Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Over the pass in Summit County Arapahoe Basin will still be operating for at least another month. Great lodging deals at Summit Cove and other Colorado lodging properties. Looking for a place this summer make sure to use the list of deals at the growing list of Colorado lodging properties.
Just saw a note our friends at Jay Peak in Northern Vermont will open for the weekend. Killington a tad further south is also open. MSC members enjoy lodging deals in the area and throughout Vermont as well.
Last week I had the pleasure of skiing a couple of days at Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort, in Little Cottonwood Canyon in Utah who will stay open through June, snow permitting. It was an exciting week as I was able to attend the PSIA - Professional Ski Instructors of America annual Acedemy featuring top ski instructors from around the country. The conditions were perfect spring skiing wiht lots of sunshine and a relaxing way to keep getting quality turns in for the what is left of this season.
Need a place to stay during your next Utah trip? Make sure to check out the sweet accommodations at Utah's Best Vacation Rentals with prices that cannot be beat. Enjoy skiing and snowboarding in the AM and golf, cycling or hiking in the afternoon.
Need gear for summer activities - cycling, hiking, camping or rafting? Make sure to shop with our great selection of specialty retailers in the Mountain Sports Club marketplace.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
The following are some of the resorts still open where we have gotten reports and updates from recently.
Colorado - Huge snow now underway. The skiing and riding will be great. Lots of fresh pow - pow.
Loveland Ski Area : Closing May 3, lift ticket discounts available.
Aspen Highlands - till open with snow on the way. Lodging deals available.
Copper Mountain - be sure to check out flaik if in ski school. Last day this Sunday April 19. Lodging deals available.
Breckenridge -Last day this Sunday April 19. Lodging deals available. Save over 33%.
Arapahoe Basin - will operate through May and possibly into June
Winter Park - Last day this Sunday April 19. Huge throwback party and it looks like lots of powder for closing weekend.
Vail - Last day this Sunday April 19. Lodging deals available.
Wildcat Ski Area - Last resort still open in New Hampshire.
Snowbird - open till May.
Killington - check out the lodging deals
Sugarbush - lots of snow open through April and on a as the snow holds basis.
Look for great summer values and deals through Mountain Sports Club. Spring special one year premium membership only $9.95 use promo code spring09 and register today to save up to 50% on lift tickets, activities, lodging, dining gear and more
Friday, April 10, 2009
Get an Adult Lift Ticket for $30 or 2 Adult Lift Tickets for $55!
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
The folks at Sun and Ski Sports have introduced an Easter Egg Hunt as a promotion at the online store. Great concept to expand the fun of Easter to their customers. This is a one day promotion for April 8, 2009. Here is the lead promo..
"Why should kids have all the fun? Introducing the first annual virtual Easter egg hunt at Sun & Ski Sports. We’ve hidden 90 eggs throughout the site, each with a prize attached.
Search the site and maybe you’ll get lucky and find a $20 gift card or an autographed skateboard by the Osiris team. Better yet, maybe you win the box of invisible candy! Hurry, this one day event ends April 8, 2009…""
Friday, April 3, 2009
We had a glorious springtime visit to the amazing resorts of Snowmass and Aspen, Colorado. It did not always feel like spring – in fact, some hours it felt like January. But, most of the time the sun was out and the fresh fallen snow was light and powdery. The snow fell heavily for a few days before we arrived, and was intermittent during our week. Colorado weather can be like a politician’s moods – it changes rapidly.
It had been years since we last visited Aspen and Snowmass, and I am ashamed of myself for waiting so long. No wonder these resorts have long been considered the gems of the West. This time, we came for two reasons: the skiing of course, and the chance to spend still another clinic with the brave wounded warriors. This conference is the biggest one held in the nation. It is the 23rd annual Clinic, sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Disabled Veterans of America, and a number of other government and private organizations. Most of the wounded are veterans, but some are still serving in the military. There were about 400 wounded in this Clinic, and about 600 volunteers. Some volunteers are about to enter the military service, and expect to deploy to Afghanistan.
It was impressive to meet the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs, General Eric Shinseki at the meeting. He walked around, tried to meet all the vets, and told them he is there to serve them.
Many in this group served, and were wounded in Vietnam; others were hurt in other areas where American soldiers deployed. Some are older than in past clinics we covered. I met a lovely veteran, William Franklin Davenport, who is 87 years old, and still skis! There were the same injuries we had seen so often – many who had lost limbs, were visually impaired, or suffered brain or spinal cord injuries, and PTSD. But, they were out there on the slopes, skiing, snowboarding, sit skiing, racing, and taking part in other activities. A few had their helper dogs with them, who joined in most activities.
There were even scuba diving classes in the heated, outdoor pool on one of the slopes. There are many more such activities to come for the warriors in the summer months. They are fun, but do not begin to make up for their suffering. The activities are an important form of rehabilitation. As one of the speakers said, “the mountain makes you face your fears again – you are once again a band of brothers.”
As for the trip itself – we will take it day by day. We left Bethesda at about 5 in the morning Sunday, after a nearly sleepless night. Charles did another of his heroic jobs driving through the dark mist and rain to BWI airport. We parked in one of the economy parking lots, made cheaper with a printed coupon. Our SW Airlines flight to Denver was direct, inexpensive (about $250 RT each) and reasonably smooth, considering the bad weather throughout the country.
By mid morning, Colorado time, we were in the Denver airport, had rented a car, and were on our way. I argued we should use one of the shuttle buses, but they were much more expensive, and the timing did not work for us. I lost that argument, but fortunately the weather was clear and the 5 hour drive was fine. The scenery was so dramatic, as always. We could see people skiing on the wonderful slopes of Loveland, Copper Mountain, Vail, and other resorts, as we made our way to Snowmass. All the areas looked in terrific shape, thanks to the recent heavy snowfalls. We saw evidence of rock slides en route, and were greeted by 4 long horn sheep on the side of the road. The dramatic rock formations, Glenwood Canyon on the Colorado River, and the Amtrak train, all made for a memorable (but long) drive. In Snowmass Village we were greeted by a huge American flag and sign hanging on a building under construction that read ”Hardhats welcome Veterans”. This was a theme we saw everywhere all week, the Aspen Elks Club, the ski areas, the local merchants, corporate and individual sponsors have gone to great effort to honor and care for the participants of this clinic.
We arrived at the Conference in time to check into the Snowmass Inn, where we got a special rate of $78 for a room with 2 double beds and breakfast. It is usually more at other times but, as I always advise, get a package rate or sign up for a ski club trip for all destinations. We were in time for a delicious “Taste of Snowmass” where restaurants in the Snowmass Village mall contributed entrees and desserts on the plaza for the veterans and volunteers. Then, time to mingle with friends, attend the welcoming ceremony, team meetings and parties.
Skiing at Snowmass – Monday, March 30.
We had some of our best runs of the season, thanks to our hosts Jennifer Rudolph, the Director of Communications, her husband Josh, and Jeff Hanle, the Director of Public Relations for the Aspen Skiing Company. They loaned us heavy golden medals for lift passes, symbolizing the golden glow of the area. They also helped us with rental equipment from “Four Mountain Sports.” Again, I usually advise renting most equipment, if you can, although many people prefer to carry their own boots. I was given slick Tecnica hi performance boots and K2 “Lotta Love” skis at my favorite length of 156. I had two excellent, long runs on them. But, by the afternoon, I developed leg cramps from the weight (heavier than my old stuff in the East). The final run down took place in intense cold, and blinding wind and blowing snow. I am glad I had reliable equipment to get me down. Thanks also to a gallant young soldier in training Ryan Tucker, who helped guide me down. I was somewhat comforted by the veterans and instructors around us – it was hard for everyone, and especially challenging for the guides to the blind skiers. As far as I know, we all made it down. I was relieved to see Charles come down a few moments later – I did not even know he was on the same trail.
At Snowmass, we took the Village Express Chair and the Elk Camp Gondola. We tried to stick to blue and green runs, because the weather was so cold and windy in the afternoon. But, we had some terrific cruising on the well groomed runs in the morning. Our friends were off to the sides, where they flowed down the virgin powder.
The general conditions in Snowmass could not have been better. All 91 trails were open and many were groomed. The base depth was over 93 inches at the top. This should last for several more weeks.
At night, we rejoined some of the Veterans for a variety of activities. Charles went to a class for Music Therapy for the wounded; we both watched a spirited game of goal ball. It is a bit like soccer, but the players are either blind or wear blindfolds. They roll around a ball which has bells inside it, and try to listen so they can find it and score goals. Unfortunately, we did not make it to the Purple Hearts Gathering, or the Marine Corps Reunion.
Perfect Day at Snowmass, Tuesday, March 31st.
Nothing beats the sheer beauty of the mountains when they are covered in snow, groomed, uncrowded, and bathed in sunshine. Most of the warriors were out in force on many of the trails. Charles took a shuttle bus to Aspen, to participate in activities there. Too bad – he missed an amazing ski tour of Snowmass Mountain. Our Mountain Ambassador, or Guide, was Jerry Butler. All of us in the group were seniors, but we constantly took fast runs down the groomed trails. In 3 hours of intense skiing, I did not see anyone from our group fall. What amazing athletes – Mary Gochenour is 71 and Marilyn Gladish is 67. When they are not skiing, they are running races or participating in a variety of other sports.
We took so many blue and green runs I cannot remember then all. They included some in the wide, expansive Big Burn – Sneaky, Trestle, and Max Park. In Alpine Springs we took Log Deck, Lower Lunkerville, and Coffee Pot. In Elk Camp, we took Gunner’s View, Funnel, and Adams Avenue. We rode 4 lifts and the Gondola. At each stop, Jerry gave us a fascinating talk about the history of the area. He has to be the King of Mountain Ambassadors!
In the afternoon, I collapsed from exhaustion! I tried to get up to attend a Cajun Dance, but could not force myself to move. The Veterans and loved ones who attended the dance said it was great fun. The best events included the wheel chair dancing, and general dancing by those who are whole bodied, and those who have lost limbs. All inhibitions were cast aside, and a sense of live and community prevailed.
April First – Scuba diving in the snow, and it is no joke!
The morning dawned with another heavy snowfall, but skiers and riders still flocked to the mountains. Even without visibility, they lusted after that fresh, fluffy powder. There were many side activities for the 400 Vets, so I sought out the heated swimming pool. There, instructors Mike and Susan tried to teach me how to use the oxygen and breathe through the mouthpiece. It was an interesting experience, and I spent about a half an hour trying to learn. Maybe I will in another life. But, I kept looking up at the mountains, waiting for the snow to end, so Charles and I could take some runs in the fresh afternoon powder, which we later did for about two hours. The powder was ungroomed in most spots, and provided an interesting challenge.
The scuba diving is one of many important activities for the Veterans. It gives them confidence and mobility. One lady in the pool with me at the time was a former Wheel Chair Miss Virginia. She is beautiful, charming, and high spirited. The instructors were patient, professional and funny. I had a lot of fun splashing around with them!
April Second – another exquisite day at Snowmass! The sun was shinning, and there was fresh powder everywhere. The trials were groomed, and there was much perfect corduroy on many of them. Charles and I went to the top of the chair and the Gondola, and skied for miles. The best area was Elk Camp, with its wide, groomed expanses of snow. But, everything was perfect. I am pleased I was skiing and singing with great rhythm and control. It is always sad to end a ski season, but I am pleased I did so on an up note. My earlier lack of confidence disappeared. For us, the ski season is probably over. But, there are weeks left in the West for those who can make the trip, and there are plenty of bargains in flights, lift prices, and lodging. Enjoy the snow! For details on deals, discounts and savings at Colorado Resorts be sure to check out the Mountain Sports Club.
Article written and contributed, by Connie Lawn, field correspondent.
Photo includes - Charles Sneiderman, Jennifer Rudolph of Colorado Ski Country USA and Jeff Hanle of Aspen Skiing Company
Day two of the 2009 World Telemark Freeskiing Championships wrapped up at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, Alaska. Today the Final took place on “The Headwall”, an area yet to be open to the public this season and an amazing venue to showcase some of the World's strongest telemark skiers. Competitors took to the Headwall in classic AK style of “scout your line from the bottom”. Most other competitions allow a checkout run so participants can get a good look at the venue they are about to rally. Brooke Edwards, fourth after yesterdays qualifier on the North Face says, “What is remarkable about Alyeska’s “read and run” style” is that it truly highlights the realistic challenges that skiing big lines in the mountains is all about.”
Today’s competitors embarked on a true test of endurance, boot packing up the Headwall and skiing non-stop tele turns down the 1,000 feet of vertical between them and the Red Bull arch at the finish. Snow conditions that deceptively looked like inviting powder turns ended up hiding shallow rocks referred to as sharks for their scary ability to reach up and grab your skis. After evading the shark feeding frenzy, the reward was face shots in beautiful powder on the second half of the run.
Shaun Raskin and Megan Michelson were finally allowed through Mt. Redoubt's airlines vortex. The Rossignol and Flylow sponsored skiers stepped off the plane and onto the boot pack, making an already competitive field even stronger. Megan returns to Alaska as the defending World Champion and she wowed the crowd with her characteristic smooth turns, skiing the entire headwall in seconds.
For the men, young Jake Sakson lead the pack once again. He skied a bold line down the center of a rocky cliff feature called "The Wedge". Girdwood local Josh Varney, who yesterday sent the crowd into spontaneous applause with his custom "tele-heli", was relieved to pop up uninjured from the largest spill of the day. Pushing the envelope, Varney hucked a large rock at the top of the Headwall and landed it nicely with speed. Hitting the next cliff, Varney took a scary fall. Much to everyone's relief, he skied out the rest of his run fully intact with beautiful arching turns.
In tomorrow’s Superfinal the top men and women go head to head in this world class competition. The field will be cut to the top 15 men and 11 women for a showdown on the Headwall. Weather back up venue will be the North Face “Knuckles”.
The World Comps are only one component of “Telepalooza”. The 6th Annual Jeff Nissman Memorial Telemark Festival is a five day celebration that brings together friends, families and members of the telemark community. Events include telemark clinics, Uphill/Downhill, Classic and Dual Slalom fun races, demonstrations, live music and lots of fun. This year the festival has a “Wild West” theme, and costume parties are held every night at the Sitzmark Bar & Grill. Telepalooza is held in honor of Jeff Nissman, an avid teleskier, mountaineer and avalanche forecaster for the Chugach Ranger District, who died in a work-related accident in January 2004. Proceeds from this year’s charity raffle, featuring over $30,000 in prizes, go to benefit Friends of The Chugach Avalanche Information Center in Jeff’s honor.
WORLD TELEMARK FREESKIING CHAMPIONSHIP DAY 2 RESULTS
1. Megan Michelson - Boulder, CO
2. Paige Brady - Anchorage, AK
3. Louise Sanseau - Jackson, WY
4. Shaun Raskin - Park City, UT
5. Lizet Christiansen - Tahoe City, CA
1. Jake Sakson - Carbondale, CO
2. Corky Still - Anchorage, AK
3. Bayden Hamilton - Fernie, BC Canada
4. Paul Kimbrough - Utah
5. Ryan Leard - Oakland, CA
Next up, Alyeska Resort will host the 2009 Subaru Freeskiing World Championships on April 8-12.
Alyeska Resort, located 40 miles south of Anchorage, is Alaska's premier year-round resort. Tucked amid the Chugach Mountains, Alyeska Ski Resort offers world-class skiing and snowboarding with stunning views of the Turnagain Arm and an average snowfall of 742". The 1,400 acres of terrain with 2,500 feet of vertical rise, are serviced by nine lifts including a 60-passenger aerial tramway. Ski-in/ski-out access is available from The Hotel Alyeska which features the luxurious Spa at Alyeska, dining at the Seven Glaciers, Sakura and the Aurora Bar & Grill. For information on ski packages and rates or current mountain conditions, call Alyeska Resort at 1-800-880-3880 or visit http://mailiwant.com/t/?l=1176080&s=4636051&c=2033165&t=1.