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Ski News #10 - Published 17 November 1994

Subject:  THE COLORADO SKIER -- SKI NEWS 10

 

Greetings from THE COLORADO SKIER

 

This is part of a series on Ski Area News.  It is posted separately
from our companion series on "LOST SKI AREAS", "THE COLORADO SKIER -
TRIVIA", and "TCS LISTS".  Check 'em out.

 

         THE COLORADO SKIER -- SKI NEWS 10  (17 November)

 

EDITOR'S REMARKS:

 

 A. TCS is back on line!  It's good to be back.  It took a
    little longer than we had planned.  Since our last newsletter we
    have:  Retired from our "day job", Packed 19 boxes of mostly ski
    material at work and schlepped them home, Created a "ski trivia
    den" at home with book cases and file cabinets full of very
    important ski stuff, Ordered and (finally) received a COMPUTER of
    our very own, and Taken three previously scheduled vacations!  We
    will be commenting on all of these subjects later on.

 

 B. We decided to do a "Ski News" as our recovery vehicle 
    newsletter because it is the easiest type to do.  To create a
    "Lost Ski Areas" newsletter we would have to search through those
    19 boxes for the necessary research material; and to do a "TCS 
    Trivia" would mean finding the two boxes with the appropriate
    Trivia Guesses from you folks.  Perhaps we should have labeled and
    numbered the boxes!  OTOH, we can do a "Ski News" newsletter 
    basically from memory.  Next time we hope to be more organized.

 

 C. We want to thank you guys very much for all the responses to
    our "temporary hiatus" newsletter .  We received as much or more
    mail in response to that edition as from a normal newsletter, even
    though it wasn't about skiing.  Thanks for caring!

 

1.  SKI AREA NEWS - WHAT'S IN STORE FOR 94

 

 a. ASPEN HIGHLANDS, CO - Is now owned by Aspen Ski Corp, so you
    can expect a major increase in lift ticket prices.  The Highlands
    has built two high speed quad chairs reaching from the area base
    to the top of Loges Peak.  The upper chair will be located on the
    east side of the ridge rather than on the top.  Too bad; the old
    LOGES PEAK double chair (built in 1958) ran right along the top of
    the ridge and was the most spectacular and scary chairlift ride in
    Colorado. You could look down EITHER SIDE at a 4000 foot drop!

 

 b. BEAVER CREEK, CO - Vail Associates has bought the ARROWHEAD
    ski area which is adjacent to "The Beav".  Vail has announced
    plans to connect the two areas so that they can brag that BEAVER
    CREEK has the second largest Vertical Drop (4040 feet) in the U.S.
    This season the "Strawberry Park" lift (chair 12) is being
    replaced with a high-speed quad and the snowmaking at ARROWHEAD
    will be expanded to cover all trails, top-to-bottom.

 

 c. COPPER MOUNTAIN, CO - COPPER has replaced the "I" and "J"
    double chairs with a Doppelmayr high-speed detachable quad.
    COPPER will save the two removed double chairs (I & J) and install
    them in the new Copper Bowl terrain for the 95/96 season.

 

 d. CRESTED BUTTE, CO -- Has finally turned the "Paradise" double
    chair into a Quad.   CRESTED BUTTE FREE SKIING CURTAILED - After
    several years of offering a very popular early season FREE skiing
    program, "Breasted Cute" has decided to cut back on the program
    this season.  Last year there was unrestricted free skiing from 20
    NOV to 20 DEC, a total of 31 days.  This year the free skiing will
    run from 28 NOV to 16 DEC (only 19 days).  The reason given for
    the cutback is:  "Too many folks."

 

 e. CUCHARA VALLEY, CO - We had previously speculated that due to
    a poor 93/94 snow season and a drop in skier days, this area might
    be in trouble.  However when we chatted with a member of
    management in October he reported that all is well and the area
    will be ready to open at Thanksgiving (23 Nov).

 

 f. TELLURIDE, CO - The long awaited town to slope GONDOLA that
    was originally scheduled for completion in Fall 93, then pushed
    back to Summer 94, is now targeted for 1995.  There are
    environmental  problems.  Telski has filled in so many wetlands
    that the Government is getting mad and isn't willing to cut them
    any slack. Essentially the Government is holding the gondola
    hostage until the wetlands problem is resolved.

 

 g. WINTER PARK, CO - Is upgrading their PROSPECTOR lift to a HS
    quad. If one looks at a trail map a quad doesn't seem necessary.
    Prospector serves just a handful of low intermediate slopes.  We
    suspect that the main reason for the quad is to provide better
    access into the Vasquez Ridge region which has a lot of potential
    for expansion towards the northwest.

 

 h. UTAH - PARK WEST has been sold and has changed its name to
    WOLF MOUNTAIN.  There will be a new base lodge at BRIGHTON.  There
    is a new fixed grip quad (called "Baby Thunder") proposed to serve
    new intermediate terrain west of SNOWBIRD.   [Would this be the
    first step in the long awaited expansion into the "White Pine"
    area?]  There is anecdotal evidence that the chair didn't get
    built:  it doesn't show up in the 94/95 "Ski Utah brochure";
    Michael visited the area and didn't see any sign of the chair
    being constructed.

 

 i. JACKSON HOLE, WY - Is converting the "Thunder" double chair to
    a fixed grip quad.  The new owners plan to add two HS quads by the
    year 2000.

 

 j. MT HOOD MEADOWS, OR -- Is converting a double into the area's
    second high speed quad.

 

 k. KILLINGTON, VT - Will replace their 25 year old gondola with a
    faster 8-place version (finally - it was not only the longest lift
    in the U.S., it was the slowest!).  The cars will be heated, come
    in fancy paint schemes, and have stereo music.  [Why would a
    skier, in warm clothing, already out of the wind, need heat?]  For
    extra bucks, skiers will be able to choose the car and music of
    their choice!  The new gondola is called "Skye Ship" and will only
    travel to the top of Skye Peak (the old one traveled to Killington
    Peak).  Therefore it is no longer the longest ski lift in the U.S.

 

 l. OKEMO, VT - Is adding five expert trails in the "Glades" area.

 

 m. STOWE, VT - Had big plans for improvements (see Section 2) but
    is apparently only expanding snowmaking for the 94/95 season.

 

 n. LOON MOUNTAIN, NH - The previously announced plans to replace
    the North Peak triple chair with a quad and move the triple to
    where the East Basin double is now, did not eventuate for this
    season.

 

 o. SUNDAY RIVER, ME - Will expand into "Jordan Bowl", which will
    have 5 runs and 2 chairs, including a detachable quad.  That bowl
    is at the far right as you look up at the mountain.

 

 p. SUGARLOAF, ME - Is adding a new HS Quad and contrary to what
    you might guess, the new quad is not replacing the ancient
    Gondola.  The quad will start at the main base to the right of the
    "double runner" chairs (near the First Aid bldg.) and climb up
    between "Skidder" and "Competition Hill" and end above Skidder.
    The vertical drop looks to be almost 2000 feet.  Also, there will
    be two new runs to the right of Skidder.  Thanks to new reader,
    LARRY, for some of this info.

 

 q. BLACKCOMB, BC - Is adding an eight passenger gondola from the
    base (near the WHISTLER gondola) and a HS quad up on the mountain.

 

 r. WHISTLER, BC - Is building a new quad ("Harmony Express") to
    replace the "Blue chair".  It will end up higher on the mountain
    (top of "Little Whistler") and provide easier access to the
    Symphony, Sun, and Glacier bowls as well as Harmony Bowl.

 

 s. APEX ALPINE, BC - The double chair has been converted to a HS
    quad and there is expanded snowmaking and a hotel due this year,
    with bigger plans for the future.

 

 t. BIG WHITE, BC - New Beginner quad.

 

 u. NORTHSTAR, CA - Someone wrote and asked about ski area
    improvements in the LAKE TAHOE region.  We determined that
    Northstar is converting the "Forest" double chair into a quad.

 

 v. KIT CARSON, CA - A new ski area?  No, not really.  Just a NEW
    NAME for an old area.  In fact this is the FOURTH NAME we have
    tracked for that same ski area.  It is located on Hiway 88, just
    west of KIRKWOOD.   SNEAKY TRIVIA - How many of the old names for
    this ski area can you come up with?  Points are (where n = current
    name): n-1: 1,  n-2: 2,  n-3: 3,  all three: 10 points.

 

2.  SKI AREA NEWS - FUTURE PLANS

 

 a. A-BASIN, CO - Stays open longer in the Spring (late June) than
    any other area in CO and sometimes the whole country (not counting
    TIMBERLINE).  This they do without any snowmaking, just depending
    on altitude and snow depth.  Now, the parent "KRMI" (owners of
    Keystone and Breck) is planning to add snowmaking on the upper
    slopes so that they can stay open all summer!  Sounds like fun!

 

 b. COPPER MOUNTAIN, CO - Will open a new section called "Copper
    Bowl" to the south of Copper Peak and Union Peak, utilizing the I
    and J lifts which were replaced by a new quad this season.

 

 c. ELDORA MTN, CO - RICK heard from a ski patrolman that ELDORA
    may build a new base near the TOWN of Eldora and extend the Corona
    chair down to that base.  This would save the arduous drive up the
    shelf road to the current base.  The road is curvy with drop-offs
    and rises 1000 feet (from Nederland) in 4 miles.

 

 d. LOVELAND, CO - Has applied to the Forest Service for
    permission to expand to the East from both LOVELAND BASIN and
    LOVELAND VALLEY along both sides of I-70.  To the North it will be
    East of Zip Basin.  To the South (from the Valley) the terrain
    will be getting close to the "Mt Sniktau" region once proposed for
    Olympic skiing at the canceled Colorado Olympics in 1976.

 

 e. VAIL, CO - Vail has now officially received permission from the
    Forest Service to expand into PETE'S BOWL and SUPER BOWL across
    Two Elk Creek from China Bowl.  There will be four new quad chairs
    and a new restaurant and a ski patrol shack.  Unlike the current
    "back bowls", the new bowls face North.  The slopes will be high
    intermediate to expert - about the same, on average, as the
    existing bowls.  Vertical Drop will be 1900 feet.  Vail plans to
    have the new bowls and lifts open for the 95/96 season.

 

 f. DEER VALLEY, UT - Has joined forces with a mining company that
    owns the canyon separating them from the PARK CITY ski area. They
    intend to develop the terrain with 7 new chairs and 47 new runs
    (doubling Deer Valley's size).

 

 g. STOWE, VT - Had originally planned big changes for this season
    including:  a giant new base lodge, expanded parking, expanded
    snowmaking on Spruce Peak, a new quad chair (replacing the "Big
    Spruce" double), and another quad up west of "Nose Dive".  They
    also planned a connector lift (a gondola made from their old
    gondola parts) across Hiway 108, between the two mountains.
    However, obtaining permission from Government agencies to do all
    this was hard to come by and only the snowmaking made it for 94.
    Stand by for revised plans for next season.

 

 h. ASCUTNEY, VT - Was purchased last (93) summer and re-opened
    after two dark seasons.  The new owners plan gradual improvements.
    Eventually they hope to expand up to the top of "Mt. Ascutney".
    That would add 900 feet of vertical to the current 1500 ft.

 

 i. LOVE FOR SALE - As far as we know MAD RIVER GLEN, VT is still
    trying to sell itself to a local skier group - any update?

 

3.  CURRENT SKI AREA NEWS

 

 a. EARLY OPENINGS -- KILLINGTON won the U.S. early opening derby
    for the nth year in a row by opening on 3 Oct.  Other early opens:

 

         8 Oct  -  Mammoth Mtn, CA
        18 Oct  -  Keystone, CO
        18 Oct  -  Loveland, CO

 

    Actually KILLINGTON only managed to stay open for 4 days and
    since then have only been open two other days - for a total of 6
    days through 9 Nov.  Meanwhile KEYSTONE and LOVELAND opened and
    stayed open - as they always do (dig, dig).  Of course that means
    that MAMMOTH has been open the most this season, with one chair,
    one run and 8-10 inch base.  FWIW BRECKENRIDGE opened on 4 Nov -
    their earliest opening ever.  Rumor has it that MT BAKER and
    MT HOOD MEADOWS also achieved fairly early openings.

 

    Oh yes.  In recent years LOVELAND has been opening just before
    KEYSTONE - one year opening at 8:45 am to beat Keystone's 9 am
    opening.  This year Keystone turned the tables by turning on the
    lights and opening at 6 am!   Gamesmanship lives!

 

 b. ASPEN HIGHLANDS - Has shrunk.  The Highlands has always
    advertised their Vertical Drop as 3800 ft, highest in Colorado and
    2nd highest (after Jackson Hole) in the U.S.  However when they
    surveyed the mountain in preparation for the two new quad chairs
    they discovered that the vertical is only 3635 ft!  That makes
    them 3rd in the U.S. and 2nd in Colorado to STEAMBOAT (3685 ft).

 

 c. KEYSTONE VS THE SENIOR CITIZENS - KRMI, parent company of
    Keystone, A-Basin, and Breckenridge found themselves in big
    trouble when they attempted to raise the price of season tickets
    for Seniors.  Roughly the regular season pass (for all three
    areas) is $850.  Again roughly, the price for ages 60-64 was $600,
    for 65-69 was $350 and the price for those over 70 was a $25
    processing fee.  KRMI announced this season that all season passes
    would be $850.  The hue and cry from Seniors was tremendous.
    Think of the percentage increase.

 

    Meanwhile COPPER Mountain stuck with the reduced rates for
    Seniors.  After several weeks of wrangling, KRMI backed down and
    went back to last years' prices.   Thank goodness there is still
    some competition in Summit County!  Now when KRMI buys Copper ....

 

 d. THE PROUD BIRD TAKES WING AND VANISHES -- If you have plans to
    fly directly to a Colorado ski area this year, better make your
    reservations early.  Continental Airlines (the proud bird with the
    tarnished tail) has dumped their commuter airline called
    "Continental Express" (formerly Rocky Mountain Airways).  That
    will make it harder to fly from Denver to Steamboat, Aspen, and
    Gunnison.  Aspen is the hardest hit.  United and Continental each
    flew 10 flights daily last season.  United has upped their count
    to 15 but that means a 25% decrease in capacity.

 

4.  POTPOURRI

 

 a. WORLD SKI ASSOCIATION - Is a lift ticket discounter that some
    of you may subscribe to.  In their 94/95 Directory the trail map
    shown for MAMMOTH MTN (p. 66) is the wrong one.  SNEAKY TRIVIA TWO
    - Which ski area trail map IS shown?  Hint: the trail map has been
    switched with another ski area in the same directory.

 

 b. THE DOG STAR - VAIL has been running a print ad showing a
    scruffy looking little white dog and a caption that says:  "Bruno
    was excited when he heard that Vail has 21 cats. ....."   In the
    background of the pic you can see some apres-ski skiers sitting
    around with their (large) ski boots on.  We found that "same"
    (albeit in color) picture in the "Light and Dry" (humor) section
    of the December *1991* edition of POWDER Magazine.  That time the
    caption read:  "Rex the wonder pup meets the size 13 Koflach".  We
    wonder if the dog gets residuals!

 

 c. PC JR, WHERE ARE YOU?  Our darling 24 year old blue eyed
    blonde daughter is no longer working at the Marriott.  She is now
    on the waitstaff at APPLEBEE'S on North Academy in Colorado
    Springs.  Stop by and say hello.  (Good restaurant doing a great
    business)

 

 d. COPPER ON THE NET - Have you been reading the Copper Mountain 
    newsletter in rec.skiing.alpine?  It is written and posted by
    Chester (Gunsmoke) Bullock, one of our regular correspondents,
    now working at Copper.

 

5.  LETTERS, WE GET LETTERS

 

    Once again, thanks for the many responses to our "temporary
    hiatus" letter.  Counting requests to be on the E-Mail List we
    received 30 responses, which is more than for the average
    legitimate skiing newsletter.  There were three types of comments:
    Some of you offered condolences and discussed potential job
    opportunities;  Many of you answered our request for info on
    Internet access services;  And we had 10 requests to be on the E-
    Mail list.  Apparently those 10 folks either had a lot of
    confidence that we would be back, or (more likely) they just
    weren't reading the letter very carefully!

 

    As for your recommendations for an Internet access service the
    votes went in this order:  many positive votes for America On-Line
    (AOL) and Delphi, a few votes for NetCom and Colorado Super net,
    and nothing but disparaging remarks about Prodigy and CompuServe.
    So we will probably go with AOL or Delphi.

 

    However, net access is low on our priority list right now.
    First we have to master Windows and Word (we used neither at work)
    before we worry about modems and such.  We will continue to use
    Mark for "sneakernet" access to Internet.  Some of you volunteered
    to do the Sneakernet thing for us (and we appreciate the offers)
    but that is what Mark and I were doing all along.  I would write
    the newsletter, and then send it to Mark either by floppy or
    electronically at work.  He would then post it.  Now I will create
    the floppy at home and just drive it to (Mark's) work every few
    weeks.  It's just 5 miles.  Admittedly we will pass by Chuckie B's
    office along the way.  He works just 1.5 miles from our house -
    whoops!, we meant to say from TCS Publishing Headquarters - high
    on the hill (above Brittany Circle, Chuck).

 

    BTW, nether Mark or I had heard the term "sneakernet" before.
    In the military we call it "airgap".  That is, if the only
    connection between two computers is disk, or mag tape, or paper
    tape, or punched cards, then there is an "airgap connection".

 

6.  STEEL WHEELS III  (The Voodoo Lounge Tour)

 

 We usually take (vacation) trips (Friend Ralph says retired people
 can't take vacations!) in the Fall - to see football games and/or
 fall foliage.  And we always check out the "lost" and current ski
 areas along the way.  This year we took three trips:

 

 TRIP ONE - SAN ANTONIO -- There are no ski areas between COS and S.A.
 However, at a restaurant in Raton, NM we spotted a poster for
 SUGARITE (formerly known as RATON SKI BASIN).  The cashier allowed as
 how the area had been closed for 4 or 5 years, the lifts have been
 removed, and the terrain is now used for cattle grazing.  She
 indicated that the former area is easily visible from a public access
 road in Sugarite Canyon.  Someday we will have to drive up.  BTW, she
 pronounced it "Sugareet".

 

 TRIP TWO - SANTA FE -- We drove to the CUCHARA VALLEY ski area just
 south of the quaint town of La Veta, CO.  We dropped by the office
 for a trail map and a manager type indicated that they were planning
 to open on 23 Nov.  This would be earlier than their usual early DEC
 openings of the past.  We did observe a few snow guns at the base.
 The aspen leaves were beautiful on Cuchara Pass - at peak on 2 Oct.

 

 Later we drove up to the SANTA FE ski area - scads of aspen trees up
 there.  The 18 mile access road has to be added to our list of
 lengthy ski area access roads.  The road has a vertical rise (or
 drop) of 3350 feet but is wide and well paved with no drop-offs.

 

 We also stopped by the TAOS and RED RIVER ski areas.  BTW there was
 no sign of major building at any of the four ski areas.  At Red River
 we saw that really flat bunny slope we had mentioned in an earlier 
 newsletter.  We stared at it long and hard to decide which was the
 higher end!  This time we noticed a sign:  "This is the slowest,
 lowest, and safest chairlift in the Rockies."   Fer shurr.

 

 Next to Red River is a "lost" ski area formerly called POWDERPUFF.
 There is a chairlift and rope tow still standing.  This area changed
 its name to WOODLANDS and we observed a "Woodlands" condo complex at
 the base.

 

 TRIP THREE - LAS VEGAS -- Passed by the Breck, Copper, Vail, Beaver
 Creek, and Arrowhead ski areas but nothing significant to report.
 They were all closed (on 13 Oct).   [We deleted all the non-skiing
 tourist stuff from these reports - if you have questions about San
 Antonio, Santa Fe, or Las Vegas, give us a holler.]

 

7.  RETIREMENT - FACT OR FICTION?

 

  Some of you didn't know whether to offer congratulations or
  condolences about our "early" retirement.  We would prefer congrats.
  But we will say this one time and never bring it up again: this was
  an involuntary retirement.  We were a victim of a RIF.  Ordinarily
  at our company if you retire before the age or 62, your pension is
  reduced - say if you retired at 56, you might receive 50% of your
  expected pension at age 62.  In RIF situations, however, they award
  a "special early retirement".  It has three major benefits:  1)  You
  receive 100% of your earned pension amount;  2)  The pension
  benefits start right away:  3)  There is a bonus amount to help make
  up for the lack of Social Security benefits until age 62 - in our
  case the bonus was about 30% of what Social Security would be.

 

  So we will be OK (without getting another job) by living off our
  pension, the bonus, and return on investments.  In the next few
  newsletters we will share with you some of our thoughts on the
  economics of retirement income - to help you plan and prepare.  We
  have come up with two equations concerning how much you will need
  and where it might come from.

 

  The most important advice we can give is this:  no matter what your
  age, you should be contributing to your company pension plan and you
  should be contributing as much as possible to a 401K plan or IRAs.
  This is the secret of a financially successful early retirement.

 

      {You know it is time to retire when:  Your Co-workers start
    calling you "Sir".}

 

8.  EPILOG

 

 a. We respectfully and sincerely request that when you first E-
    Mail to The Colorado Skier, that you include your CITY name.  No
    good reason.  We just like to know where y'all are from.

 

 b. If you would like to receive your own personal copy of The
    Colorado Skier newsletters, just ask Mark to subscribe you.

 

 c. Next Issue:  "TRIVIA 16"   (around 7 December)

 

      Cheers from THE COLORADO SKIER

 

      "If a pretty face and a hard body were all it took to be a star,
    then Brooke Shields and Don Johnson would be stars!   OTOH, if it
    does take a pretty face to be a star, than how do you explain the
    success of Garth Brooks and Madonna?"

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