Aspen Skier Visits Down 7 Percent

A company spokesperson has reported that skier visits at Aspen Skiing Company-owned resorts fell 7% in winter 2017-18 from winter 2016-17. However, Jeff Hanle, SkiCo vice president of communications, said that he was “pretty pleased and surprised with that.”

 

The area experienced little natural snowfall prior to mid-January, bringing skier visits down some 20% for both November and December. However, Hanle said the resorts, “definitely picked up steam,” in the second half of the season.

 

The report also showed that local season pass use fell more than daily ticket sales, and additional business from Latin America helped the resorts recover their numbers. Overall skier visits at Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) resorts were down 2 percent this season from last.

 

At its annual downtown Denver meeting, CSCUSA announced that its 24 resorts saw 7.1 million visitors during the 2017-18 winter season. Though slightly lower than last year, it is still slightly ahead of the five-year average. On this topic, CSCUSA President and CEO Melanie Mills said, “We faced historically low snowfall in the early part of the season and resort operation crews deserve credit for their tireless work to get slopes open and operating during an extended period of early-season conditions.”

 

Additionally, two new resorts joined CSCUSA this year: Echo Mountain in Idaho Springs and Kendall Mountain in Silverton. Though this year may not be remembered as the snowiest, it will stand as a testament to the resiliency of Colorado’s ski industry.

 

The reported figures have caused resorts to put more money into snowmaking projects than planned. Skier numbers won’t affect plans for next season, but they have sparked interest in creating larger snowmaking budgets.

Man Dies 3 Months After 1,000-Foot Skiing Fall

Bryce Newcomb, a Jackson pro skier, has succumbed to a severe head injury he suffered in March. The man, 30, had been in a long-term care facility in Boise, Idaho.

The accident occurred on Mach 27th. First responders believe that Newcomb hadn’t buckled his helmet to ski Cody Peak when a cornice gave way and he fell nearly 1,000 feet. Newcomb remained in a critical state during the nearly three months he spent in hospitals. For the duration of his care, friends and family rallied around him, eventually raising $130,000 for treatment via the online platform GoFundMe.

According to friends and family, Newcomb was an incredible athlete and even better friend. He grew up in Sun Valley, Idaho, and had been a Jackson resident for the last few years, doing promotional work for Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. A spokeswoman for the resort, Anna Cole, said in a statement: “Bryce was an incredible athlete, and his passion for skiing, the mountains, and life were a tremendous joy to be around. He was a memorable, strong, and talented individual.”

On Friday, June 15th, Newcomb was taken off of life support. His family would like to thank every person who has reached out, donated, or shown their love and support in any way over the three critical months. Any remaining funds will be paid forward and donated to worthy causes that directly relate to Newcomb’s accident.

A celebration of life service is set to take place on June 27th in Ketchum, Idaho.

 

 

 

Skier Dies at California Mountain Resort

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows has confirmed the death of a skier. On Tuesday, April 17th at around 10:55am, Jeffrey Pearlstein, a 33-year-old man from Kings Beach, fell while skiing at the resort. He was making use of a particularly steep run in the Keyhole area of the resort. He reportedly lost control and crashed.

Shortly after the accident, ski patrol, the North Tahoe fire department, and the Placer County Sheriff’s Office personal responded. They arrived at his location and tried lifesaving procedures, such as CPR; after several minutes, he was pronounced dead at the scene. This information comes from a statement released by the Placer County Sheriff’s Office.

Shortly after the initial announcement, the Sheriff’s Office urged late-season skiers to continue wearing the necessary protective gear. All skiers, regardless of season or ability, should wear helmets, ski with a partner, and remain within their ski level. The Placer County Sheriff’s Office statement is included in full below.

A Kings Beach man died in a skiing accident at Alpine Meadows today.

Jeffrey R. Pearlstein, 33, was skiing in an area called Keyhole at 11 a.m. He was on a very steep run and lost control. Ski patrol, North Tahoe Fire, and PCSO deputies responded, CPR was initiated, but unfortunately he was pronounced at the scene.

Skiing is inherently dangerous, and we would like to remind late-season skiers to wear a helmet, ski with a buddy, and ski within your skill level.

This accident provides a sober reminder of the dangers of skiing. Though weather appears to improve in the season’s later months, you should not slack on maintaining important safety standards. Always wear a helmet.

 

Idaho OKs New Bogus Basin Ski Area Plan

The State of Idaho has approved a plan proposed by Bogus Basin ski area officials. This new plan involves building a water-storage dam and installing underground pipes to make artificial snow. The installation, officials argue, will allow for consistent pre-Christmas openings and conditions for both skiers and snowboarders.

On Tuesday, April 17th, the Idaho Land Board voted 5-0 to approve the work on this land, which was sold to the ski area 45 years ago. The original sale documents state that approval is required for erosion control, re-vegetation, and other significant projects. This new design falls into the latter category. In addition to gaining the approval of the Idaho Land Board, Bogus Basin is also seeking approval from the Forest Service.

Bogus Basin Recreational Association is a non-profit organization operating on a combination of U.S. Forest Service land and privately-owned property. The ski area occupies around 2,700 acres of land. Located in southwest Idaho, around 16 miles north of Boise, the mountain provides jobs and resources for residents of the area. The ability to consistently open early in the season would provide measurable and meaningful economic growth for Boise County; in recent years, the mountain has had to open several days after the Christmas holiday.

According to the plan, snowmaking would not start until at least the 2019-2020 season. Bogus Basin also operates throughout the summer season, providing on-mountain recreation such as mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, a mountain coaster, and scenic lift rides.

 

Lindsey Vonn’s Final Olympic Run

Lindsey Vonn is hailed as one of the most talented skiers in the world. She has won four World Cup overall championships and three consecutive titles in 2008, 2009, and 2010, plus another in 2012. At the 2010 Winter Olympics, she won gold in downhill—the first every in the event for an American woman. She has a record eight World Cup season titles in downhill, five titles in super-G, and three consecutive titles in the combined. Unfortunately, her Olympic career ended in disappointment—she failed to finish the slalom in the Super Combined.

 

Around ten seconds into the course, Vonn straddled a gate, sending her off the course. This inability to medal is made more frustrating by the fact that, in 2010, she led the Super Combined on the same stage—only to crash out in slalom. Vonn is the most decorated female Alpine ski race in World Cup history, and—though she does not plan to compete in further Olympic games—she plans to return to the World Cup circuit. She plans to chase down Ingemar Stenmark’s record of 86 race wins; Vonn currently has 81.

 

Though disappointing, Vonn was not upset by her Olympic finish. She told ESPN: “The miracle didn’t happen, but I gave it my best effort. Slalom is tough for me. I fought really hard, but straddling is unfortunately something I do often, which is why I don’t ski the event anymore. As much as I had a very little change of getting on the podium today, I still had a chance… such is life.” Additionally, she admitted to not putting much time into her slalom training this year. With just one day of slalom training before Christmas 2017, she was unsurprised to have seen her performance suffer.

 

Her Team U.S.A. teammate, Mikaela Shiffrin, took silver. The 22-year-old has won three Olympic medals. Michelle Gisin took gold while Wendy Holdener took bronze.

 

Elizabeth Swaney’s Transcendent Mediocrity

For sports enthusiasts, the Olympics are the place to witness some of the best athletes in the world compete. From luge to slalom, winter sports take center stage every four years—this time, in Pyeongchang. However, it appears that one athlete, though miles away from elite prowess, has fought her way into the spotlight.

 

Elizabeth Swaney, an American representing Hungary, captivated the world with her strikingly mediocre women’s halfpipe qualifying run. The event announcers begin her run as with the other athletes: “Elizabeth Swaney from Hungary out of Oakland, California. Now 34 in the World Cup and 13th in the half pipe at Secret Garden earlier in the year. What can she deliver on here in Pyeongchang?” However, after several attempts to crest the half pipe’s lip, their ability to take the run seriously began to deteriorate: “Will it be enough just to tempt the judges?” The video of this viral run is available via the NBC Olympics Twitter.

 

The 33-year-old American appears to have schemed her way on the Olympic stage. A graduate of Harvard University, she knew she would be unable to snag a spot on the competitive United States team. She originally wanted to ski for Venezuela, her mother’s home country, but switched to Hungary, the birthplace of her grandparents. In skiing for Hungary, Swaney had a better change of meeting the International Ski Federation’s requirements necessary to qualify for Olympic participation. In essence, she simply needed to show up at several international events, compete in very basic runs, and not crash.

 

Though many other athletes are angry with Swaney’s blatant disregard for Olympic prestige, her ability to scam her way into the 2018 Olympics is nothing short of admirable.

American Casey Larson Makes History at 2018 Olympics

19-year-old American ski jumper Casey Larson has made history. However, his Olympic debut has nothing to do with his skill and ski talent—he has become the 100,000th man to compete at the Olympics, according to historian Bill Mallon.

 

A former professional golfer and American orthopedic surgeon, Mallon is a leading authority on the history of the Olympic games. On Thursday evening, he calculated that Larson reached this historic milestone during his competing in the qualifying run at the Pyeongchang Olympics. Mallon has also been a consultant statistician to the International Olympic Committee and was awarded the Olympic Order in silver in 2001 for his services to the Olympic Games.

 

Larson, who finished 46th in qualifying, is excited about this landmark event. On the subject, he said: “I can add that to my Olympic checklist. I hope I can get some publicity about it. For my goals here, it is to make my best jump.”

 

Mallon’s calculation incorporated extensive research on summer and winter games since their modernization in Athens in 1896. Going into the Pyeongchang Games, he calculated that 99,983 men had competed at the games, making Thursday’s 17th male debutant the history maker.

 

In addition to this historic milestone, we expect to see a few additional records broken at these games. With talented athletes from 92 National Olympic Committees and a whopping 2,952 participants, we believe this is just the beginning of a spectacular winter event.

Olympics 2018: Men’s Freestyle Skiing Moguls Qualifying Scores

The Men’s freestyle skiing moguls event occurred on Thursday evening in Pyongchang. Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury finished at the top of the leaderboard in the first qualification run, posting a score of 86.07. Close behind him sit Aleksandr Smyshliaev of Russia (83.93) and Dmitriy Reikherd of Kaakhstan (81.23). The American Troy Murphy finished fourth with a score of 80.95. The remaining six athletes to make the qualifying round’s top ten are:

 

  1. Ikuma Horishima of Japan: 80.35
  2. Daichi Hara of Japan: 80.01
  3. Pavel Kolmakov of Kazakhstan: 79.98
  4. Philippe Marquis of Canada: 77.77
  5. Matt Graham of Australia: 77.28
  6. Sacha Theocharis of France: 76.55

 

In most cases, the scores are very close—less than 0.5 separates fifth and sixth place, currently. The remaining skiers who did not finish in the top 10 still have an opportunity to qualify for the finals; the second qualifying round on February 12th the yield another 10 finalists. Americans Casey Andringa, Bradley Wilson, and Emerson Smith still have a chance at stardom.

 

Kingsbury was a favorite for this event and is already off to an excellent start, leading the pack by more than 2 points. Philippe Marquis is currently competing despite tearing his right ACL a month prior to this qualifying round but has still finished strong. Though he is up for the challenge, he said that the moguls themselves will shift each day with additional skiing and traffic: “It will be a great challenge for me and I’ll have to be extremely smart with my decision making. I’ll probably have to adjust my speed and jumps accordingly.”

 

Alps Avalanche Risk at Highest in 19 Years

Year round, skiers and snowboarders from around the world flock to ski resorts in the Alps. This year, however, extreme weather and dangerous conditions have plagued riders. At the Austrian St. Anton, all road and rail access has been cut off.

 

The town, popular with British skiers, is the latest to suffer from extreme transportation disruption; more than 18” of snow fell over the weekend, and the same amount is due to fall again in the next 48 hours. On Monday morning, the avalanche risk across the Austrian Tirol region—which includes resorts such as St. Anton, Lech, and Ischgl—was set to five (out of five). This indicates an extremely high risk.

 

According to Rudi Mair, of the Tirol Avalanche Warning Service, this has not happened since the winter of 1999. That year, as some may remember, saw the largest avalanche accident in Austrian history; an avalanche at Galtür, a popular resort, killed 38 people and triggered an emergency helicopter evacuation.

 

Resorts across Austria and the greater Alps region have described the current weather, including the upcoming snowfall, as an emergency situation. This comes just two weeks after 13,000 tourists were stranded in Switzerland. Extreme weather in Zermatt, another resort, cut off rail and road access.

 

Those travelling to this part of Europe are being advised to seek alternative accommodation in lower-altitude towns and cities. Avalanche danger is not to be taken lightly, as entire resorts can be overtaken in a matter of minutes.

 

For reference, we have included the Avalanche Safety Risk Scale below.

 

Rating Risk Level Snow Stability
1 Low Very few unstable slabs. The snow pack is well-bonded and stable.
2 Moderate Unstable slabs possible on some steep slopes.
3 Considerable Unstable slabs probable on some steep slopes.
4 High Unstable slabs likely on many steep slopes.
5 Very High The snowpack is weakly bonded and very unstable.

Vermont Skiers Qualify for 2018 Winter Olympics

It appears that Vermont may, yet again, be the driving force behind the United States ski team heading to the 2018 Winter Olympics. Vermont sent thirteen competitors to Sochi in 2014, but this year will see nearly twenty Vermonters suit up for the Pyeongchang Olympics. This, however, is no surprise—Vermont routinely tops the quadrennial list of Olympians per capita. Below are a few profiles, and some recent news clips, from these Green Mountain State athletes.

 

Sophie Caldwall—Cross-Country Skiing

Sophie is a five-time All-American at Dartmouth College. She had a breakout performance at Sochi, finishing sixth in sprint freestyle. She is the third generation of her family to compete in the Olympic games.

 

 

Kelly Clark—Snowboarding

Hailing from West Dover, Clark is the most decorated Olympic snowboarder of all time. She won gold in Salt Lake City (2002) and took the bronze in Vancouver and Sochi. This will be her fifth Olympic games.

 

 

Ryan Cochran-Siegle—Alpine Skiing

Cochran-Siegle is making his Olympic debut this year. He is the son of 1972 gold medalist Barbara Ann Cochran.

 

 

Emily Dreissigacker—Biathlon

Dreissigacker is a former Dartmouth All-American rower, and Pyeongchang will be her first ever Olympic games. She is the fourth member of her family to compete in the Olympics; her sister competed in biathlon in Sochi, and her parents rowed in multiple games.

 

Devin Logan—Freestyle Skiing

Raised in West Dover, Logan qualified for the halfpipe several months ago. However, she still has a chance to earn a spot in slopestyle—she took a silver medal in this event at the 2014 Sochi games.

 

 

Liz Stephen—Cross-Country Skiing

This will be Stephen’s third Olympic appearance. Having grown up around Montpelier and Burke Mountain, she will be an asset in the Americans’ strong relay squads.

 

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