Monday, December 29, 2008

Montezuma Bowl Opens at Arapahoe Basin

Arapahoe Basin in Colorado announces the opening of Montezuma Bowl for Tuesday December 30. Frequent and heavy recent storms has enabled Arapahoe Basin to open this terrain a couple of weeks early this year. Just in time for skiing and riding the New Year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Holiday Note for our Members

If you're looking for discounts over the holiday here is a list of the best deals on lift tickets for Mountain Sports Club members this holiday!

The Team at Mountain Sports Club wishes all our Members Happy Holiday and hope that you have many happy and safe turns on their favorite mountain this season!

The Mountain Sports Club Office will be closed noon 12/24 through 12/25 and with limited hours on 12/26.

A Message from America's Best Bootfitters

Mastering powder and tackling technical steeps may be the most difficult parts of skiing and snowboarding but finding a great boot fitter is just as challenging. And it's probably more important.

We've made finding a miracle-working bootfitter easier than ever at is your connection to America's Best Bootfitters, an organization of elite ski and snowboard shops that have dedicated themselves to learning the most advanced methods for fitting and modifying boots.

Out of the thousands of ski and snowboard shops in the U.S., fewer than 100 have been certified America's Best Bootfitters.

I'm Steve Cohen and I've dedicated the past 25 years to improving the quality of ski and snowboard bootfitting. I've directed boot testing programs and written about boot fitting for Ski and Ski Press magazines and co-founded the Masterfit University Training Centers where ski and snowboard shops from all over the world come to study state-of-the-art bootfitting techniques. Now I'm working with the America's Best Bootfitters team.

It's no secret that properly fit boots provide greater precision and comfort on the hill. But World Class bootfitting isn't just for World Cup skiers and X-Games snowboarders. I've personally seen hundreds of everyday sliders make a quantum leap in their skills and spend more high-quality, pain-free time on the hill thanks to the improved fit and comfort a top-notch bootfitter can provide.

So if you're in the market for new boots or simply want to eliminate a nagging hot spot in your current ride, check out to find a World Class shop near your home or a ski area you may be visiting this winter. You'll find profiles on all the ABB Certified shops as well as useful tips on boot selection and even some fit tweaks you can accomplish yourself.

P.S. Don't let another season go by. Make this your year to slide better and pain-free. The ABB boot techs look forward to helping you!

Steve Cohen

Executive Director

America's Best Bootfitters

Sunday, December 21, 2008

K2 Stryker Skis With Marker Binding over 50% savings

The K2 Stryker Ski with Marker M1 ski binding is now on sales at over 50% off at Sun and Ski Sports as the deal of the week. Now only $499, save over $500 now.This is a great value packed ski and binding package.

The best balance of ease, forgiveness and performance comes together in the performance focused all-mountain K2 Stryker Ski with Marker binding. Combine its 74mm waist width, moderate side cut, and the M1 binding system, and you have a highly versatile ski that effortlessly carvers on groomers or through crud.

Intermediate to Expert Ski.

  • MOD Monic
  • MOD Technology
  • Triaxial Braided

    Tecnical Specs
  • Dimensions: 118/74/103
  • Performance: 40% ungroomed/ 60% groomed
  • Radius: 17m @174
  • Construction: Torsion Box
  • Core: Fir/Aspen

    Take advantage on Mountain Sports Club of 10 off purchase of $50 or more at Sun and Ski Sports and save even more.
  • Lift ticket discounts at Ski & Snowboard Resorts in North America this Holiday season

    The increasing array of lift ticket discounts available this ski and snowboard season at resorts in North America is a sign of the times for Mountain Sports Club members. There are great discounts available even during this holiday season.

    The Mountain Sports Club, an online subscription service, provides members discount lift ticket savings up to 2 for 1 and daily discounts at Colorado resorts like Loveland, Monarch Mountain, Sunlight Mountain and Ski Cooper. Discounts vary from resort to resort enabling resorts to target different discounts depending on the time of the year and day of the week.

    While many resorts restrict discounts during holiday periods the following resorts have offers valid during the upcoming holidays.

    Colorado holiday lift ticket discounts:
    Loveland - Save $6 daily
    Monarch - Save $10 daily is valid on Christmas Day and again starting New year's Day 2009.
    Ski Cooper - 2 for 1 and daily Savings of $10 Valid December 25 - Christmas Day and again starting New year's Day 2009.
    Sunlight Mountain Resort - 2 for 1 lift ticket discounts valid Christmas Day then restricted till January 5.

    Maine holiday lift ticket discounts:
    Lost Valley - Save $5 Daily no restrictions
    Shawnee Peak - save $6 daily during the holidays, additional 2 for 1 in non holidays.

    Michigan holiday lift ticket discounts:
    The Homestead Resort - Save big with 2 for 1 lift tickets from 12.26 through March daily.

    New Hampshire holiday lift ticket discounts:
    The Balsams - Save 30% on lift tickets this holiday.
    King Pine - Save $10
    Pats Peak - Save $5 on holiday lift tickets

    New York holiday lift ticket discounts:
    Plattekill - 2 for 1 valid up to and including Christmas Day
    Snow Ridge- Save $7 daily
    Windham Mountain - 2 for 1 Valid up to and including Christmas Day

    Utah holiday lift ticket discounts:
    The Canyons - save $7 daily every day of the season.

    Vermont holiday lift ticket discounts:
    Jay Peak Resort - Save $10 through December 25 and again starting January 1, daily discount applies.
    Magic Mountain - Save $10 - $19 daily all season including holidays.

    Not a Mountain Sports Club member join now at special holiday sale price of only $9.95. Register now and upgrade to premium status use promo code holiday08 for special discounted premium membership and enjoy lift ticket discounts all season.

    Skiing Vail and Beaver Creek Colorado Winter 2008

    These are two magnificent resorts which truly live up to their slogans! Vail says it is “like nothing on earth” and Beaver Creek’s motto is “Not exactly roughing it.” If you ask any skier or snowboarder what their favorite areas in the world are, most will say Vail or Beaver Creek, if they have had the good fortune to make the visits.

    But, these are no cream puff areas. Despite the many wide, gleaming, and groomed green and blue runs, there are also a lot of steep, challenging black diamonds. The altitude of 9 to 11,000 feet can get to you quickly, especially if you have just arrived from sea level. Most of the visitors we met seemed to be from the East, the Midwest, or Texas, and we were all challenged.
    These resorts can be very expensive, but there are a lot of ways to minimize the costs. There are attractive off season packages for all the resorts. We met some visitors who booked great package deals from their ski clubs, or from many of the on line travel services or groups, such as With many of these packages, you are getting the best rates and often staying in luxury accommodations. Sure, you can still find some homes for sale in Beaver and Vail for up to 12 million dollars, but you don’t have to go that route! You can also join a private mountain club, for $50,000 to $250,000, but my guess is, there is now less demand for such exclusive clubs on the mountain. A lot to pay for parking, lifts, and meals, in my estimation. And, we all sit on the same ski lifts, with the same parts of our anatomies!

    We arrived in Beaver Creek on the 10th, after driving about an hour from Breckenridge. It was sad to leave the friends we had met at the Hartford Ski Spectacular, but we hope to see many of them in upcoming events. It was also hard to pull away from Breckenridge that day – the weather was mild and the slopes in good condition. But, in Colorado, there are also so many excellent choices to make, you can overdoes with too much sweetness.

    In Beaver Creek/Avon, we were met by Jen Brown of Vail Associates – a real dynamo who accomplishes much more than the average person. She is a former ski racer (for 20 years) and another ex Easterner who moved to Nirvana. She installed us in a spacious condo at “The Seasons at Avon.” It is always a bit strange to move into someone else’s home, and take it over for a few days. It is beautiful, with the large kitchen, living room, and switch-on gas fireplace. From the front sliding window, you can see the trails of Beaver Creek. Great to watch the full moon over the slopes, and see the groomers at work throughout the night. These homes can easily accommodate 6 or 8 visitors, if you are not big on privacy.

    On Thursday morning, Charles and I walked across the street, and took one of the many free, “eco” buses to Beaver Creek. You can drive, but it is discouraged. Parking is expensive at all the areas, but that is also meant to try to convince drivers to leave their cars someplace else, and take the bus. There are, of course, some discount rates for disabled and seniors, but it can be hard to get those parking spaces on crowded days.

    Beaver Creek is one of the areas in the world which is truly visitor friendly. After a short walk from the bus, there is a series of escalators which take you to the lifts. At the end of a beautiful day of skiing and boarding, waiters circulate and hand out their hot, freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. What a change from the early days of ski dorms and cold, icy outdoor bathrooms of my teenage years!

    At Beaver, we rode up two chairs, the Centennial and the Cinch Express. We met one of the many Guest Service representatives, BT Trumpower, and he made our day. He is a snowboarder, and showed us the mountain. By coincidence, he is a Marylander, and still lives in Ocean City in the summer. He showed us the good groomed cruisers, and advised us to follow the grooming trucks. As soon as they finished, we danced down some of the best corduroy I have ever experience.

    Beaver is a large mountain, but not as sprawling or complex as its sister resort of Vail. It now hosts the “Birds of Prey Men’s World Cup” and has a wide variety of challenges including the Rose Bowl and steep bumps on Grouse Mountain. It also has the beautiful long Cinch run, where those wanting easy skiing and riding can cruise from the top to the bottom of the mountain. Safety and speed are carefully monitored, especially on “Gold Dust,” which has signs proclaiming, “speed is monitored from the air!”

    Visit to Vail – one of the largest snow resorts in North America

    What can I say about Vail? It is so beautiful, I literally dream about it at night. It is sweeping, immaculately groomed and kept up, and has some of the biggest area and varied terrain of any resort on earth. It is also extremely visitor friendly, with a large number of Guest Service Representatives and Mountain Ambassadors to help you every step of the way. These are fascinating people – the ones we met were semi—retired doctors, teachers, or accomplished professionals from a wide variety of disciplines. I know this advocation has long been one of my goals, if I ever semi retire.

    I first came to Vail when Jerry Ford was President. He enabled the White House press corps, and their families, to follow him on many trips to Vail, and to Beaver, which was just under development at the time. These trips were definitely better than the vacation White Houses of many other Presidents. I was pleased to see the many buildings named after Gerald and Betty Ford at Vail and Beaver. Maybe we could convince the Obamas to visit the slopes, if they ever have any spare time!

    At Vail, my husband and I drove, but perhaps should have taken an inexpensive “eco bus,” which is cheaper if you get a senior discount. We were fortunate enough to find free parking on Frontier Road, and then walk across to a shuttle bus to Vail and Lionshead. It is much better to make your way to Lionshead, even if you have to take two buses. Your are quite close to the base of the Gondola, and can get to any trails or the world class bowls.

    There are paid parking areas, but they can cost about $35 and often entail more walking up and down stairs, and through the village. Again, with heavy boots and skis, it is not fun. How I desperately wish I could snowboard – life could be so much easier! Alas, that has passed me by.

    On the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola, we met two of the Guest Service Ambassadors, and took a fast, comprehensive tour of the mountains. We covered an enormous amount of territory, and looked down into the bowls, but did not take them this time. The snow was falling and the flat light gave way to blinding snow. We all knew a one week blizzard was predicted, with temperatures well below zero. So, after two hours of fast skiing (for me), we retreated to one of the many fine mountain top restaurants, had a terrific meal, and took the Gondola down. I felt like such a sissy, but many others were taking the same route. I missed some of my favorite blue cruising trials. I also missed the famous Vail vistas, although some were visible through the snow. But, I knew they were there from the many visits I had made to Vail. Better to be prudent, and live to ski another day.

    The next day, Saturday, we resisted the temptation to ski, despite the fresh snow. The temperatures were dropping and the forecast was frightening. We returned the fine rental equipment at Vail, although we had first picked it up at Breckenridge. This is one of the many advantages of renting the newest equipment. It is good quality, and we did not have to lug it to the airport, and pay the extra charges for the flight. I have long advocated rental, but I may break down and buy new boots, if they are light enough.

    After another great meal at one of the many Vail resort restaurants, we were on our way. My husband Charles did a great job driving over the snowy Vail pass, and through the Eisenhower and Johnson tunnels. There were lots of spin outs and accidents along the way. I was terrified. Thanks Charles! We made it to a motel in Denver, and had a relatively smooth flight on United the next day. The airline was very good about accommodating stand-bys, because schedules were so messed up with the storms.

    We left Colorado with the knowledge it, Utah, and the other mountain states were getting pelted with snow. It is a good omen for Christmas and, hopefully, a good sign for the future.

    Heroes of the Hills – Breckenridge, Colorado, December 2008

    We stayed in Breckenridge for five nights and six days. The visit was exquisite, even though the purpose was serious. Charles and I came here to join the 106 wounded warriors, and 700 other volunteers, disabled athletes, and others who care about snow sports and try to share them with as wide a range of people as possible. This is the 21st year of the Hartford Ski Spectacular, and the second year we have participated.

    First, thanks to Vail Associates, and the Beaver Run Resort and Convention Center, which hosts the event. You could not ask for better run, more convenient facilities. It is huge and self-contained. The condos, hotel rooms, meeting halls, ski and snowboard rental facilities, and ski lifts are right on the premises or a few steps away. In addition to the free Beaver Run shuttle bus, there is also an efficient system of free public buses outside the door if you want to go into the lovely, brightly lit town of Breckenridge. There is easy access to the super market, bank, or restaurants. You can also ski into town if you want, especially if you miss the trails that cut back to Beaver Run, as happened to me at least twice! Like any luxury property, it is not cheap, but the condos are large with kitchens, and can accommodate several people. The resort has generous discounts for this event. You can cook in and then relax in the pool and hot tubs or spas. I always advise visitors to look for the package deals, which can also include airfare, rentals, lodging, and lifts. That is the way to make a trip affordable and fun.

    Fun and excitement were the operative words for the next few days at Breckenridge. The Wounded Warriors learned to ski or snowboard quickly, or honed their skills if they had done so before. Many raced in the organized events. Some are paralympic champions. There were blind skiers, double and triple amputees, and some with spinal cord or brain injuries. They all made it up and down the moutain several times. Some did so on their own; others were taught or assisted by instructors or companions. Everyone was friendly and behaved with a true sense of cooperation.

    We were blessed with good conditions. Sunday was marvelous – sunny and warm. I loved cruising down the wide, groomed trails, especially Cashier, Bonanza, Country Boy, and others. I joined up with two marvelous “Mountain Ambassadors,” Trish Williamson and Barb Sanger, who showed me around and made the day! Always try to ski with Ambassadors if you can – especially in a large, unfamiliar area.
    Monday began warm and overcast, and then a light snow developed which persisted through the night and deposited 8 inches of fresh powder. It was light enough to permit good visibility, and enjoy the trails. It was not accompanied by the driving winds we encountered last year. Tuesday was legendary “Breckenfridge” weather, with the temperatures bitter cold. We tried a few runs, but spent much of the day learning, writing, and hanging out with the warriors and their friends.
    My husband Charles has the technical background and participated in some of the training sessions. He takes over now:
    The Hartford Challenge is a synergism of adaptive teachers, adaptive learners, and adaptive equipment developers. This year the emphasis was on mentoring. I was struck by the number of adaptive athletes who have become formal or informal instructors and equipment developers. There were a number of older veterans who came at their own expense from all over the country to mentor the veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, and civilians who mentored both military and civilians. I concentrated on sit ski clinics and ironically met Mike King and Pam Lenhart of Baltimore Adaptive and a number of other mid-Atlantic folks (like the Wintergreen and Liberty instructors who we have written about in last year’s columns) who came here to teach and learn.

    Charles and I found this to be an extremely worthwhile event. It is sad they are necessary, but that is the realism of the times. As long as there are wounded warrior and adaptive ski and snowboard events, we hope we can be there to support them.

    Mountain Sports Club report provided by field correspondents Connie Lawn and Charles Sneiderman

    Tuesday, December 16, 2008

    Hot deals on Gear for the holidays - Skis, Snowboards, Clothing and more...

    Still time to shop online for gifts at these retailers. Shop online or in stores and use the valuable coupon savings for members:

    Sun and Ski Sports - Save on purchases in store and online.

    Ski Chalet - Save on purchases in store and online.

    Railhead Boards - Save on purchases in store and online.

    Ski Stop - Save on purchases in store and online.

    Christys Sports - Save on purchases in store and online.

    Alpine Sports - Save on purchases in store and online. 2 for 1 tunes $40 Value

    Jibij - Specializing in twin tips skis

    Skiers Peak - Save on race skis, all mountain skis and gear. - Save an additional 10% on already low prices.

    and many more in the Mountain Sports Club Shop and Marketplace. Save on all the top brands and gear for ski, snowboard, cycling and outdoor gear, clothing and accessories. New retailers and shops being added nationwide every week.

    Looking to rent - Save on additional shipping fees and less hassle.

    Ski Butlers - Save 15% top ski and snowboard destinations and locations in North America - Aspen, Breckenridge, Keystone, Jackson Hole, Vail, Beaver Creek, Park City, Deer Valley...

    High Trail Sports - 2 locations in Frisco, CO. Save on rentals, service and purchases.

    AB Ski & Sports - Frisco, CO. Save on rentals and purchases.

    Monday, December 15, 2008

    The Homestead Ski Area Offers 2 for 1 Lift Tickets

    The Homestead Ski Area in Glen Arbor Michigan extends a 2 for 1 lift tickets discount and coupon to Mountain Sports Club members.

    Discover exceptional skiing and boarding on Bay Mountain where the snow is groomed to perfection. Whether it is a long cruise down Pearly Everlasting, a mogul run down Star Thistle, or a tour of our glade run or terrain park, you will find the runs that are just right for you. And we limit ticket sales so you spend more time on the slopes.

    2 for 1 lift ticket will be valid all season – December 26th – March 8th,. Purchase one regular price lift ticket and receive one complimentary lift ticket of equal or lesser value. No Restrictions, however to prevent crowding and maximize the quality of our guests' experience, The Homestead limits the sale of lift tickets to 95% of the ski areas capacity.

    Enjoy 2 for 1 discount lift tickets at The Homestead in Michigan this 2008.09 ski and snowboard season. Join the Mountain Sports Club now and save all ski and snowboard season

    Whitetail, Liberty Mountain & Ski Roundtop Lift ticket Discounts

    Mountain Sports Club premium members will once again save on lift tickets at Whitetail Mountain, Liberty Mountain and Ski Roundtop in Pennsylvania. The three resorts that serve DC, Baltimore, Northen Virginia and Central Pennsylvania skiers and snowboarders is offering a $5 daily savings on all 8 hour lift tickets midweek, non holiday this 2008.09 ski and snowboard season.

    The winter ski and snowboard season has begun. Make sure to take advantage of Mountain Sports Club discount lift ticket coupons for your next visit to Ski Liberty, Roundtop and Whitetail Mountain.

    Holiday Lodging Discounts at Breckenridge

    Breckenridge Accommodations is now offering a discount for Breckenridge Lodging this holiday vacation. Book 3 nights at any available lodging and receive the 4th night Free. This is a 25% discount on condos and homes throughout Breckenridge valid this holiday season. With snow continuing to enable the resort to open more and more terrain the skiing and snowboarding is sure to be a treat for all skiers and snowboarders visiting Breckenridge this holiday.

    Looking for lift tickets discounts? Be sure to use the Mountain Sports Club Travel Desk to buy your discounted Breckenridge lift tickets in advance. Purchase must be made 7 days in advance and online.

    Friday, December 12, 2008

    Win free gear, new resort openings and Loveland discounts

    Idaho Ski Areas are now opening after receiving recent snowfalls with more on the way. Be sure to register in the Soul Of Skiing Sweepstakes to win great gear and lift tickets at their promotional giveaway...

    Want to win lift tickets, gear like Head snowboards, LDM helmets and schwag? Be sure to post a profile at MyMountainSportsClub, blogs, photos & videos.

    Post reviews on resorts, shops, lodges, restaurants and more to share with members and increase your chance to win schawg..

    First mountain to open 100% and all lifts is Grand Targhee. Several feet of new snow has fallen this week providing great powder skiing.

    New Loveland coupons for Mountain Sports Club members:
  • $40 coupon good until 12/19/08.
  • $50 coupon for 12/20/08 - 1/4/09.
  • $40 coupon for 1/5/09 - 1/16.
  • Tuesday, December 9, 2008

    What is the best ski run in the U.S.?

    What is the best ski run in the U.S.?

    One of our good friends and associates Steve Cohen is contributing to a new book by New York Times writer Richard Sandomir that will use “bracketology” (and a lot of humor) to “end” the argument (or perhaps fan the flames).

    Anybody who ever participated in an NCAA March Madness pool should be familiar with bracketology. It’s the practice of parsing people, place and things into discrete one-on-one matchups to determine which of the two is superior or preferable.

    This is the follow-up to the original book, “The Enlightened Bracketologist—The Final Four of Everything.” (OK, guess they didn’t get everything the first time around!)

    The new version, “American Brackets: The Final Four of Everything Red, White and Blue” concentrates exclusively on U.S. contests (call us nationalistic or jingoistic but publisher says it will sell more copies this way).

    Here’s the deal. There will be four brackets of eight ski runs each in the categories that count most to avid skiers:


    A consistent fall line, pitch that sustains speed but doesn’t require scrubbing any, lack of cross-trail traffic/off camber sections/squirrely turns/flat spots and reputation for patrol leniency when good skiers are hauling mach one are all important. Length of run and a traditionally low skier density counts big-time.


    Bigger moguls are not necessarily better. Huge, misshapen VW mounds are a turn-off. A good bump run should have evenly spaced, consistent humps that demand quick feet but don’t surprise with surface or shape. Softer bumps are better than icy but sugar troughs aren’t sweet. A place to throw big air tricks, land and snake through another set of bumps is a big plus. And trail visibility counts. If you’re gonna be slithering through the troughs and trampolining from top to top with metronomic perfection, you want people to see it either from chair or base lodge (or preferably, both).


    Evenly spaced trunks, lack of bastard branches that snag poles and clothing, variety/interest of tree species and ability for snow to fill in around tree base without creating hidden tree wells are all attributes. Secret or difficult entrances that restrict traffic and help the glade yield fresh tracks longer a plus.


    Very good skiers can enjoy all the other categories. Only great skiers tread here. Let’s set a base criteria: 35° minimum pitch. Precision execution of turns is paramount. No gimmie bail-outs to a gentler trail, no benches to stop and rest on. It must be unrelentingly steep and extra credit if you have to ski the whole enchilada in one helping.

    So…In three sentences or less, send Steve the name and location of your SINGLE MOST FAVORITE run, why, and category it fits in. Personal experiences are welcome. History, difficulty, famous events or accomplishments that took place on the run all good. This is a titanic battle that will sort out best for the ages (or until book goes onto remainders table).

    No surprise; short deadline. I need to hear back with submissions by Monday 12/15.

    Thanks for your help. Please include email address and tel # with submissions.

    Steve Cohen

    Ski Magazine


    Shop and lodging discounts in Colorado

    The snow is flying in Colorado and so are the deals. Two new deals includes savings on gear purchases of 20% and discounts on single day ski rentals at A & B Ski & Sport in Frisco, Colorado.

    Condos at Keystone now on sale for Christmas and New Year holiday. Summit Cove is offering book 3 nights or more and receive one night free. Up to 25% savings.

    Look for more and more discounts on lift tickets, rentals, gear and lodging daily.

    Sunday, December 7, 2008

    Ski Season Start at Roundtop


    First Snowball of the Season at Roundtop, Pennsylvania November 29, 2008 by Connie Lawn

    As my husband Charles and I walked to the Minuteman chairlift, I bent down and scooped up a ball of snow. How great it was to feel snow again after eight months! Last year was one of the best seasons ever, and this year is starting off even stronger. Here we were, in Pennsylvania, two days after Thanksgiving, and the skiing was glorious. What a thrill, after driving past brown trees and fields, to see the sunfilled,groomed slopes of Roundtop. 50% of the mountain was open. That included intermediate runs Minuteman and Exhibition, and 4 chair lifts. In all, 6 slopes were open, and the Incubator Park. The beginner slopes open were Fanny Hill, Fife &Drum, and Discovery Area. The price was also right -$39 for learn to ski and ride, and $10 for class lessons.

    We could not believe the conditions! In 52 hours, the snow-making magicians had blanketed the trails which were open. Some bare spots, grass, and rocks began to emerge by mid afternoon. In fact, I encouraged people to pick up rocks and throw them into the woods, when they could safely do so.

    Minuteman was in good condition, but Exhibition was superb! It got more shade and a bit less traffic, so it held the snow. In fact, on the sides, there was actually fresh powder, even at 3 in the afternoon. The weather was warm – as high as the mid 40’s. The sun was shining, and it was a perfect day to get back in the game. Boy, were we ever out of shape. Even in the first run, my legs were burning and my heart was pounding. I asked a young, fit snowboarder if he had the same trouble, and he panted that, yes he had. Suddenly, I felt 30 years younger! Roundtop is roughly two hours from Washington and one from Baltimore. Getting from the main roads to Roundtop is a bit tricky, but watch for the metal “snowflake” signs at the junctions of the rural roads; they are new and helpful to city slickers like us.

    On the slopes, we were pleased to watch members of the Mountain Safety Patrol at work. They are easy to spot in their yellow jackets. They patrolled the areas, and slowed down snowboarders and skiers who were much too fast in crowded areas. They warned of rocks, bare spots, and holes when they could. When there was an accident, they helped the injured until the Ski Patrol could take over.

    Many of staff have become old friends over the years, and it is a joy to see them. Owner and developer Irv Naylor remains active, despite the crippling steeplechase accident he suffered in 1999. Publicity and marketing chief Chris Dudding does a colorful job with his special events and press releases. General Manager Ron Hawkes was very upbeat about the earliest opening in years. Clearly, the optimism is spreading throughout Roundtop and its sister areas, Liberty and Whitetail. The other two expect to open in early December. Ron told us, “our season pass sales were wonderful – all 3 resorts doubled the number of season pass holders this year.” A special price of $399 for a season pass accounted for this year’s record, but the current $39 one day package was attracting new skiers and boarders this weekend; it will continue through Dec 24.

    The weather will continue to vary, as it always does. There will be more ice storms or warm days before the cold weather finally settles in. But, the start was terrific. If this holds, Roundtop should meet its goal of at least 95 days in the season.

    Look for updated lift ticket discounts for the 2008.09 winter ski and snowboard season at

    Return to Breckenridge and Vail Associates – December 5 to 14, 2008

    I will never again criticize the sharp cold. The wind was biting when we arrived in Breckenridge, Colorado, and our bodies had not yet adjusted to the Colorado weather, from the relative damp cold of Washington. But that cold also produced several feet of beautiful natural snow over Breckenridge. In fact, there was snow over much of Colorado. We looked at it longingly, as we flew over Colorado. On our 3 hour drive from Denver, there was some snow on most of the fields and in the mountains. It was not as thick and beautiful as it was when we left Colorado last March – then it was like driving through a picture post card. But, for early December, there was a great amount of snow. And, there is the promise of much more to come.

    The cold blew away any muck in the air. The sunset over the snow covered rocky mountains was the richest red and gold, and most dramatic I have ever seen. Then the half moon came out, escorted by the gleaming planets Venus and Jupiter. There were still skiers riding lifts outside our window, or skiing down the wide, gentle mountains. There were also people taking horse drawn sleigh rides. These are memories which last a life time!

    We soaked it all in from a luxury condo at Beaver Run. Since I was not yet ready to ski, I swam in the wonderfully heated pool, and looked up at the heavens from the water. A good way to unwind after a four hour flight from Dulles, and three hour drive from Denver.

    If you are lucky enough to stay at Beaver Run Resort, it is one of the best places you can stay in Breckenridge. It is ski in, ski out, and some of the best ski lifts are outside the door. The ski rental shop is a few steps away, and the equipment can be re- adjusted or exchanged easily, if it is not a perfect fit. I have long advocated rental equipment – especially when traveling by plane. Now, with the extra charges for bags and sports equipment, the costs become ridiculous. Much better to rent new equipment every time you ski. No one will foreclose on your rented equipment, and you don’t have to pay a mortgage on it.

    Beaver Run and Vail Associates have a number of restaurants, on the mountains. There are also terrific restaurants in town, with free shuttle service through Breckenridge. Beaver Run Resort is part of a larger Conference Center. That is what brought us: for the second year in a row, my husband Charles and I covered the Hartford Ski Spectacular – one of the biggest events for Wounded Warriors and their families, friends, medical experts, and supporters. This is the 21st year of the Hartford at Breckenridge, and it brings 800 people. It has been a struggle to finance it this year, with the sharp recession. But, the dedicated sponsors and volunteers are pulling it off.

    Take advantage of Mountain Sports Club offers and save on pre-purchased lift tickets at Breckenridge and lodging discounts at Beaver Run Resort.

    Blog report brought to you by field correspondent Connie Lawn on location on Colorado.

    Friday, December 5, 2008

    15% Lodging Discount at Keystone Resort in Colorado

    Summit Cove Condos in Keystone, Colorado extends a 15% discount on vacation bookings of 4 days or longer now through January including the coming holidays.

    From Summit Cove to River Run, our Colorado resort vacation condos are only minutes away from the 2 Keystone golf courses, Keystone horse stables, Keystone Lake, the Keystone ski slopes, and Arapahoe Basin ski resort. All of our Keystone Resort vacation condo rentals are served by free shuttle service.

    Our condo rental rates are comparable to what you would find with basic hotel lodging in and around Summit County and Keystone. We offer much more modern condos and rental properties for better nightly prices than any other vacation lodging provider or condo management company in Keystone Resort.

    Buy your Keystone lift tickets in advance at the Mountain Sports Club Tavel desk and save even more.

    Thursday, December 4, 2008

    5 feet of Snow at Loveland and $30 Lift tickets

    Loveland Ski Area in Colorado continues to get pounded with snow. I have had a new snow report everyday in my email from them for the last 7 days running. With over 50 inches of new snow in the last week they just keep opening new terrain daily. A friend called ranting on how great the soft winter snow was yesterday. I have to clear my desk and make some turns there real soon. At $30 for Mountain Sports Club members this is the best deal going. Join now and save all season.

    Tuesday, December 2, 2008

    Thanksgiving Weekend Roundup, Snow and Ski Lift ticket discounts

    Reports vary around the country with quite a number of ski and snowboard resorts open with varying amounts of terrain and conditions. It looks like the ski industry clearly outperformed retail merchants this holiday season from a business vantage point. As the weekend went on the Rockies especially Colorado got clobbered with snow.

    Top story for me today is that Loveland Ski Area reported 40" plus of new snow out of new storms this weekend and is rapidly opening terrain. They may have had the best conditions in the central Colorado and front range resorts prior to this dump, but now it has to be awfully sweet skiing and riding.

    Further north in Alaska, Alyeska Resort reports as the first resort to receive over 200 inches of snowfall and probably their best opening ever in terms of terrain.

    Reports from the Northeast, Mid Atlantic states and Midwest were full of great conditions and lots of terrain open and more snow falling.

    New Mountain Sports Club lift ticket deals and discount coupons keep coming in for members as well:

    Wachusett Mountain in Massachussett is now offering their Passport to Savings Card free to our members. This is a $30 value and a great way to save on lift tickets there all season.

    Black Mountain in New Hampshire, just outside of North Conway is extending 2 for 1 lift ticket discounts to our members midweek, non holiday.

    Make sure to post reviews, blogs, photos and build a profile to increase your chances to win free skis, snowboards, lift tickets and more each month.