: Aspirin helps thin the blood, allowing for a more free flow of your bloodstream. Start popping low-dose baby aspirins a day or two before your trip and in the mornings during your stay.

Erich got really sick at the top of Alberta Peak at Wolf Creek last season and it necessitated a trip back down the mountain and the end of an otherwise epic day. He tried to go back out, but it had taken its toll. I got quite a dose of it too, but got back down sooner and it didn't get as bad as his did. He was almost unable to ride back to the lodge. Headaches. Nausea. It was hardcore.

Prevention is a good thing because once it starts the day is done.

Posted by Justin at 10:33 PM

November 07, 2009

Wanna Buy a UT Ski Resort?

Here is a link to the online auction for Elk Meadows.

Then check their press release:

BEAVER, Utah--(Business Wire)-- The LFC Group of Companies, the leaders in online real estate auction marketing, is pleased to announce the latest campaign on their commercial property auction website LFC.com: the former Elk Meadows Ski Resort in southwestern Utah`s Beaver County. The property, comprising more than 1,100 acres of beautiful recreational land, is surrounded by a half-dozen of Utah`s most renowned national parks, including Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Dixie National Forest and Fishlake National Forest. Located just an hour from Logan, a city of more than 125,000 people and home to Utah State University, Elk Meadows is secluded yet accessible. The mountain is less than three hours from several of Utah`s major metropolitan areas, including St. George, Provo and Salt Lake City.

For 25 years, Elk Meadows was the secret getaway for skiers and snowboarders looking to escape the mammoth crowds of Salt Lake City and Park City in northern Utah. However, the mountain`s proximity to several national parks made it a popular destination during off-season, as well. In summer, guests enjoyed mountain biking, horseback riding, ATVing, fishing, hang gliding and more. Throughout the years, Elk Meadows was a popular destination for vacationers from southern Utah, southern California, Phoenix, Arizona and northern Nevada. In fact, Elk Meadows is less than a four hour drive from Las Vegas, Nevada.

"This is really a special piece of property, one that requires the broad exposure and universal accessibility that only an online auction can deliver," said Shawn Miller, Director of Sales the LFC Group of Companies. "With our Internet-based auction platform, interested bidders can easily conduct due diligence and place bids from wherever they are - an unmatched level of convenience for buyers that has helped spark substantial international interest."

While there is some infrastructure in place, Elk Meadows is a project that requires vision and persistence. This non-operational ski resort needs work, and the low minimum bid of $1,000,000 reflects that reality. However, it also makes for a tremendous opportunity to purchase a one-of-a-kind blank canvas at a bargain price.

Me thinks the auction firm needs geography lessons. USU and SUU are two different institutions and Logan happens to be closer to Jackson Hole, and quite possibly Big Sky than it is to Elk Meadows.

MAPQUEST. TRY IT!

Posted by Justin at 01:24 PM