Monday, December 19, 2011

Thanks, Google, but it's just not the same.

If you go to and type in "let it snow" without quotes, it starts snowing in your open window.

Thanks, Google!

That's fun & all, but it's just not the same as real snow out my real window. Maybe soon...

(Thanks @DougHaney for the hint.)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The snow will come eventually.

Snowfall totals in Summit County, Colorado are meager these days.

But the snow will come eventually. Keep the faith.

And if your schedule is flexible, you might want to pick up the Copper Mountain Snow Day Pass. You pay $99 for the pass, and you can ski/ride at Copper on any day when they receive 4 or more inches of snow.

Many call this the best pass deal of the season.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cheap Ski Deals Can Still Be Found!

You don't have to be a trust-fund kid to be able to afford to ski in Colorado this season...

$37.00 per day for the Legends 4-Pass at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area.

$37.50 per day for a 4-pack at Eldora Mountain Resort. (No limit on the number of 4 packs you can buy, but they are non-transferable.)

$32.25 per day for a 4-pack at Loveland Ski Area. No limit on the number you can buy, and these lift passes are transferable.

$10 per day for one February day of skiing at Ski Cooper, if you buy a Colorado Gems Card.

Or you can hitchhike along US6 for as many free back-country runs off Loveland Pass as you can handle.

Friday, November 4, 2011

From "Never-Ever" to Stem Turns in 2.5 Hours

Congratulations to my new friend, Tony, from Sydney, Australia who learned to ski this week.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Max Dercum (1912-2011)

Max Dercum (namesake of Keystone Ski Area's Dercum Mountain, and co-founder of Arapahoe Basin Ski Area) died today at age 98. Click here for an article from Summit Daily News.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The world needs more people like the Bullards.

Wanda Bullard, whose front-porch story-telling was the inspiration for The Moth, died this past week. Watch this video and remember with me why the world needs more people like the Bullards.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Congrats to Silverton Ski Patrollers on 1st Turns of the Season

Silverton, CO - A sharp cold front dropped snow across the mountains of Colorado and Utah over the weekend, and where the wind piled snow into drifts some intrepid Silverton Mountain ski patrollers got their first turns of the season in on Sunday. After a series of snowy nights at Silverton Mountain, a few lucky ski patrollers jumped on the chairlift on Sunday and headed to the top of Silverton Mountain to make turns.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Isn't it beautiful?!?!

It's September in Colorado.
The snow is coming back.
The Obsessive Skier is growing increasingly obsessive with each passing day and each passing storm.

Photo stolen from A-Basin's webcam on Thursday, September 15th at 10:37am.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011's back.

Photos of SNOW taken today, September 6, 2011, between 3& 4pm at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area.'s back.

Monday, September 5, 2011

35 days until ski season.

Here's my prediction: Within 35 days, Arapahoe Basin will have beaten Loveland Ski Area in their annual race to open. And the 2011-2012 Ski Season will have begun, no later than October 10th.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

People are Still Spending on Skiing.

Colorado ski areas spending millions on upgrades

Updated: 08/31/2011 10:53:12 AM MDT

SOLVISTA BASIN The Granby facility is adding features to its terrain park, including an underground gas tank, log jibs and a 6-foot-tall satellite dish. (Special to The Denver Post)

New lifts, lodges, parks and perks are behind the more than $100 million that Colorado's ski areas are pumping into their hills for the upcoming season.

On the heels of the busiest U.S. ski season ever and defying the rumbling over a possible double-dip recession, ski areas are returning to the high times with upgrades and investments that mirror the industry's boom years in the early 2000s.

The mammoth Vail Resorts, the top dog in the state's tourism industry with four Colorado ski areas, is leading the charge with upward of $128 million in upgrades to its six hills, including a new high-speed chair in Beaver Creek's Rose Bowl, a new eatery on Vail Mountain and $30 million in work at its newest resort, California's

CRESTED BUTTE Skiers can now add zip-lining to the menu of activities at some Colorado Ski Country USA resorts. Crested Butte has a Zip Line Canopy Tour, open year-round. (Special to The Denver Post)

Colorado's other 22 ski areas are injecting more than $50 million into upgrades, with a new chair and terrain at Aspen's Buttermilk and new lifts at Copper Mountain, Loveland, Monarch and Ski Cooper.

Tapping the vibe of playful skiers and 'boarders, several resorts are elevating their terrain parks with creative additions such as SolVista's natural log park and trick-friendly features. Winter Park's now dug-in halfpipe will energize its Rail Yard Terrain Park and require less manmade snow (i.e., water and energy) during installation.

Durango Mountain Resort and Crested Butte Mountain Resort are boosting their above-snow play with ski-up zip lines, while Monarch adds a new Sno-Cat for its backcountry powder chasers and Wolf Creek replaces its race hut.

Aspen Skiing Co., a national leader in earth-friendly construction, is constructing its fifth super- green building with its 300-seat Elk Camp restaurant, scheduled to open for the 2012-13 season. The company is also renovating Aspen Highlands' midmountain Merry- Go-Round restaurant. Crested Butte too is revamping its midhill Paradise Warming House, and Steamboat is building a new apres- ski bar at the slopeside Steamboat Grand hotel.

STEAMBOAT A new apres-ski bar in the Cabin Restaurant at the Steamboat Grand has a new menu. The resort is among those enhancing snowmaking operations. (Special to The Denver Post)
Loveland is giving its Ptarmigan Roost Cabin a face-lift and installing its first on-hill restrooms.

Copper Mountain's new partnership with the U.S. Ski Team means a smarter snowmaking system will help American racers train in the early season. Loveland, Steamboat and Eldora Mountain Resort also are enhancing their snowmaking operations.

Then there's the simple stuff that's only noticeable when it's wrong. New paving at Monarch will shift the parking lot from a muddy dash to a simple stroll. Heated pavers will eliminate wading on the approach to Steamboat's slopes. And frills-free Silverton Mountain is going swank with a used carpet to cover the very-used carpet in its base tent.

"Talk about plush," Silverton Mountain owner Aaron Brill said.

Jason Blevins: 303-954-1374 or

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Don't miss these deals!

Westword has published a list of early bird pass deals, but the best ski deal in the Centennial State is the $10 Colorado Gems card. Don't miss out.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"From Famous to Infamous...just like that."

Note to readers: Ski season is still a few months away, so rather than write a boring review of the 2011 Ski Magazine Buyers Guide, The Obsessive Skier is reminiscing on his youth today.

The truth is that The Obsessive Skier is almost 42. If you do the math, that means I was a teenager during the 1980's. Yes, I wore a pair of Vans (even though I lived in the suburbs of St. Louis and rarely ever stepped on my skateboard). Yes, I owned a pair of Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses in a vain attempt to look like Maverick in Top Gun. And yes, on one hot summer night, I was dancing with some friends during a Milli Vanilli concert in the Old Glory Ampitheater at Six-Flags Over Mid-America. "Girl, you know it's true" and "Blame it on the Rain" and "Baby, Don't Lose My Number" and all that. If you were alive at the time, or pay much attention at all to pop culture in the US, you know the scandalous story of Milli Vanilli's lip-synching.

This morning, while sipping an iced green tea at a Starbucks in Boulder, a new episode from The Moth popped up in my iTunes podcast list. (My cool-ness has come a long way, hasn't it?)

Fab Morvan has skillfully crafted his side of the Milli Vanilli story and shared it with the world via The Moth. Fab's version of the story a kind-of morality tale with themes of self-absorption, manipulation, and deception (things that we're all pretty good at, if we're honest with ourselves). If you carve out 15 minutes and listen to it, you will hear a man who has learned some lessons the hard way, changed and grown as both a man and an artist. I think his most poignant line he used in his story-telling was this: "From famous to infamous...just like that."

Like most of us, Fab seems to still have a few lessons to learn about life. But one thing I especially admire about Fab Morvan is that he has kept moving forward as a musician in the face of incredibly intense public scorn and humiliation. Unlike his partner-in-crime, Rob Pilatus, Fab Morvan is still alive and still making music. And for that reason alone, I'm still a fan.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Memorial Day Skiing = Family Fun

Monday, May 30, 2011
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area
Summit County, Colorado

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What a great snow year!

Rock Cut, Trail Ridge Road

These photos are from Rocky Mountain National Park's public gallery on Picasa.

Near Rock Cut, Trail Ridge Road

Near Fairview Curve, Trail Ridge Road

Friday, April 29, 2011

Old Ski Lifts = Art?

The Obsessive Skier visited the Denver Art Museum tonight. While spending some time in the DAM's new "Blink" exhibition, he came across this:

Old Ski Lifts = Art?

Monday, April 25, 2011

I don't think he's really an Arab.

Residents in and around Winter Park have been reporting occasional sightings of the "Thoub-Skier" schusching down the slopes in authentic Middle-Eastern garb. The Obsessive Skier obtained these photos over the weekend from an anonymous source. Upon closer inspection of these photos, I don't think the "Thoub-Skier" is really an Arab after all.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ski Pipe is Official.

Torin Yater-Wallace, competing at the Winter X Games, can't wait for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. "I'll be in the prime of my career, the top of my game and close to being the best out there," he says. ( RJ Sangosti )

Torin Yater-Wallace likes the ring of it: Olympian.

Aspen's homegrown halfpipe-skiing superstar will be 18 when his sport debuts at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in 2014.

When the International Olympic Committee announced last week that it was embracing ski halfpipe for the 2014 Games in Sochi, an army of young ski-shod aerialists raced to the pipe and started spring training.

In three years, their sport -- which has long endured in the shadow of board-riding rock stars such as Shaun White -- will debut on the world's greatest stage with higher airs and smoother spins than the side-saddled snowboarders.

"I'm really excited," Yater-Wallace said last week. "I'll be in the prime of my career, the top of my game and close to being the best out there."

The skier's soaring airs and clean landings earned him a silver medal at the Winter X Games this year and a gold medal at the FIS freestyle World Cup last month in La Plagne, France.

The IOC's announcement was somewhat expected, with many of the pipe's top skiers already honing their FIS cred by traveling the globe to compete in halfpipe contests that still don't pack nearly the punch of their sport's top event, the Winter X Games in Aspen.

Skier Sarah Burke, Canada's perennially podiumed halfpipe queen and last year's World Cup halfpipe champion, won last month's halfpipe World Cup in France. At age 28, Burke shows no signs of loosening her grip on her "world's best" status. But when Sochi arrives, the pioneer of women's pipe skiing will be 31.

"It's definitely intimidating. The way it is right now, I'm competing with teenagers," she said, declining to mention that she's also still winning. "I don't bounce as easily as I used to or like the younger kids do. But I'm definitely up for the challenge. This has been a goal of mine for a long, long time."

Helping Burke -- as well as the countless teenagers in her wake -- is the proliferation of airbags and foam pits in training. Without threat of bone-shattering mistakes, athletes can use the airbags and foam pits to dial-in a trick's muscular mechanics.

The new training tools as well as the Olympic horizon promise a population boom in halfpipe skiers. Look for more 22-foot Olympic superpipes across the country and definitely more high-flying, Olympics-focused crowds in those pipes.

"People are going to start showing up next year and start skiing halfpipe. But it's not like they are going to be popping up and winning. It takes a long time to get good at halfpipe," said Simon Dumont, 24, a decade-long veteran of competitive pipe skiing with six X Games medals.

Training facilities such as Woodward at Copper Mountain and clubs such as Yater-Wallace's Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club and the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail already are hosting Olympic-ready pipe skiers who are barely teens. And there are pipe veterans in Colorado who help blaze trails and inspire the crop of up-and-comers, including Carbondale's Pete Olenick and Dumont, who both train in Breckenridge.

"If we continue on the path we are on right now, we have a good chance to really put some local kids on the 2014 team," said Ben Brown, director of Woodward at Copper.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Watch out for bears!

by Kraig Becker from

A 12-year old Swedish boy has quite a tale to share after he accidently skied into a bear den last Friday, much to the ire of the inhabitant, who was home at the time.

Ollie Frisk and four of his friends were skiing in the backcountry at the Härjedalen ski resort, located in northern Sweden, at the time of the incident. Frisk unwittingly skied over the den, causing it to collapse under his weight and sending him tumbling inside. The female brown bear slumbering beneath the snow, woke up at the sound of an intruder in her home, and immediately pounced on the young man, who says he thought that he was dead for sure.

"I accepted death, that was the feeling, let it come," Frisk is quoted as saying.

But Ollie didn't die. Instead, he says, he quit struggling as he accepted the inevitability of his fate, and when he did so, the bear simply stopped attacking him. A few moments later she wandered out of the lair, where Ollie's friends made loud noises to scare her away. They then helped Frisk from the den, and back down the hill to safety.

The boy spent the night in a hospital, where he was treated for bite wounds on both legs and scratches on his back. Although he is lucky to be alive, Ollie is recovering quite nicely now and has returned home with his family.

The bear's cubs might not be so lucky however. After being scared off, the female hasn't returned to the den and the cubs have now been left alone for several days. If they aren't fed soon, wildlife officials may need to step in to save them. They're still hoping that mama will return home to her kids, but they are prepared to act if she doesn't.

[Photo credit: HBarrison via WikiMedia]

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Way to go, Buffs!

STOWE, Vt. -- The University of Colorado ski team had one goal at the beginning of the season. On Saturday that mission was accomplished. The Buffs won the NCAA Championships with a wire-to-wire victory.

Read the rest of this article from the Boulder Daily Camera.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Go Cardinals!

During MLB Spring Training, the Obsessive Skier is on the mountain as often as he can get. But he does pay attention to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Having a hard time figuring out what baseball team you should root for?

This handy flowchart is here to help.

Click the photo for a larger, easier-to-read version.

I care.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

President's Day Powder. Ahhh...

7 inches of new snow at Vail's Blue Sky Basin on President's Day.

Good times!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Does he get paid to do this?

It looks to me like Jason Blevins has one of those jobs...

Why does he get to write reviews of 2011 model skis?

I think his are the yellow boots.

But I'm not bitter...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ducking Ropes to Poach Pow Could Cost $1000


WASHINGTON - Lawmakers in Washington, D.C. are debating a bill that would make out-of-bounds skiing at ski areas a civil infraction, resulting in a $1,000 fine. It is similar to a Colorado state law that has been in place since 2006.

The Colorado Skier Safety Act allows authorities to charge skiers $1,000 if they are caught ducking ropes.

The Summit County Sheriff's Department says after the law passed, skier citations dropped from 27 in 2006 to nine in 2007.

More ski areas are dealing with infractions on their own, using education instead of enforcement, with only repeat offenders facing charges.

"I'm telling you now, don't do it, be warned, but we will try to work with you for education, show you where the access points are and get you in a class for avalanche awareness. But if you are regularly accessing and ducking ropes and creating an unsafe environment for yourself and rescuers then, yes, there are consequences for that," Breckenridge Ski Area spokeswoman Kristen Petitt said.

Skiing out-of-bounds is still permitted if a skier leaves the ski area through a back-country access gate.

Generally, if you're not sure, you should ask a member of the ski patrol.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

Monday, January 24, 2011

It Only Takes One

Backcountry skiers need to be aware of how their decisions complicate slide control work done by the Departments of Transportation in the western states.

From the January 24, 2011 issue of High Country News by Emilene Ostlind

About 10 miles west of Jackson, Wyo., the crest of Glory Bowl looms 1,600 feet above Teton Pass. Its steep, open slope provides some of the most popular backcountry skiing in the U.S., with an unbroken run all the way back to the trailhead. Skiers and snowboarders made an estimated 80,000 runs down the bowl and surrounding slopes last year, possibly the most of any trailhead in the West.

Glory Bowl also sits atop an avalanche path that can overrun Highway 22, which is traversed by roughly 5,000 vehicles a day, many driven by people commuting from eastern Idaho to jobs in Jackson. After a big storm blows through, Wyoming Department of Transportation avalanche technician Jamie Yount gathers data about snow depth, weight and cohesion to forecast where and when avalanches might occur. Then he and the highway crew close the road and fire cannons to trigger small, predictable, easy-to-clear slides, hoping to prevent large natural avalanches.

"People assume since there is control work, it's safe to ski," Yount says. But in three separate incidents this November, backcountry skiers triggered avalanches that smothered sections of the highway. The road was closed for hours at a time -- even overnight -- while WYDOT rushed to clear the frozen rubble. Over 500 commuters called to complain about skier-caused highway closures. A rumor spread that the agency would stop plowing the skier parking lot to discourage backcountry use.

The geography of Teton Pass makes Highway 22 especially vulnerable to skier-triggered slides. But it's not just a local problem; as development and recreation swell in far-flung mountain towns, challenges for avalanche managers are piling up. "There's a very large increase in backcountry use across the West," says Ethan Greene, director of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Exact numbers are lacking, but Greene says skiers are flocking to terrain accessible by road -- the same snow-caked slopes that give highway departments so much trouble.

"It's a pretty freaking difficult job," says Liam Fitzgerald, a Utah Department of Transportation avalanche forecaster, who does mitigation work east of Salt Lake City, especially in Big and Little Cottonwood canyons. A study of the Little Cottonwood Canyon highway described it as one of the riskiest for avalanches in North America. During ski season, up to 6,500 vehicles a day wind along the canyon wall below 3,000 vertical feet of snowy, slide-prone slopes. When avalanche danger peaks, buildings in Alta and Snowbird are sometimes evacuated. Even with extensive mitigation, natural slides can still come down.

Add backcountry skiers, and the job of trying to protect roads and buildings from avalanches becomes even harder. In mid-December, UDOT posted signs in Big Cottonwood Canyon warning backcountry skiers to stay off slopes threatening the highway where they planned to airdrop explosives to shed one storm's load before another rolled in. But when the helicopter spotted three backcountry skiers beyond the closure signs, the mission was called off and could not be rescheduled before the storm hit. That storm dumped less new snow than predicted, but could have caused avalanche hazard levels resulting in lengthy road closures, blocking access to the ski resorts up the canyon. "This is a case of a small number of people impacting a large number of people," Fitzgerald says. "They are not looking at the big picture."

Fitzgerald believes the situation will get worse as more people venture into the backcountry. "Twenty years ago, there was hardly a problem. Ten years ago, more of a problem," he says. Today, it's even harder "to make sure no one is in the area where you do control work."

Still, there's little support for cutting off backcountry access. Greene says the increase in outdoor recreation is "representative of the New West environment." Recreation has replaced industries like mining and ranching as the major economic force in many mountain towns, where new construction increasingly gets in the way of avalanche mitigation. The Colorado Department of Transportation stopped bombing one slide path near Ouray after a cabin was built downhill. "If there is a home in the runout zone, we can't do control work," says CDOT maintenance superintendent Kyle Lester. When hazard is high, "the road stays closed until it releases naturally or the snow pack stabilizes."

The rumors that skier access on Teton Pass would be blocked came to nothing. More than 600 people attended an avalanche awareness meeting held by an outdoor gear shop in Jackson in December, and WYDOT promised to keep plowing the lot. "WYDOT needed to flex their muscle a little bit," says Teton Pass Ambassador Jay Pistono, whose job title indicates the strained relationship between skiers and the transportation department. Pistono works as a liaison between the two on behalf of the Forest Service and a local access advocacy group. He warns that access could still be cut off if a skier-caused avalanche ever kills a commuter.

"All we can do is try and educate them," adds WYDOT forecaster Yount, a backcountry skier himself. "But it only takes one person to ruin it."

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cousins are cool.

Great first family ski day of the season this past Monday with some cousins from the STL.