Ski Blog... Been doing this since 2005!

October 23, 2010

It's On--Season Starts at Loveland

The season is officially starting:

GEORGETOWN, Colo. - Loveland Ski Area plans to open for the season Sunday, the second year in a row it's the first Colorado resort to start its lifts.

In 2009, Loveland opened on Oct. 7. Business operations director Rob Goodell says warm weather delayed the start this year.

A mile-long top-to-bottom run, covering 1,000 vertical feet will be open Sunday, and the resort plans to be open seven days a week.

Bout time.

Cannot wait to get the season started.

Posted by Justin at 08:49 PM

October 09, 2009

Interesting Take on Loveland's Opening Earliest in 40 Years

I like this take on the start of ski season:

In a sure sign that the Earth is, as predicted, warming to the point of human extinction, snowfall in the West has come sooner and heavier than in recorded history.

Many school districts have already been forced to close by unseasonable accumulations of snow. "We got dumped on last night, you can see that by looking around here. We weren't quite ready for it. It did cause us some issues in the school district," said Lonnie Barber, the superintendent of schools for Blaine County Idaho.

Idaho isn't alone in its reluctance to march into a fiery, iceless demise; in Colorado as well, the snow is falling fast and piling up quickly, to the delight of a state dependent for much of its income on the ski tourism trade. The ski resort at Loveland, Colorado, has opened already, the earliest start to a season in 40 years. It will be joined Friday by the resort at Arapahoe Basin. It seems the owners of ski resorts failed to recognize the climatological chaos that is causing the melting of snow and ice that is in turn setting off an avalanche of impending worldwide doom. Some people will do anything for a buck.

Vegas. Sin City. You would expect them to join the party and they have. You've heard the slogan: "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." Well, according to the local Fox News affiliate in Las Vegas, what's happening is snow and what's staying is hundreds of skiers getting a welcome early start on the season. The Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort is open for business earlier than ever before and business is booming...

While we wait for the alarming rise in global temperatures to melt the ice caps and swell the levels of the oceans, we might as well head out West and ski.

Stoked for an El Nino year to get underway. Hopefully this is a good sign of things to come.

Posted by Justin at 11:09 AM

December 20, 2007

Running the Numbers

I use Beaver Creek as an example, but in reality I am referring to any major megaresort--you know, the ones that the ski magazines drool about. This is more an illustration of the pros and cons of major destination skiing at a high end resort (Vail, Aspen, Beaver Creek, Breck, Keystone, Park City, Whistler, etc.) versus skiing at a smaller resort in the Rockies that costs half as much but also offers less. I am going to run down the resorts that I have skied and compare and contrast them:

Colorado - Wolf Creek, Beaver Creek, Loveland, and A-Basin
Arizona - Snowbowl, Sunrise
Montana - Red Lodge, Big Sky
Utah - Alta, Brian Head

What you find is that once you find a place that you really like, you tend to go there until you find a better deal, get bored, etc. So I am an Alta guy because I just like it so well because of the price, location, skiers only policy, snow quality, and experience that I never drive to the other resorts in the area. Now, I am probably going to have a tough time ever going to Vail because Beaver Creek is so awesome and I have yet to even scratch the surface of all that is there. I am not sure how to compare Beaver Creek to Vail to Keystone to Breck when you couldn't touch all the mountain on any of them in a week or solid skiing.

I am assuming that for folks with the Colorado Pass, they choose their resort based on snowfall numbers, location, or just plain familiarity. So since I haven't skied all the resorts, I leave it open for more comments and info. This is somewhat generic, but there are just too many resorts to know everything about. For the most part though, the mega resorts are that way for a reason--they have a lot to offer and all compare very favorably to the next tier or resorts.

In my mind, there are three categories of ski resorts. Megaresorts. Midsize resorts (and this is a broad category). And places that just plain blow. First, let's talk about the mega resorts. You are going to get a well developed base area, great restaurants, touristy bars, lots of high end shops, and a few high end hotels. Expect lots of folks that are crazy rich and have really nice stuff. Expect people in $1000 jackets riding $2000 worth of gear on groomers who look crazy pimped sipping lattes at the base area. Folks from the East Coast can't get this kind of snow or experience so expect most folks are destination skiers or locals that get really good pass deals or work at the resort. Lots of folks from Europe, etc. Just a different kind of guest. But folks don't come for just the base area. The mountains are massive, but you gotta have the skills to relly enjoy it. And the money to spend because it ain't cheap. EVEN WHEN YOU GET A GREAT DEAL.

The next category is the smaller Rocky Mountain resorts and most East coast resorts. Places like Wolf Creek or Bridger Bowl or Brian Head. Usually these resorts are smaller mountains and do not offer the same level of amenities as the big guys. Not as much vertical. Off the beaten path. Poor airport access. No development rights. Less snowfall. But far lower prices. So then it is a matter of what you are willing to sacrifice. All of these resorts are missing something and it is up to you to decide what you are willing to sacrifice. I am willing to sacrifice shopping, dining, amenities, and nightlife but not snow. I would rather ski powder at a small resort that offers nothing (i.e. Wolf Creek) than ski crap snow at a more developed resort.

I won't get into the third category of places that just plain suck, but they are out there. Usually they have a couple old doubles that some other resort took out 20 years ago.

Beaver Creek was the first place that I didn't have to worry about a sacrifice. I look at the things that I usually am willing to give up. First, I give up base area amenities. I like to stay in town where I can afford it anyway. Then I give up nightlife. Then I give up some of the massive areas and vertical. What I usually don't give up is snow.

I can't get over the $92 price tag. So now it really highlights how good the Colorado Pass is. Season pass at Key, Breck, A-basin, and then the free days at Vail and Beaver Creek. I am just hating that I don't live in Colorado. The Beav and the Colorado resorts are so affordable for locals due to VRI's passes. I can't help but sing their praises. If you want to ski these resorts, you just have to look for deals and I am able to ski Vail and the Beav for the same price as Brian Head.

Posted by Justin at 09:40 AM | Comments (3)

October 17, 2007

Loveland Opens

Loveland opened in second place this season:

GEORGETOWN, Colo. — Mike Zimmer, of Vernal, Utah, drove five hours to ski opening day at Loveland Ski Area.

Zimmer grew up in nearby Georgetown and has been skiing here since he was five years old.

He refuses to wait for Park City to open.

“Ah shoot, that’s still two, three weeks away,” Zimmer said.

Opening day loyalists like Zimmer enjoyed the good snow, shining sun and fewer people on Loveland Ski Area’s wide, sole run Tuesday morning. Loveland was the second resort to open this year. Arapahoe Basin opened Oct. 11, the earliest in the nation.

Loveland’s run was a combination of a short catwalk and the runs Mambo and Home Run. The 1,365 ski area had an 18-inch base that had been topped with more than a foot of snow (groomed for opening day) from Saturday’s storm.

The rest was manmade snow, which Loveland has been making for three weeks, said spokeswoman Kathryn Johnson.

And to think that it is still baseball season in Denver. When ski season and baseball season overlap... Crazy. Quick side note--Go Rocks.

Posted by Justin at 11:58 AM | Comments (1)

September 25, 2006

Huge Storm Across Colorado Dumps Over 2' on Vail

Do I really need to add much to the title? Breck, Keystone, and Vail all received between 18" and 2'+ of new snow this weekend and late last week.

Checking reports from A-basin and Loveland and all reported they had at least 8" as of Thursday with more expected through the weekend.

We are now counting the weeks instead of months until ski season opens. Pretty soon we will be talking days.

Posted by Justin at 05:25 PM | Comments (1)

November 21, 2005

JP rips up Loveland again

JP is living the dream at Loveland Pass. Sick snow. Sweet trees. Tons of fresh pow. And from the looks of it, a couple of bluebird days.

If you get a chance, head on over to his site and check out his latest video on his exploits. Make sure to hit the blog link though and read the details about the video. Solid job JP.

I am going to start planning a trip up to Summit shortly when I can free up about a week. My cousin wants to go up for the December 24th Broncos vs. Raiders game at Mile High and kick it with some sick skiing before and afterward. I am trying to figure out how to sell spending Christmas Eve and Christmas day skiing and watching football to my wife. If I can somehow pull that one off, I expect that the world will end almost instantly with Fire and Brimstone. But that does not mean that I am not going to try. Let's see how much she loves me. The good news is my son Jake is on my side here as long as I drag him with. My son was born on January 3rd, 1997, two days after this little nugget:

But the Sun Devils were by no means ready to give up. With the Buckeyes up 14-10, the stage was set for a dramatic finish and no Hollywood scriptwriter could have penned a more exciting ending.

Jake Plummer had already established himself in his career as a clutch performer with a knack for pulling out unlikely victories.

"We knew (Plummer) was a winner," claims Rudzinski. "He had come from behind so many times that season already, we didn't want to be just another victim."

Things did not look good for the Buckeyes when on a third-and-11, Jake "the Snake" somehow slithered his way into the end zone to give ASU a 17-14 lead with 1:40 to play.

"I just remember Plummer going to the sidelines and taking off his helmet, looking like he had just won another one for Arizona State," adds Rudzinski.

I won't spoil the ending--no wait, I won't talk about the ending--but as a Sun Devil Alum, we became Bronco's fans two and a half years ago.

Posted by Justin at 02:05 PM

November 13, 2005

Summit gets slammed

Got a note from JP at Colorado Backcountry about the epic conditions in Colorado right now. Most of the resorts (Copper, Loveland, A-Basin, Keystone, Breck, etc.) have received approximately 18" in the last two days with more tonight and early tomorrow.

From JP:

We are getting hammered with snow out here. Just had another sick backcountry day at Loveland Pass. knee deep all day. 5-8 expected today and 10-12" expect monday and monday night. can't wait for tuesday.

I am heading to my condo at Brian Head on Tuesday. Opening weekend was supposed to be November 12th. Yeah right. Maybe for mountain biking. Skiing requires snow. In other news, Wolf Creek opened yesterday. Very little in the way of snow, and they are reporting a base of around 14" at the summit. Speaking of mountain biking.

Posted by Justin at 08:03 PM | Comments (1)

November 06, 2005

Loveland Gets 15" in last 48 hours

I spent the weekend at my condo at Brian Head. Highs were in the low 50's at the base area and that does not lend itself to an on-time opening. But that is my problem, not Loveland's.

After being the first resort in the nation to open (for like the 100th straight season I might add), Loveland got a combined 15" dump in the last 48 hours. Translate that into open runs and you get one lift and three runs. Still not enough snow to start opening some more terrain, but every little bit counts.

Posted by Justin at 10:36 PM | Comments (1)

October 14, 2005

2005-06 Season Opens at Loveland

Loveland, CO again starts 2005-06 off by being the first resort in the nation to open. Last year, I skied Loveland twice during the first week of November and they had maybe 10 runs open. All were either blues or greens. I was working for a customer in Denver and instead of flying, I drove from Phoenix and brought my skis. I hit Wolf Creek on the way home. Early season skiing is like eating bone-in buffalo wings. It is kinda messy and it is tough to get completely filled up on it. They make great appetizers, but the full course is so much better. Take the rock skis, not the $1000 pair that you just bought and are aching to try out. (not that I have ever had a $1000 pair of skis)

From the Rocky Mountain News:

Loveland Ski Area expects to win the race to kick off the state's coming ski season, saying there is a "90 percent" likelihood lifts and trails will open Friday morning. Without the 18 inches of snowfall Loveland has received in the past few days, an opening likely would not have happened until a week later, a ski area official said.

Here is some info on the rest of Summit County from the same article:

A storm that began over the weekend dumped snow on many of Colorado's ski slopes. Here's a rundown on how much snow areas had received by midday Monday, along with tentative opening days:
  • Arapahoe Basin 12 inches Oct. 21
  • Beaver Creek 16 inches Nov. 23
  • Breckenridge 30 inches Nov. 11
  • Keystone 17 inches Nov. 11
  • Loveland 18 inches Friday
  • Monarch 10 inches Nov. 23
  • Powderhorn* 6 inches
  • Telluride* 8 inches
  • Vail 13 inches Nov. 18
  • Winter Park 12 inches Nov. 16
*Opening day information not available from these resorts

Good times!

Posted by Justin at 03:46 PM | Comments (1)