Ski Blog... Been doing this since 2005!

December 22, 2016

Wolf Creek Trip and Bark Beetles

Went to Wolf Creek, CO, this last week and the conditions were solid. They got a 30" snowstorm, but with it being early season, it was the wet, dense snow. Great for a base, but not exactly powder conditions. Every once in a while (especially since I have not skied as much the last couple years) it is nice to ski some groomers and some nice mellow stuff. I think 90% of what I hit were ungroomed blues that were great. Nothing but the Alberta side.

The worst part was how badly the last couple years have treated Wolf Creek. The bark beetles have just really gotten full hold of the resort and the forest is starting to look like most of the rest of the West.

At some point, nature will correct itself and the beetles will run their course. I would hate to see Wolf Creek turn into the windswept wasteland that is Brian Head. The trees are what keeps the pow in place as opposed to drifts and ice.

It was so good to get back on the mountain. The drive wasn't bad as the roads had all cleared before we left. We got stuck in some cold rain / presnow on the drive back Wednesday.

Hope anyone reads a blog that hasn't been updated in three years. I am going to try to ski more and blog more. I miss my second home at Brian Head. Skiing wasn't great and the mountain too small, but living at 9500 ft and having the beautiful four seasons there is such a welcome relief from Phoenix.

Posted by Justin at 08:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 16, 2013

Wolf Creek Opens on Saturday

Wolf Creek is opening:

Wolf Creek is opening this Saturday and Sunday with the Nova and Bonanza Chairlifts operating from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM! After receiving another 4 inches of new snow, the current base is 22 inches with a year-to-date snowfall of 28 inches. Conditions are very early season!

The Ski School will be available for lessons including the Wolf Pup Program. Ski and Snowboard rentals will be available as well as Treasure Sports. Burgers and a limited menu will be served in the Wolf Creek Lodge (upper lodge); as well as drinks from the Pathfinder Bar.

I would love to head there this weekend, but give it one more good storm and I am going to pack the skis up and head up that way. I really don't want to take the trip without Waterfall being open as it is literally my favorite place on earth to ski.

Such good things. Think Snow.

Posted by Justin at 06:45 PM

August 14, 2013

Ski Economics and Why I Love Wolf Creek, CO

I hate being cheap. I guess it is hard to say I am cheap when I am a guy that spends double digit days skiing every year, but still, I have to keep costs under control or else it is impossible to ski as much as I would like to.

This is the Disneyland problem. If you go to Disneyland once every couple years for a couple of days, you can get the Express Passes and the kids can eat corn dogs and buy memorabilia. But imagine if you wanted to spend 20 days a year at Disneyland. I don't want to ski 5 days a year over Christmas, rent an overpriced condo, and eat at the expensive resorts. I know this is a dream vacation for the average city dweller, but I live differently. I want to spur of the moment leave to follow a huge storm coming through, stay in a cheap hotel down mountain (and occasionally sleep in my car), and spend my days skiing great snow. That is a very different idea of "skiing" from the first category.

Vail Resorts sells the first category at their half a dozen mega-resorts. And you pay for it. $120 lift tickets. $300 a night condos. $10 burgers at the mountain. Slopeside shops selling high end designer products. It is a world of Escalades and 7 Series BMWs. I drive a 5 year old Chevy.

Enter Wolf Creek. There are no condos. But snow for snow, Wolf Creek dominates all of Summit County. It is just in the middle of nowhere. You get epic skiing, no lift lines, often on weekdays no people, and an authentic skiing experience for around $50 for a lift ticket.

I invite anyone that reads this to think about what you really want. You can spend a week at Wolf Creek and lose out on the nightlife, the glitz, and the possible celebrity sighting but get incredible skiing and an authentic feel for pennies on the dollar or you can pay for something that has absolutely nothing to do with the actual sport of skiing.

In fact, the Disneyland comparison is quite accurate. Most resorts now are selling "vacations" not "skiing." They are selling you Disneyland on snow complete with the ridiculous cost of mouse ears and expensive food. I know this is what many families and many individuals want, but it is about as authentic as visiting a zoo is. You can see "wild animals" at a zoo about the same as you can get an authentic ski experience eating a $200 meal slopeside after your 2 hour private lesson and massage.

The industry has priced themselves out of catering to the average working class family. Wolf Creek hasn't. Take your sandwiches, eat in the parking lot, have a reasonably priced beer after the day of skiing, and enjoy a great mountain full of unpretentious people there to enjoy nature and great snow.

Posted by Justin at 05:48 PM

December 25, 2010

Wolf Creek has Second Fatality of Season

This is terrible news:

Pagosa Springs, CO - A 35-year-old Tucson man died while snowboarding at Colorado's Wolf Creek ski area on Saturday when he plunged off a 40-foot cliff.

Christian Rea was snowboarding with friends in Wolf Creek's Waterfall area on Saturday when they encountered the cliff. One of Rea's friends tried unsuccessfully to warn him to go around the obstacle as Rea dropped off the cliff, landing on his head and rupturing an artery in his neck, according to Mineral County Coroner Charles Downing.

Downing further explained that severing the blood supply to Rea's neck killed him quickly.

Peace to his family. Tragic way to end the Christmas holiday.

Posted by Justin at 09:38 PM

November 26, 2010

Benefit for Scott Kay of Wolf Creek

On a Thanksgiving weekend, please remember those less fortunate as we count our blessings. Tomorrow night in Pagosa Springs, the Wolf Creek community will hold a memorial service for Scott Kay who died tragically on Monday in an avalanche.

There is a donation account set up under his wife's name:

Chantelle Kay at the

Bank of the San Juans
PO Box 2830
Pagosa Springs, CO 81147


Our prayers go out to the family this difficult weekend.

Posted by Justin at 09:48 AM

November 22, 2010

Tragedy at Wolf Creek

I am so sorry to blog about this and share the terrible news, but this morning, the Director of Wolf Creek Ski Patrol was caught in an avalanche and did not survive.

I a waiting for more info about him and his family. I will post as soon as a memorial fund or other way to honor his service is established and when details are released. He is survived by a wife and two children.

Horrible tragedy keeping the rest of us safe. Prayers for comfort for the family go out.

To all our ski patrollers and friends, those that help keep us safe on the mountain--THANK YOU. Cold weather, deep snow, storms, icy conditions, trees, all of the things that are dangerous in their own right are just part of a day at work. Thanks for protecting us and God bless you all as you deal with the loss of your comrade.

Posted by Justin at 02:54 PM

February 20, 2010

Decent Storm Brewing--Wolf Creek Already Has 16"

Not a lot more to say than that. Waiting to see what materializes at Brian Head and the AZ resorts.

Posted by Justin at 12:43 PM

December 09, 2009

Riverside at Rio Grande Club - Wolf Creek, CO

Riverside at Rio Grande is a new shared ownership resort just down the mountain from Wolf Creek on the East side. Normally, I stay on the west side of the pass in Pagosa Springs due to proximity to PHX, but got an offer to come up and check out the new resort.

I am going to take a trip to Wolf Creek in January and would be there this week with the 4' dump, but am stuck moving.

Check out some of the details on their golf course and other amenities.

THE CLUB BOASTS an 18-hole championship course given six stars by Golf Digest. The Club opened in 2003 to rave reviews, and was ranked by Golf Digest as #6 in the Top 10 Best New Upscale Courses. With the highest elevation at over 8500 feet, you can expect your golf ball to fly beyond your wildest dreams. This is pure mountain golf at its finest.

AS AN OWNER AT RIVERSIDE, you’ll enjoy views of the Rio Grande River and private access to the longest and wildest continuous stretch of Gold Medal water in Colorado. You’ll find 20 miles of hungry cutthroats, browns and rainbows on one of the most under-fished rivers in the state. There are over 500 miles of tributaries and creeks, as well as mountain lakes to keep you busy all year-round.

WITH THAT MUCH WATER, it’s not unusual to go all day long without seeing another angler. You might just get lonely if it weren’t for the Fishing Lodge located a short walk from your doorstep at Riverside. Here, you can cozy up to the fire in the cooler months, or sit out on the wrap around porch and swap fish tales until it’s time for dinner. If you love to fish, this must be heaven.

Wolf Creek is my favorite mountain to ski, but most specifically Alberta on a powder day. Trees. No lift lines. Waterfall area. Hiking. Just perfection. Run after run. Having a great place to stay just minutes away is even better. Especially because the East Side of the pass rarely closes due to avalanche danger.

Thanks Vik for the invite. Cannot wait.

Posted by Justin at 01:33 PM

December 08, 2009

Huge Storm Closes Most of Wolf Creek Due to Avalanche Danger

Wolf Creek reports 51" in the last 72 hours and has the following at their main site:


Their snow report lists the following:


Tomorrow is Local Appreciation Day and lift tickets are $31 for adults. This is the sickest deal in the history of skiing. $31 for skiing a four plus foot dump? More snow coming today?

Posted by Justin at 02:00 PM

October 29, 2009

Early Winter Storm Dumps 24" at Wolf Creek

This is a great start to the season:

It‘s snowing at Wolf Creek!

Wolf Creek received 24 inches in the last 48 hours! Treasure and Bonanza Lifts will be operating along with the Nova Lift from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM starting on Halloween Day. Year-to-date snowfall is 46 inches.


Things are looking up for my Thanksgiving trip.


The folks at Wolf Creek emailed me some pics that have me all kinds of Jonesing:

Wolf Creek Storm Oct 2009

Posted by Justin at 10:44 AM

October 22, 2009

Wolf Creek to Open on Halloween

Just got the email:

After receiving 15 inches from the storm of October 21st, Wolf Creek Ski Area is opening for the 2009 2010 ski season on Halloween! Year-to-date snowfall is 22 inches, conditions are powder and packed powder. The mid-mountain snow depth is 12 inches. Nova and Susans, both beginner runs, will be open from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. More terrain will be available as conditions permit. Kids are invited to wear their costumes and enjoy an early Halloween day on the beginner hill; a contest for the best carved pumpkin will start at 1:00 PM. Prizes will be awarded to the most original pumpkin faces! The ski school will be available for Wolf Pups ages 5 to 8; instruction will also be available for Adults. The Wolf Creek Day Lodge will be serving a limited lunch menu, both ski and snowboard rentals will be available as well as the Sport Shop. Season Pass Holders are welcome! Celebrate the opening of the 2009 - 2010 ski season, Saturday, October 31st at Wolf Creek!


This bodes well for my Thanksgiving trip. El Nino baby. El Nino.

Posted by Justin at 04:34 PM

April 28, 2009

Wolf Creek to Open This Weekend

From the Wolf Creek website:

Can you believe one more weekend????????

Yes, Wolf Creek is reopening May 2 and May 3rd! Nova, Bonanza and Treasure will be operating from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM! Alberta will be open only if conditions are appropriate.

The Ski School and Ski Rentals will be open along with the Upper Lodge serving a limited menu. There will be a big sale in Treasure Sports with up to 40% off of Fashion wear and 25% off of all T-shirts and beanies!

On Saturday, San Luis Valley Brewery will be offering a selection of their finest beers on the Upper Lodge deck! Also a Rail Jam on Nova Lift will start at 1 PM. Registration is in the Upper Lodge starting at noon on Saturday. Registration is $30.00, this includes a a free lift ticket for Nova only and prizes for winners!!!!! All proceeds go to the Skate Board Park in Pagosa Springs. For more info call Charlie at 970-759-5960.

Lift tickets will be the locals‘ appreciation rate of $31.00 for Adults and $18.00 for Seniors and Children! All season passes from 2008 - 2009 will be valid including weekday only and employee.

450" for the year and open in May. Good for the folks in the Pagosa area.

Posted by Justin at 04:07 PM

June 26, 2008

Update on Village at Wolf Creek

New info on the Village at Wolf Creek regarding the lawsuit between the developer and the resort:

WOLF CREEK— The owners of Wolf Creek ski resort and developers of the proposed Village at Wolf Creek have reportedly settled their lawsuit over the project.

The Pitcher family, owners of the ski area through Wolf Creek Ski Corp. Inc., sued Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture over the $1 billion Village at Wolf Creek resort project in 2003.

U.S. District Court Judge John Kane dismissed the case last Tuesday without ruling as to the admissibility of any evidence presented, according to The Associated Press.

The Pitchers reportedly cooperated with the Village at Wolf Creek’s developers early on, but pulled out in the 1990s.

Led by Kingsbury Pitcher, they sued the joint venture, claiming they had no legal responsibility to help develop the resort. Leavell-McCombs countersued, alleging that the Pitchers had committed fraud and breached their contract.

The settlement cancels a trial that was scheduled for July 7. The Pitchers had reportedly threatened to introduce evidence of the political intrigue that has surrounded the Village since the 1980s. The two sides were haggling over political allegations when the settlement was announced...

A separate lawsuit filed by environmental groups over the development was settled out of court in February, with steps yet to be taken including evaluation of an access road by the U.S. Forest Service, approval of a highway access permit by the Colorado Department of Transportation and approval of development plans by Mineral County, which can only be considered after access is approved.

According to Honts, the next step will be with the Forest Service, which is under a court-ordered agreement to do another environmental impact study for proposed access roads to the development.

Forest Service spokesman Mike Blakeman said the government will bill McCombs for the costs of the Environmental Impact Study (EIS) for access roads and Forest Service employees will do most of the work on it, not a private contractor. Rio Grande National Forest (RGNF) officials will choose the team that does the environmental analysis.

Back to square one... point five.

Posted by Justin at 12:54 AM

April 01, 2008

Opening Day, NBA Playoffs, and the End of the 2007-08 Ski Season

A little time to reflect on the last ski season. This year, I skied Beaver Creek for the first time, skied Wolf Creek for the first time in three years, and got my usual days in at Brian Head. I got in about half as many days this season as last--12 versus 25--but enjoyed it far more.

Couple great memories for me. First was
Jarrett skiing his first black diamond
. He isn't even in the same ballpark as Jake, but that is a function of being 7 versus 11. But he discovered a love for skiing this season and now looks forward to it. I am excited about this year and looking forward to going from having two skiing boys to having three kids that rip it up when Lindsey gets a couple years older.

Second was Jake and me going to Wolf Creek with Tim, Erich, and JP. It has been far too long since I took at trip to Wolf Creek and this trip magnified how Jake has improved from our last trip three years ago when he was a Wolf Pup. When we hiked Alberta Peak and he left me behind, I had a new sense of humility and some pride that all the time and money that I have spent on gear and passes and gas and hotels and condos has paid off. We have something that both boys enjoy and that helps us bond.

Finally, there was my trip to Beaver Creek. I have rarely enjoyed a ski day that much.

I am going to try to get one more weekend in before the season is over.

Posted by Justin at 02:46 PM

February 21, 2008

The La Nina that Wasn't

On November 4th, I posted about this season's La Nina and the predicted effects on the Southwest:

"La Niña has been closer to above-normal North and below-normal South trends," Pringle said with regard to snow conditions.

Snowfall in the San Juans could be average or a bit below normal. The National Weather Service predicts La Niña's effect on New Mexico and Arizona to be much more apparent, with less precipitation and higher than average temperatures.

In a word--NO. Not so much. Turns out that Wolf Creek in the San Juans is already sitting at very close to 500" and there are still almost two months left in the season. Sunrise and Snowbowl both opened before Christmas and Snowbowl has already received 200"+ for the season.

I am left to ponder the fact that despite almost 100 years of studying El Nino, the folks that make climate predictions have still been unable to predict weather paterns with any accuracy. Last year was an El Nino year, but despite predictions for record snowfall in the Southwest, we got far below average snowfall, so much so that Arizona Snowbowl barely opened for two weeks. This year is a La Nina year and snowfall is above average at three of the four southwest resorts that I ski (Wolf Creek, Brian Head, Sunrise and Snowbowl).

But we do have a looming climate crisis. It is not rising ocean levels, but rather food shortages and starvation:

The United Nations is stepping in to try to rescue Tajikistan from a social catastrophe brought on by severe winter weather. But even if an emergency UN appeal for assistance generates a robust international response, it is questionable whether Tajikistan will be able to avoid entering a downward spiral, featuring pestilence and widespread hunger...

China’s inflation accelerated in January to 7.1 percent - its rate highest in more than a decade - amid snowstorms that fueled a spike in food costs, according to data reported Tuesday...

But economists have raised their inflation forecasts for the first half of 2008 after freak snowstorms battered China’s south, killing millions of farm animals and wrecking crops.

Chinese leaders are especially worried about the political impact of rapidly rising food costs, which hit the country’s poor majority hard.

The winter even included snow in Baghdad for the first time in a century:

Snow fell on Baghdad on Friday for the first time in memory, and delighted residents declared it an omen of peace.

“It is the first time we’ve seen snow in Baghdad,” said 60-year-old Hassan Zahar. “We’ve seen sleet before, but never snow. I looked at the faces of all the people, they were astonished,” he said.

It has been an odd year. One that has been wetter than expected in the southwest, which we badly need. Somehow, I don't think that the Chinese, when confronted with calls for them to cut greenhouse gasses to combat global warming and when faced with a massive famine crisis because of an abnormally cold winter, will be inclined to take steps to be more environmentally friendly. And I don't think that the myriad of articles promising the demise of skiing are particullarly grounded in fact. Scares like this in particullar:

PARK CITY, UTAH (AP) — Another winter storm headed to Utah could bring two feet of snow and frigid temperatures to the Wasatch mountains. But don't let that fool you.

Utah's trademark Greatest Snow on Earth could be a memory by 2075, say a pair of Colorado climatologists, who warn that global warming could shrink the ski season to a mere two months a year.

Some interesting reading on the subject can be found at Warren Miller's New West Blog. He is skeptical of the global warming hysteria so prevalent in the ski industry too. What if we are wrong about the long term predictions for global warming? 2008's snowfall in Asia provides a disturbing prediction of what global cooling or a new mini-iceage will look like.

Posted by Justin at 02:06 PM | Comments (1)

January 25, 2008

Brian Head and Wolf Creek Both Receive 10" Last Night

Title says it all. Both resorts received nice snowfall totals from the latest storm, with more to come.

Here is where they differ:

  • Wolf Creek total snowfall for 2007-08: 300"
  • Brian Head total snowfall for 2007-08: 145"

I still cannot get over how great the skiing was at Wolf Creek two weeks ago. This storm has some good snowfall potential for both resorts, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that Brian Head gets some more snow before my trip north after the Super Bowl.

Posted by Justin at 11:17 AM

January 14, 2008

Wolf Creek Weekend

I am notoriously late. If I say I will be there at 4:00, expect me at 5:30. If we have to leave for the mountain at 9:00 AM, I get up at 8:55. So it shocked everyone when I told them I planned to leave for Wolf Creek at 3:00 PM on Friday. I didn't want to drive all night and be tired the next day. I was on the East side by 3:15 and we were gone. We got into Pagosa at 1:00 AM. Even more shocking was when I was the first one up at 7:00 AM, showered and done eating before Tim had knocked the cobwebs out. Got my gear loaded. I didn't want to miss the start of the day.


Five people. Erich and Tim that are regulars. Jake that is attached to me at the hip. And the new guy, JP. Erich for whatever reason was running late and trying to get his gear set for the day. Instead of leaving at 8:00, Erich is cramming his stuff into the Avy at 8:30. We start cruising up a snowpacked but sanded 160 from Pagosa. Just after the switchbacks, we notice people passing us and pointing. All I can think is John Candy and Steve Martin in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles:

"You're going the wrong way!"
"Yeah, OK." {waving}
"How do they know where we are going?"

Well, they were trying to tell us something. The tailgate of the Avy was open with all of our gear in the back. The standing temperature was -9 and Erich left the tailgate open with Jake's and my boots at the very back. Nothing fell out, but my boots were as close to frozen as you can get. I thought they were going to break when I put my foot in them. Needless to say, Erich got an ear full.

We hit Treasure, through the Waterfall Area, and on to Alberta. All day, lap after lap on Alberta. We never touched a run, just caught fresh track after fresh line through the trees between Shazaam, Bankshot and Gyro. About midday, Tim and JP hiked the ridge above the lift and swore we needed to head up there. After a climb from the Alberta lift side, we skied Peak Chutes down to the base for lunch. Oh, the powder. I commented on the way up that I couldn't imagine a more perfect day. Bluebird. 80" of snow over the last 7 days. 20 degrees by midday. Tim replied, yeah, almost perfect. The only thing wrong was that there were an occasional set of tracks in the untouched pow.

Back up Treasure lift after a Wolf Dog (all veal brat with onions, parsley and curry) and Quiche. I point that out because the lodge food was so good that we actually had a 20 minute conversation about if it was the best lodge food we ever had. We traversed and hiked up to Boundry Bowl before dropping through Waterfall again. By 3:30 PM, when we called it a day, there was nothing left in the tank. The entire day was knee deep powder. A stop at Kip's Cantina, which was basically a small house downtown that was converted into a restaurant to catch the Pats-Jags game, then back to the hotel to prepare for round two.

JP just dusted us. We went climbing and he never stopped. Turns out he was training for a half marathon and was an avid hiker that has summited several 14k peaks in Colorado. Tim neglected to tell us that which made Erich and I feel less old and worthless.


So Erich won the bonehead award for Day 1. Jake won it for Day 2. Overnight, he had gotten out of the truck and left the back door to the Avy wide open. Froze up the truck and covered the inside with frost and ice. Ran the battery down. An earlier start to the day and we were on the mountain, parked, and geared up by 9:00. Back up Treasure, traverse, then hike Alberta Peak.

I am deathly afraid of heights. I have never been scared skiing, so this was a first. Not that the peak was unskiable, but that the climb combined with the wind, combined with the two skiers that went backcountry and are still missing, combined with my quads absolutely burning from the day before and now the climb, combined with a little dizziness from the almost 12,000 feet scared the living hell out of me. I sat down at the top and the mountain was spinning. I didn't want to put my skis on because I was scared I would fall over. By the time we got down to the bottom, Erich had stopped three times with dizziness and nausea and had to sit for almost at the bottom of Alberta before he could even take the lift up and take the catwalk back to the base.

So we split up, each of our groups with a Motorola handheld. I told Erich I would head over to the mainside with him. Erich felt better as soon as he got back to the main lodge, so we skipped calling it a day and hit Raven and Dickey lifts. JP and Tim wanted to spend the rest of the day climbing and skiing double blacks. Which brought us to Jake.

"Jake, you going back or you hiking?"

Jake chose hiking and skiing double blacks. During the trip, Jake skied Knife Ridge Chutes, Dog Chutes, Alberta Peak, Montezuma Chutes, Peak Chutes, and Waterfall. Spent the entire time either skiing double blacks and hiking or skiing trees off of Alberta. My son that turned 11 on January 3rd let his old ass dad head down to the lodge while he went hiking and skiing double blacks with Tim and JP. He was either right on my heels all day Saturday or charging ahead. But by Sunday, he bested me.

Straight A student. State Champion football player. And Erich, JP and Tim spent most of the time Saturday night, before the hiking and me wussing out, talking about "when my kid is his age, I hope my kid is that good". Sunday just destroyed my expectations.

I called Big Jake today and left a voice mail. Big Jake of my best friend since college and the guy that went down Jake's first blue run on his first powder day at Sunrise with me and watched Jake crying and ski patrol carrying his skis down for him. Jake who watched the 1997 Rose Bowl with a 9 month pregnant Tera the night before he popped out. My message to Jake:

About 2 years ago, I stopped playing Xbox against him because it embarrassed me. I knew this day was coming. But this trip was sudden. We are old.

It was a good weekend.

Posted by Justin at 09:37 PM | Comments (2)

January 10, 2008

80" in Past Week at Wolf Creek, CO

Wolf Creek is reporting 80" from the latest storm system. I am leaving on Friday afternoon with Tim, Erich, someone I have yet to meet, and young Jacob for a weekend of pow on Alberta.

I will say it again, Wolf Creek is an untouched gem. Sick snow that is almost as frequent and plentiful as Alta in Utah. Fairly isolated and no real base area, but that means no crowds and powder that lasts weeks before getting completely tracked. Alberta is one of my favorite places anywhere to ski. Glades and just steep enough. Waterfall is almost as good and it is sick steep. Treasure's face provides an excellent descent.

My only complaint about Wolf Creek is that their marketing manager, Roseanne, completely blew me and my 5 readers off when I called her for an interview about the Raven Lift that they just built last year. Like I do not exist. Like the Interwebamagiggy is fun for things like online poker and porn, but serious journalists are never "bloggers", and she didn't even know what a "blogger" was. I guess that is what happens when you live in a town of 2,000 in rural Southwestern Colorado. So here I am doing PR for a resort that doesn't even think I exist. Talking about 450" of snow per year, the most in Colorado. Talking about great glade skiing and no lift lines. And paying my own way instead of having them say "Hey, Justin, thanks for all the work creating buzz. Here are a couple lift tickets on the house." Again, this is similar to the issues that I had with Brian Head in December until I finally got ahold of Ron Burgess.

Posted by Justin at 01:46 PM | Comments (1)

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)

December 12, 2007

101" in 7 days at Wolf Creek

Wolf Creek has received 101" in the last seven days including another 14" in the last 24 hours. 101" is roughly one quarter of the annual snowfall expected in an entire season.

Oh, yeah, and today is Local Appreciation Day which means $27 lift tickets.

I am headed to Vail this weekend for a day and then on to Denver for some training. I am going to try to ski Wolf Creek and Vail if possible and have all of my gear home from the condo just for such an emergency.

Posted by Justin at 08:56 AM

December 04, 2007

Wolf Creek 100% Open, Receives 51"

Wolf Creek is 100% Open.

I guess that means it is time to shill for them again. I absolutely love the place. 1600 acres of everything you could ask for. Steeps, Glades, no lines (spring break gets a little busier on the main part of the mountain) and the best snow in Colorado. Plus it is affordable.

I have to go to Denver next weekend for a business meeting and plan on stopping. I didn't go to Wolf Creek last year for the first time in the last five years. I miss Alberta. The glades rock and there is never a line. It is good that the place is totally open.

Posted by Justin at 06:19 AM

October 31, 2007

Reading for the Preseason - Instant Karma: The Heart and Soul of a Ski Bum

Got a copy of Wayne Sheldrake's book in the mail the other day as now more and more PR folks are using the power of bloggers to spread the word about their products and bloggers like me are using the power of our blogs to get free stuff.

The book is a little dark, especially in the beginning. I guess I never really thought about why folks become ski bums. Usually they are running from something. Maybe it is an ex and a bad breakup or maybe it is a bad childhood or other problems. I think the details sometimes are hard to listen to from people that you think are just free spirirs. Then I think about my uncle Lynnie. I still remember him with a can of Animal Beer in his hands, and usually a dozen in his stomach teaching his nephews to fish and hunt and camp and cuss. He always had a van of some sort and you never knew he was coming until he would show up. Just to stop in and stay a day or as long as your driveway had room for a van. Then just as quick, he would say goodbye and be gone again. He died a week before my son Jake was born. Barely 40. He loved the mountains. You never ask these people what makes them tick because they will have 20 stories for you and never really answer your question. But you will enjoy the 20 stories and forget you asked one.

I wondered about the title--Instant Karma. As I read the book, all of the places seemed so familiar. Wolf Creek. Treasure. Alberta. Even the parking lots at Wolf Creek. The name of the book comes from a story about poaching runs without a lift ticket and the consequences of losing most of a ski season because of a wreck that day. I remember skiing Wolf Creek with Jake (Big, not Little) and Erich and taking lap after lap on Alberta with a couple guys from Summit who were there because an epic blower had skipped the north but dumped on Wolf Creek. The guy was telling me that he was skiing on yesterday's ticket, but as long as you get past the main lift first thing in the morning and get to one of the side lifts (like Alberta), there is usually only one lift operator working it and they never check tickets. Wolf Creek simply stamps the date on the front of their lift ticket or a special word jumble for the day and most times they never check. About midway through the day after cutting fresh line after line through the glades, ski patrol is waiting at the top for him. I was riding the lift with him when it happened. Not a complaint. Just, dude, can we cut through the glades on the way down. It was the last run of his day. But he wanted to make the most of it.

While lots of folks debate the existence of "God" with a Capital G, I always acknowledge and pay tribute to both the snow gods and the football gods. I don't believe that I can change the universe with simple actions. I cannot influence storms to change track. I cannot convince the gods of physics to have that long pass land six inches beyond a receiver's hands. But I never leave that to chance.

We are all so lucky to enjoy skiing. To enjoy life. I enjoyed the book and it brought out a lot of memories, not just of skiing, but of the faces and people that I have met along the way.

Posted by Justin at 04:14 PM

June 18, 2007

Hokey Websites for Resorts

The whole Interweb thing is gettin' awful popular nowadays. But 2003 was a long time ago. In web years, which work kinda like dog years, 4 years is about three lifetimes ago. But 4 years ago was the last time Sunrise updated or redesigned their website and their design pretty much sucked 4 years ago too. I actually think their design was done about six years ago because I remember the page being roughly the same as far back as 2001.

I want to use my forum as a quick shout out to the worst designed and oldest web pages for resorts that I have found. Maybe encourage them to hire some college kid for $10 an hour (which is almost double what they pay their lift operators and ski instructors) to do some updates. I mean it ain't expensive to do some site updates every once in a while. And adding a webcam isn't really a site update. I am not talking crazy flash animation like Vail, but rather some simple, clean site design.

Some are much worse than others, and the last two really aren't that bad. Not meant to offend anyone, except for the designers of the first two sites because I consider it personally offensive that they can go around calling themselves "Web Designers". Here are the worst two with a couple of other suggestions (but I will update with reader input):

  • Sunrise - oh, where to start. The use of tables with thick borders that serve absolutely no purpose. Then you have randomly sized pictures and announcements that have absolutely no theme. The background is just the same image over and over that serves no purpose either. In short, this looks like a web page that some kid taking Web101 at the local high school designed as a pet project. I hope that he got a D or F for it. I have a 10 year old and a 12 year old brother that collectively could do a better job. And since it is the 5 year anniversary of the 500,000 acre Rodeo-Chediski fires, I will suggest that the tribe hire Leonard Gregg who should be learning some good vocational skills in prison after he felt the unemployment situation on the rez was so bad that he decided to start the largest wildfire in Arizona history to secure some part time employment as a firefighter. How about creating a non-casino job for one of your tribe members?
  • Wolf Creek - not nearly as bad as Sunrise, but still in major need of an overhaul. What is up with the color scheme? Whoever signed off on these colors needs shot. But at least the links work. I don't like the redundant use of navigation on both the sidebar and the bottom of the page, especially that the links are not in the same order.
  • Rock Dodge - not a bad site, for having a copyright in 2002. I don't really like their use of tables and I hate them using white text in colored table cells. But they have a consistent color theme. Their navigation links are too small to see and get around on and the white text contributes to that.
  • Brian Head - Their new summer site is not much to look at. They did a redesign last year of their winter site and I am not a huge fan of the light green text against a dark green background. Again, minor quibbles. Their navigation is easy to use. This site was just redesigned this last year, but their old site was not bad at all. I really wish the site had more information about the new ski lift improvements.

The last two don't even belong in the same category as the first. Brian Head's and Red Lodge's sites are well laid out and well designed, except for the color schemes. And even at that, they could be much worse.

Please Wolf Creek and Sunrise, fix your crappy sites. There are lots of folks that design web pages for a living and do it pretty cheap. Give it to a college class as a class project. But it is time. Well past time. Sunrise can afford to pay lawyers to put their competition out of business (Snowbowl) with all their casino money, why not spend a little on the resort website?

Posted by Justin at 09:23 AM | Comments (1)

January 24, 2007

Skiing for a Family of Four

I want to expand further on the rising cost of skiing and pricing families out of the market. I want to post the real economics of skiing for a family that isn't addicted like I am and doesn't have season passes, their own equipment, and a condo at a resort. I am going to talk specifically about Brian Head, which represents a good "budget friendly family resort", but these costs are fairly representative.

Cost per Day Cost for 3 Day Weekend
Lift Tickets $50 per person = $200 $600
Rentals $25 per person = $100 $300
Condo Rental $200 $600
Food (and remember how expensive resorts are) $100 $300
Gas to and from the resort (rough guess) each way = $50 $100
--------- ---------
Total $1900

Now, remember that you can stay at a hotel in town and eat at Taco Bell, so maybe we can cut a few hundred dollars out of the budget for food and lodging. For that matter, you could drive a Prius hybrid and get 45 miles per gallon (however snow really sucks for passenger cars). We start cutting those costs and you are still over $1000 for a three day weekend of skiing for a family of four. You can make the argument that this is on par with Disneyland or the other major attractions. Maybe this seems reasonable. But this is FOR ONE WEEKEND of skiing. I can't imagine going to Disneyland three or four times per year, but I can certainly imagine going skiing more than one weekend per year. Most of that cost is in lift tickets and rentals. If you want to ski Aspen, you better double that number or possibly more. And again, this demonstrates the value of the Colorado Pass, discounts, owning gear, going to small resorts, and cutting costs.

In our case, we own our equipment. A good set of adult skis bought on E-bay runs $250 plus another $150 for bindings and mounting. Boots run $150 for a low end cheap pair, but probably more like $250 for adults and $100-150 for kids. So for each adult, we are talking at least $600-700 for skis, boots, and bindings and these are E-bay prices for new equipment. Kids gear is cheaper so that number is more like $300-400 per kid for their skis, boots, and bindings. So for a family of four, let's say $2000. Then you have coats and ski pants. Plus gloves, face masks, walkie talkies, helmets, hats, long johns. Figure it is at least $300 per person for these items when they are bought on sale in April when things go on clearance. That is another $1200.

Rough estimate is $3500 for gear, plus another $300 or so per year because kids outgrow stuff or you lose stuff. Then you have season passes which in my case run $200 per kid plus $300 per adult. Figure that is roughly $1000 per year. On top of that, you still have to eat and have a place to stay. We have our own condo, so we cook most times (which helps tons).

Prices are going to keep rising unless there is some competition, and honestly I don't know if competition will even help. Skiing already competes with other sports and other entertainment for our budget dollar. If average Americans can't afford the sport without major sacrifices, how do we keep the sport from getting out of reach?

Posted by Justin at 01:30 PM | Comments (1)

January 23, 2007

New Magazine-The Ski Journal-Takes on Day Trip Resorts

The Ski Journal is a subscription financed venture that is not filled with the advertising 10 page glossies and pimping for the big resorts that seems to haunt the big publications. Call it a coffee table magazine filled with big pictures and stories that are not tainted by the need to please the big money advertisers.

This week's issue takes on four day trip areas including Jeremy's favorite, Bridger Bowl, Montana.

Condos, alpen-malls and lift-serviced snowshoe trails – resort development has overrun many of North America’s classic ski haunts. Here are four which strive to remain true to their local base while dealing with the challenges upgrading and competing. Featuring Bridger Bowl, MT Alpental, WA Powder Mountain, UT and Mad River Glen, VT.

I have to add Wolf Creek, Colorado to the list. In a recent article in Transworld Magazine, they stated the following:

If you call Colorado’s Wolf Creek Ski Area during business hours, you’ll actually get a live voice; call after 5:00 p.m, and you’ll be greeted by what sounds like an answering machine—there’s no automated voicemail system here. The venerable resort tallied around 216,000 skier visits in 2004/05—record-breaking numbers for Wolf Creek, but small potatoes compared to nearby heavyweights like Vail and its 1.5-million skier visits.

This grassroots appeal—along with an annual snowfall of 30 to 40 feet—is the very thing people love about Wolf Creek. Recently a proposed development in the middle of the resort has stirred a heated battle between resort operators, the Forest Service, Texas-based developers, the county, residents of several nearby towns, and a slew of environmental groups.

As proposed, the Village at Wolf Creek would include around 2,200 housing units—enough for up to 10,500 people—and 222,100 square feet of commercial space on 300 acres of land inside the Rio Grande National Forest. The land, acquired by Texas-based developer Red McCombs in a 1986 land swap with the Forest Service, is surrounded by acres of federal land, including the 1,600 acres that comprise Wolf Creek. The resort currently has no base-area town, and visitors head to nearby Pagosa Springs and South Fork—towns with a combined population of less than 1,000—to sleep, eat, and rent gear.

If you read my entries regularly, you will notice that I have several longstanding opinions:

  • Skiing and snowboarding are becoming increasingly exclusionary sports due to rising prices of gear, lift tickets, lodging, etc. This is making our sport the sport of the rich and super rich and pricing families out of the industry.
  • Mega-resorts that cater to big city affluent folks (read the Vails and Aspens of the world) dominate the landscape of the sport because of their tie ins with ski magazines, marketing outlets, and the big money folks that run the sport.
  • Small resorts are finding it increasingly difficult to expand or offer better terrain, snowmaking, etc., due to the economic disparity between the big resorts and small and due to the fact that most ski areas lose money on the skiing operational aspects of their business, but make money off of ancillary services such as Real Estate, Development, and Commercial businesses that cater to the affluent.
  • Housing, Wages, and Benefits for workers in the industry remain poor which further increases the gap between the wealthy folks that can afford to ski and the rest of the folks that have to work as waiters, lift operators, or hotel workers to get their season pass at the local resort.
  • When you drop $83 per day for a lift ticket and that is more than most of the employees at the resort make for that day ($9 per hour X 8 hours per day = $72), you have an industry that is priced beyond the reach of a growing number of consumers.
  • The economic forces that allow ski resorts to charge $83 are simple supply and demand. There are not enough resorts, enough runs, enough lift capacity, enough good terrain, or enough snow to support more than 60M skier visits per year and the big resorts already have their share of the affluent folks that everyone wants because they are the ones that fuel the bottom line. So the smaller day trip resorts without condos to sell, hotels to fill, shops to sell gear, and the other economic advantages of the majors, fight for the scraps of day trippers on a budget.

Ironically, the populist party lead by folks like Ted Kennedy, John Edwards, and John Kerry give their "Two Americas" speech over and over, yet they participate in a sport (see Michael Kennedy's death at Aspen in 1998 and John Kerry's snowboarding in 2004 prior to the election) that most of the people in that "other America" can not even dream of enjoying. Add in the fact that environmental groups move to block every single expansion of every single resort in an attempt to keep the world "pristine". With no expansion, resorts will continue to raise prices and the demanding and wealthy public will continue to pay it.

This is what two Americas is, my friends. One America where the rich have their own sports like polo, yachting, and increasingly skiing; another America where the rest of us save for months to afford to take day trips to places like Wolf Creek, Colorado, where we can afford to ski because they offer a no frills experience for under $50 per day. A sport where in order to snowboard, people have to steal gear since a new board and bindings run over $600. Wolf Creek, Alta, Bridger Bowl, A-Basin, Loveland, Brian Head, Arizona Snowbowl, among others, are the antidote to this world. All have lift tickets for around $50 or less. Most are no frills areas with minimal night lifes and minimal or affordable lodging.

I am not saying that we need to not allow them to ever expand because it will change their character, although some suggest just that sort of thing. I am suggesting that we indeed allow them to expand, but in measured and reasonable ways--things like adding snowmaking or installing new lifts or opening new terrain. We allow them to develop their areas, and even build reasonable base areas and condo developments. These condos and base areas help support the sport and keep these places in business. Many locals and environmentalists don't want any growth because it will change the character of their favorite spots.

I want more people to enjoy the sport. I want more folks to be able to afford to ski. I want my friends to go and to be able to afford to go more often. I want middle class people to take their kids. But strangely, a lot of the affluent folks don't want us at their areas unless we can afford to be there. As if my dad skiing on my hand-me-down skis and wearing my hand-me-down jacket diminishes their enjoyment of the sport of the super rich.

Let them keep polo and yachting. I want skiing back for the rest of us.

Posted by Justin at 01:03 PM | Comments (1)

December 07, 2006

Wolf Creek's New Chair Passes Load Test

Wolf Creek has announced that the Raven Lift has passed the Colorado Tramways lift test. In the picture the lift is loaded with approxamately 1000 lbs. in the barrels to simulate me and my fat buddies heading up.

The lift replaces the OLD Dickey Lift which was to the far right hand side of the trail map. Did I mention that Dickey was OLD. Crusty double chair. The lift serves mostly beginner and intermediate terrain, but this should free up seats on Bonanza and Treasure chairs.

New Raven Lift at Wolf Creek

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

October 22, 2006

Wolf Creek opens on Friday

Wolf Creek to open on Friday. This makes the third resort in Colorado to open after A-basin and Loveland last week.

On Friday, October 27th, Wolf Creek Ski Area will celebrate its earliest opening ever with 57 inches of snowfall from September and October! Wolf Creek Ski Area is reporting an all-natural snow depth of 15 inches at the midway and 25 inches at summit. Early season conditions do exist.

Treasuer, Bonanza and nova Lifts will open at 8:30 a.m., while construction continuesj on the new Raven Lift.

The ski school, rental, sport shop, Wolf Pup building, Wolf Creek lodge and the Pathfinder Bar will also be open.

Posted by Justin at 08:49 PM | Comments (1)

October 11, 2006

Wolf Creek gets 22" During Latest Storm

Wolf Creek has already received 42" of snow so far this year and got another 22" the last couple of days.

Today is my birthday and for my birthday, it appears that both Brian Head and Wolf Creek got some snow. But the best part is the news from Arizona Snowbowl:

Ski fans will rejoice to know that while it will be a sunny day in the Valley today, a light dusting of snow last night added to the about 2 inches of snow that fell Sunday night and Monday morning at higher elevations outside Flagstaff. The Arizona Snowbowl ski area reports snow at about the 9,500 foot level.

Snowbowl Marketing Director Dave Smith said, "Hopes are high here among all of us that this snow is the first sign that we're going to have a great season. It would be terrific if we could be open by Thanksgiving."

Let us hope.

Posted by Justin at 09:52 AM | Comments (1)

November 10, 2005

Mid-November and still no snow at Brian Head or Wolf Creek

It has been a brutal winter so far for skiers in the South Rockies. Wolf Creek, Durango Mountain, Telluride, and Brian Head are all bare. The very upper reaches of the mountains (above 10,000 ft or so) might have enough snow to cover a rock or two, but that is about it. From Wolf Creek's ski report:

Wolf Creek is anxiously waiting on snow!! Twenty-four inches has fallen year-to-date but warm temperatures have reduced the snowfall to 8 inches at the summit and 2 inches at the midway. We will announce our opening plans as soon as mother nature leaves her mark on the slopes.

I have yet to step in to my bindings for 2005-2006. I am not going to drive 16 hours to ski one run at A-Basin or Loveland, so until some snow starts flying, I am pretty much hating life. Good news is it is football season and tonight I am heading to watch my old high school team in the playoffs. There better be snow before football season is over...

Posted by Justin at 11:29 AM | Comments (1)

October 15, 2005

First trip of the season--Wolf Creek in two weeks

It is set. I am opening the season at Wolf Creek two weeks from today. I may sneak up earlier, but am stuck working in Seattle this week on a customer gig. In preparation for Seattle, I have stopped shaving the last week, thrown out my Right Guard, and grown a man-Ponytail--all perfect to compliment my ski bum look. =) That makes the assumption that they will be open by then, but I think I am fairly safe. It appears that there are a couple of storms coming in the next week. Their current ski report states:

Wolf Creek received 14 inches of snow from this past storm leaving a 10 inch base at the summit and a 4 inch base midway. We are hoping for another big storm so we can keep you updated on conditions and opening day.

Speaking of Wolf Creek, now is as good of time as any to explain why I am in love with the place. First, and most important, is the snow. I would ski a cow pasture with a small hill if the snow was good. I took a sick fall and busted my head up night skiing on an ice day three years ago, so I love the fact that Wolf Creek usually has lots of the soft stuff to protect me from myself. Plus my new atomic fats love the powder. Last year I got absolutely spoiled with powder in the Southwest, while most of Summit had to use their rock skis.

Second, it is not a "destination". Despite the development plans announced a couple of years ago to build condos (and with the help of the anti-development groups hell bent on keeping the place the way it is), Wolf Creek has no slopeside condos, shopping, village, etc. You go there to ski and stay in Pagosa. There is nothing fancy or high end about the place. One of the boarders in the slopeside Boarder Dome was talking about the fight over "The Village at Wolf Creek" condo project and said he moved from Aspen just because he hated the way it was taken over by rich folks who were more focused on how they looked than on the skiing. I am mixed on the development aspects because there is so much more terrain that could be opened but probably won't if the resort doesn't expand. It is a business, let us not forget, not a charity for pot head snowboarders that live in VW buses. =)

Third, the hotel I stay in costs around $55 a night for two double beds. It is a 20 minute drive up the mountain, but come on... $55? Get real. And right next door to the hotel are a couple of ski shops and an awesome Chinese restaurant. Grab some sweet and sour whatever and some rice to get the carbs back in the legs.

Fourth, if you have kids, the Wolf Pups program is probably the best value of any youth program I have seen. $50 for an entire day and that includes lift tickets and lunch for kids under 8. You see the kids skiing from the lift with their instructors and they howl like wolves. My son Jake is 8 and spent two days in Wolf Pups last year despite being a solid blue-black skier and they helped him work on his parallel turns. The program lets out at 2:45 PM so there is another hour or so to ski together after that.

Fifth, Alberta and the Waterfall Area. The Alberta lift is fairly remote and there are very few cut runs on the far left side of the resort. It is almost all glade skiing, leaving tons of untracked powder. Before the Superbowl last year we skied almost a week after a big snowstorm and were still in mostly powder. Not the crap they call powder or packed powder that in reality is neither of the above, but rather snow that was untouched through the trees.

Finally, proximity. Wolf Creek is only 9 hours from Phoenix. An impromptu trip last year started at 8 PM on a Thursday night and we were asleep in the Avalanche by 5 AM in the parking lot after a pretty solid debate of politics, money and religion and what came close to a fistfight over politics and religion. =) It sure made the trip go faster though.

Posted by Justin at 11:43 AM | Comments (2)