Teensy Sunlight Mountain in Glenwood one-ups Vail Resorts with $700 lift ticket

sunny-700-website-bannerThink a ritzy resort like Deer Valley or Vail Mountain boasts the most expensive lift ticket in the ski industry this season? Wrong. This year, the honor goes to Sunlight Mountain Resort, found about 100 miles west of Summit County in Glenwood Springs.

With a $700 lift ticket this season, Sunlight is expected to hit the mark for the highest priced one-day lift ticket in the nation, according to a release from Sunlight. The Sunlight “Sunny 700” lift ticket will be offered for $700 this season and includes one full day of skiing at the resort, as well as a pair of limited edition Sunlight 50th anniversary Meier skis, plus a ticket to Iron Mountain Hot Springs in Glenwood. A $600 version is available and includes a 50th anniversary snowboard. READ MORE

4 Hot Books for Powder Lovers

If it’s true that you are what you eat, then I’m also hoping it’s true that you are what you read. And if that’s the case, then I just got a whole lot cooler.

I mean, just check out the titles of the hottest new ski books to hit the shelves: “Higher Love, Skiing the Seven Summits,” “The God of Skiing,” and “Powder, the Greatest Ski Runs on the Planet.”

These are titles that are sure to leave an impression on anybody snooping through your bookshelf or coffee table. Here’s a closer look at the recently published works of Kit DesLauriers, Peter Kray, and Patrick Thorne, with a bonus shout-out to Louise Hudson and Dr. Simon Hudson who also recently published “Winter Sport Tourism: Working in the Winter Wonderlands.”


Higher Love – Skiing the Seven Summits

Big adventures are often comprised of several mini-adventures, those fleeting moments of  close calls and near-misses that could easily evolve into life-threatening situations. But isn’t unforeseen drama an ever-present, and arguably necessary ingredient to an adventure?

“Higher Love” is a personal account of how Kit DesLauriers made good on her plan to ski the highest peak on each of the seven continents, otherwise known as the Seven Summits including Everest, Aconcagua, Denali, Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Vinson Massif, and Kosciuszko. DesLauriers is a former pro patroller at Telluride ski area and only the third woman to climb and ski the Grand Teton in Wyoming.

Yet the well-calculated plans this certified wilderness EMT, Rescue 3 international rope rescue instructor, and helicopter rescue technician may have had on the front-end, were often altered or abandoned all together once she was on the mountain putting one ski boot in front of the other.

The story grows richer with every peak. Her husband Rob accompanied her on most of the climbs, and on few occasions they ventured right next to death. DesLauriers writes:

“Here I was desperately trying to make all the right judgment calls about how to handle this absolute-worse-case scenario, and out of the blue I had this logical, objective vision, as if the rational part of me had already accepted that Rob’s death was inevitable…We’d entered into this climb knowing that the descent was risky. This was the life we’d both chosen, and we’d agreed not to regret living it.”

It’s an easy temptation for adventure writers, whether knowingly or not, to weave in slightly exaggerated heroics. Yet what DesLauriers shares in “Higher Love” is 552 pages of unabashed honesty about the thoughts and emotions running through her head as she endeavors to become the first person to ski the Seven Summits.

Kit DesLauriers

Kit DesLauriers

The book includes more than 40 color photographs and a bevy of quotes that we can all draw from to help fuel our next alpine adventures.  At the time of this post, DesLauriers was with a crew adventuring to ski Makalu, the fifth highest mountain in the world.


The God of SkiingThe God of Skiing

In “The God of Skiing,” ski writer Peter Kray takes a gonzo-journalist’s approach to capturing an essence of the sport that tends to prefer staying hidden in dark corners. It’s a flowing, dream-like 180-page narrative that tracks Kray’s days of living the ski professor’s life in Jackson Hole, and covering World Cup ski racing (and related escapades) at notorious venues in places like Austria and Chile.

It’s a personal memoir fused with the fictionalized persona of Tack Strau, a promising ski racer that goes missing only to eventually reappear, one ski pole at a time, in the melting snow of the Tetons. On the cover of the book is Fritz Stammberger, a noted German ski mountaineer legend who had a double-life as a CIA agent and went missing in Afghanistan in 1975

“I had to invent some things in order to tell the story I wanted to tell,” Kray says. “For anybody who has lived in a ski town, there are all of these local legends who are absolutely phenomenal skiers and if you didn’t know them, you’d never know about them. Tack is that person.”

In the book, Kray writes:

He said to make short turns was to deny gravity, actively resisting the big empty space in your chest pulling you down the hill. He said, “There are riders, and there are drivers.” And that “every time you traverse you deny some truth of you…why get that close and then pretend like it’s something else you’re looking for?”

In skiing and life, sometimes people die before their time, and conversely, some folks just aren’t meant for growing old.

In “The God of Skiing,” Kray pays homage to a fictional ski buddy that embodies many of the traits of his real-life friends, while leveraging his award-winning story-telling to tap into the otherwise inexplicable aspect of the sport that keeps people pushing the bounds of what is possible when sliding on snow and ice.


Powder - Greatest Runs on the PlanetPowder – The Greatest Ski Runs on the Planet

When I saw the cover of Patrick Thorne’s “Powder, The Greatest Ski Runs on the Planet,” my gut sank and filled with butterflies at the same time. It was 80 degrees in July, and the book served as a stark reminder of how many days I had gone without skiing powder.

At the same time, the cover image ignited all of the excitement and anxiety of an 18 inch powder day. At first sight, it seemed like all I had to do was flip open the cover to drop into a snow globe of amazing powder runs. Each chapter, every run, is introduced with an astounding two-page spread, followed up with a map and more spectacular photography.

Nevertheless, the planet is a big place, and it’s always tricky business to categorize the unquantifiable into a list of better and best. How could one possibly narrow the globe down to 50 top ski runs?

In fact, readers might be surprised that only 11 runs in North America made the list, six in the U.S., and five in Canada. Clearly, in terms of awesome ski runs, France, Italy, Switzerland, and Austria own the lion’s share of the real estate. But Thorne’s list includes lesser known ski destinations in Greenland, Poland, Turkey, India, and Nepal.

“I tried to be international with the choice of runs, but honestly, 50 is way too small of a selection to have to make when you consider there are 6,000 ski areas on earth in around 80 countries, and I don’t know, maybe 100,000 runs between them,” says Thorne.

He says he put a cap on the number of runs listed for any one country, and then he divvied up the reminder among other locations around the world. In the end, what he’s produced is a life agenda for skiers and riders who love to travel the globe and explore new powder-filled places. So here it is, go get after it!


Winter Sport Tourism: Working in Winter Wonderlands 

Finally, self-described lifelong ski bums, Louise Hudson, a ski journalist, and Dr Simon Hudson, a tourism researcher and professor, recently published “Winter Sport Tourism: Working in Winter Wonderlands.”  The pair bill the book as “a one-stop need-to-know resource for winter sport tourism.” 

The book explores the evolution of winter sports including economic, social, and environmental impacts and the latest consumer trends and future forecasts. In compiling the information, the authors gleaned knowledge, insight, and case study data from three entrepreneurs in the industry.




Hot Boots! 8 New Ski Boots for 2015

With a name like Hawk, we're kind of fond of this line by Atomic.

With a name like Hawx, we’re kind of fond of this line by Atomic.

If you’re a skier on Colorado’s Front Range, then you or someone you know has heard of Larry the boot fitterHe’s a one-named legend that can make ski toes sing like Elvis made young women cry.

Tens of thousands of skiers have come to Larry to bare their soles. The most important thing to know when buying ski boots, says Larry, is the shape of your foot.

Today, the top ski boot companies are building boots that fit a larger swath of foot shapes, and that’s very good news for skiers. Now we have more boot styles to choose from; better, warmer technology; and all at very competitive prices.

If you’re looking to put some hip-shaking swing back into your skiing, here’s a look at the year’s hottest ski boots for men and women.  

Read more at Business Insider

Solar Stoke: Take a Spin at the World’s First Sun-Powered Cable Park

Pro rider Wim Kooij at The-Spin Cablepark, Lacs-de-l'Eau-d'Heure, Belgium.

Pro rider Wim Kooij at The Spin Cablepark, Les Lacs de l’Eau d’Heure, Wallonia, Belgium.

Originally published by Worldwide Cable Wake Parks. 

It might be most known for beer and wars, but now Belgium is home to the World’s first solar-powered cable wake park.  The Spin cable park is located at Les Lacs de l’Eau d’Heure, a chain of five lakes in Southwest Belgium near the French border.

The Spin Cable Park,

The Spin Cable Park

About $1.5 million dollars have been invested in the park that includes a 7,500 square foot facility that houses changing rooms for riders, a retail shop, a conference center, and a snack bar serving some of Belgium’s finest brews. For overnighters, the Spin has four lodging rooms that sleep up to six people each. 

Back terrace at The SpinIn 2014, the facility became energy efficient with the addition of 168 photovoltaic panels that can produce as much as 42 kilowatts at peak times. The move has helped the park save more than 23,000 kilowatt hours a year, which in turn avoids about 72 tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.

wakeboard au SpinCableparkThe park also features a 8,000 gallon (30,000 liter) water tank that collects rainwater that used in the showers and toilets. A wood stove and reflectors help boost heating and lighting.

The Spin features a 2,000-foot electric powered lift that can carry up to 30 riders at a time. The solar panels produce more electricity than what’s needed to power the lift and building facilities.

About 6,500 riders visit The Spin each summer, and it has a local club of about 355 riders.

Prices start at $15 (Euros) per hour, $40 for the day, and $600 for the year. CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE WEBSITE

Northeast Ski Areas Going Solar!

Solar stoke at Whiteface! Photo courtesy @ORDA

Solar stoke at Whiteface! Photo courtesy @ORDA

A number of ski areas in the Northeastern U.S. are going solar, most notably Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort in Hancock, Mass., a resort that continues to distinguish itself as one of the “greenest” ski areas in the U.S. Its latest move is a partnership with the Massachusetts-based solar project developer and owner Nexamp to construct a 2.3 megawatt community solar facility. Jiminy has been widely lauded for being the first ski area in the U.S. to install a wind turbine in 2007. 

Jiminy Peak's $3.9 million wind turbine installed in 2007.

Jiminy Peak’s $3.9 million wind turbine installed in 2007.

Once completed, the solar facility will represent the largest community solar project in the Northeast.

Combined with Jiminy’s existing 1.5 megawatt wind turbine and a 75 kilowatt hour co-generation unit, the added solar generation will enable Jiminy Peak to offset 90 percent of its energy needs from renewable resources. The project is expected to come online in the late fall.

An artist rendering, the addition of Jiminy Peak's a 2.3 megawatt community solar facility will enable the resort to run on 90 percent renewable energy.

An artist rendering, the addition of Jiminy Peak’s a 2.3 megawatt community solar facility will enable the resort to run on 90 percent renewable energy.



Local homeowners can also benefit on 15 percent savings on their electricity bills. As part of the program, participants will receive cash credits generated by Nexamp-owned solar projects applied directly on their existing electric bills. The company expects the program to be particularly attractive to homeowner not able to install a solar project on their own property. 

Meanwhile in New York, governor Andrew Cuomo announced that three state-operated ski resorts are going solar. [Read more...]

Elbows in, Head down, Eyes up: Catching up with Mikaela Shiffrin

Originally published by MTN Town Magazine

Miki says she's been training harder than ever before in her life. Photo via Mikaela Shiffrin on Facebook

Mikaela says she’s been training harder than ever before in her life. Photo via Mikaela on Facebook

She’s been standing on World Cup podiums almost since before she could drive. Fast-forward four years, an Olympic Gold medal, two World Championships, three World Cup titles, as well as 15 wins and 24 podiums, and 20-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin can now burn rubber on Mikaela Way, a street named after her in her hometown of Avon, Colorado.

Mikaela Parading in Vail on on the Fourth of July.

Mikaela parading in Vail on on the Fourth of July.

It’s been one of the most fascinating and fun-to-watch careers to hit ski racing in quite some time, and Mikaela wrote the following in an open letter to her friends and fans following her win in Beaver Creek:

“I want to thank all of you for treating me as a special person out there. Every time I turned around someone was calling out “Good luck Mikaela” and making me feel like the hometown, home-state, home-nation fans were pulling for me. That sense of support gave me the strength to overcome nerves and get the job done on race day.”

Olympic Gold Medalist Mikaela Shiffrin. Photo courtesy of Mikaela.

Olympic Gold Medalist Mikaela Shiffrin. Photo courtesy of Miki.

This season, all eyes will again be on Mikaela as she segues into a four-event ski racer. She’s expected to race Super G this season and eventually downhill.

This spring while speed training at Loveland ski area, Mikaela sent Tweets using hashtags that read: “We aren’t in Kansas Anymore Toto,” “This ain’t slalom anymore” and “Elbows in, head down, eyes up.”

Here’s more from our recent chat with Mikaela.

How is speed training going? I loved your hashtags from training at Loveland last spring!

Ha ha, yea, it’s going good. We’re going to New Zealand in one week for some tech training, and I guess I’ll get on my Super-G skis a little bit there but the hills are smaller there. Then we go on to Portillo, Chile where it’s basically two weeks of speed, so I’m working on it and I’m pretty excited!

So, have you ever made a wrong turn on Mikaela Way?

Ha! Yea, well I just missed it coming here. [laugh] I was like, “Oh look, there’s my street, and that’s where I’m supposed to go.”

Awesome, so we’ll see you on the downhill this season?

Ha! Well Super-G first, I mean, I’ll try to do some downhill training runs because it’s really good to get the experience. But I’m excited, I’m ready to go fast!

Your dad just called you Miki, I didn’t realize you had a nickname, is that for anyone?

[laugh] Yea, anyone can call me Miki, I sign autographs Miki, it’s shorter than Mikaela Shiffrin and a lot easier on the wrist [laugh].

You’ve got a big following including a lot of young men that wouldn’t mind taking some runs with you, is there anything you care to share about your romantic life?

The consensus right now is that there’s not a lot of time. It’s kind of a bummer because on the one hand, that’s a really exciting part of life, but on the other hand I have some really exciting stuff going on. So for right now I think everything in moderation [laugh].  

As Vice President of the North American Snowsports Journalists (NASJA), I enjoyed the honor of presenting MIki with her second consecutive NASJA Competitor of the Year Award.

As Vice President of the North American Snowsports Journalists (NASJA), I enjoyed the honor of presenting MIki with her second consecutive NASJA Competitor of the Year Award.

Is there a particular venue or race you can’t wait to get to?

I’m actually excited for the first race of the season right now. All I’m really thinking about is Soelden [Austria]. It’s the first GS race and Levi [Finland] is the first slalom. I’m really excited to get there and start the season off right!

How about the venue for Korea 2018, have you skied there before, are you going there this season?

I think we’re planning to go in the spring and there will be more World Cup events held there leading up to the Olympics. We’ll get some time on the snow but I’ve never been there before so its another exciting deal.

What else are you working on?

I’m still working with the team at Barilla on the Share the Table initiative and its going well! I really like working with them because its an authentic group. That, and honestly, I eat a lot of pasta so it kind of works. It’s not like I’m gluten free [laugh].


Summer Action Heats Up at Ski Areas

trollhagen 2

Photo courtesy @kennedyolson

Ski areas across the country are amping up their summer operations with new aerial adventure parks, zip lines, canopy tours, water parks, mountain bike parks and more. With the slew of new year-round activities being offered (too many to report on here) its clear that ski areas have a bullish outlook on summer’s potential to significantly add to their overall revenue. [Read more...]

Captain Cave Man: World’s Largest Underground Zip Line Debuts in the UK

Zip-World-Caverns-Eric-Jones-on-the-Zip-LineZip World Caverns, billed as the world’s largest underground zip lines course, is the latest addition of Zip World, a zip line builder and operator based in North Wales in the United Kingdom.

Zip World’s attractions, that also include Zip World Titan, reportedly the only four person zip line in Europe, and Bounce Below are located in Snowdonia, a 823 square mile national park. The latest underground zip line course is built in a huge slate cavern and offers riders an up-close look at a vast series of historic mine chambers. [Read more...]

Global Dream Jump Goes Down in Dubai

A Dream Jumper off of Dubai's Princess Tower the world's second highest residential structure. Photo courtesy Dream Jump Dubai

A Dream Jumper off of Dubai’s Princess Tower the world’s second highest residential structure. Photo courtesy Dream Jump Dubai

Honey, did you just see a man in spandex zip by our picture window? That was some of the reaction among residents of Dubai’s Princess Tower as apparently not everyone got the head’s up about the global Dream Jump, an event that invited professional athletes to zip line, freefall, and perform stunts from the top of the world’s second highest residential structure.

Sponsored by Skydive Dubai, the event ran from April 13 -19 and featured more than 10 kilometers of multiple zip lines designed to allow users to experience free-fall without using a parachute. These “Dream Jumps” are gaining popularity around the globe as bungee jumps without a recoil. [Read more...]

Show Me The Numbers: How Eco-Friendly Are Ski Areas?

Poop Power: One Vermont cow produces 30 gallons of manure a day. Killington’s K-1 Express Gondola and Peak Lodge are powered solely by manure from local dairy farms. Photo courtesy of The Rainmaker Blog

Poop Power: One Vermont cow produces 30 gallons of manure a day. Killington’s K-1 Express Gondola and Peak Lodge are powered solely by manure from local dairy farms. Photo courtesy of The Rainmaker Blog

How eco-friendly are North American ski areas? Let me count the ways. In fact, recycling and swapping out light bulbs, while still very important, have almost become somewhat passé steps toward sustainability at ski areas.

Nowadays you’ll find everything from wind turbines and on-mountain micro-hydro power plants to uber-efficient multi-million dollar snowmaking systems and electric vehicle plug-in stations.Heck, some ski areas will even recycle your ski boots if you leave them laying out for too long. Here’s a closer look by the numbers at how some ski areas are getting green done. CONTINUE TO FULL POST