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Ski News #11 - Published 28 November 1995

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 11 (28 November)

EDITOR'S REMARKS:

A. This issue is another potpourri. It starts with Ski Area News, of course, but then we will throw in a little Lost Ski Areas, Trivia Updates, and try to answer a few of your questions. It's that last subject we get behind on. There are so many of you lately!

B. Some pleasant and unusual surprises in the Snail Mail. SAUL sent us a trail map for a ski area on the Golan Heights called MT HERMON, and TOM sent an area map for TIFFENDELL in South Africa. Now, if we could only read Hebrew or Afrikaner! Also, DUKE (KN) sent a map for a lost area which was only "lost" to us. See paragraph C. JEFF (MT) sent some maps from areas in Montana that we had barely heard of. And, finally, MICHAEL (UT) sent some material from Utah. Thx, guys.

While we were in SLC recently, we looked up Michael's phone number and almost called him. Since he had sent the long promised items to CO while we were in UT, the conversation would have been interesting - TCS: "When are you going to a post office, slacker?" Reply: "Why don't you check your mailbox, hoser?"

C. SNOW CREEK, MO - This 10 year old ski area is located several miles northwest of Kansas City. We were unaware that the area existed until DUKE (KN) sent us a trail map. Two of our ski area guides don't list them but the THIRD one does (it helps to be prepared!). The area has 200 ft of vertical and 2 triple chairs. So there are actually three ski areas in Missouri. Thanks, Duke.


1. SKI AREA NEWS - WHAT'S ALIVE IN 95

NEW ENGLAND

a. SUNDAY RIVER, ME - Will add a fixed-grip quad chair, and 2 expert and 2 beginner trails in what they call the "OZ" area between Aurora Peak and Jordan Bowl.

b. ATTITASH, NH - Is adding a base lodge, Super Quad ("The Flying Bear"), and 4 new trails in the new (in 1994) "Bear Peak" terrain.

c. MT. CRANMORE, NH - Has been purchased by LBO, owners of SUNDAY RIVER. This year they will be adding a Super Quad cleverly named "SNOWMOBILE EXPRESS" and remodeling the mountaintop restaurant.

d. LOON, NH - Has replaced the two "West Basin" double chairs with a Detachable Quad. Future (gradual) plans include replacing the "Seven Brothers" and "North Peak" chairs with quads, and the opening of new terrain to the west on "South Mountain".

e. STRATTON, VT - Will be the first U.S. area since BOYNE MTN to install a "six-pack" (six passenger detachable chair).

f. SUGARBUSH, VT - Spent the most ($28 mill) of any U.S. area on improvements this year. There will be considerably expanded snowmaking at "South" plus seven, count them seven, new lifts. The big news is that there will be a HS Quad ("Slide Brook Express") connecting the two areas. It will run from the top of "Gate House" to the top of "Green Mountain". However there will be no lifts or trails IN the Slide Brook terrain this season.

Also changed: (South) "Sugar Bravo" and "Gate House" will each be replaced with a HS Quad; "North Lynx" Poma will be replaced with a triple chair. A "magic carpet" will ease the climb from parking lot to the "Valley House" lift. At North: The "Green Mountain Express" will be moved to replace the "North Ridge" double; The former lift will be replaced by a fixed grip quad.

Question: The new "intertie" quad is obviously built only for transport, to replace or supplement the bus system between base areas. However, assuming that eventually there will be trails and lifts in Slide Brook, someday there will be this HS Quad connecting the original two base areas which has no apparent use. Oh well, by then maybe the lift will be obsolete, or, it can always be moved.

g. OKEMO, VT - Will have a new triple chair and 2 new trails in the Solitude Peak area.

h. KING RIDGE, NH - The owners went "paws up" and turned the ski area and facilities over to the bank lender. The bank decide to auction the facilities piecemeal. So the bad news is that the area has been sold off and will not operate. The good news is that RAGGED MOUNTAIN and KING PINE (NH) each bought triple chairlifts and will be installing them soon.

i. Actually, RAGGED MOUNTAIN (NH) bought TWO lifts but will not be installing them this season. They claim that the problem is with the "upside down lifts". Now most of us engineers can't logically see a problem in whether a lift returns you to the top or takes you to the top. So we suspect the problem is imaginary. However it probably is something simple like the motor has to be at the top and Ragged has to run major power to the top of their expansion area or something like that. Meanwhile the lifts sit in some farmers back yard. BTW, at least one of the lifts will be installed in brand new terrain on "Sunset Peak", to the right as you look up the mountain. RAGGED has also expanded beginner terrain with two new surface lifts and will keep the lift ticket price at $25 (weekends) for still another year.

j. JAY PEAK, VT - There will be a new access (double) chair from the condo region (with a beginner trail) and lots of glade skiing.

k. BLACK MOUNTAIN, VT - Went Chapter 7 this summer. A couple from Mass. (with no experience in running a ski area) has made an offer for the whole area with the intent to operate this season. It is now up to the bank lender to make a decision.

l. CROTCHED MOUNTAIN, NH - Has been closed for several seasons but a new potential buyer wants to re-open. One of the problems is that the ski area is located in two towns and there are several pieces owned by different lenders. The "new owner" couldn't seem to satisfy all the various parties. In particular one of the towns wants to foreclose on some property to recover back taxes. Of course logical minds say that the town has no way to recover real money from a closed base area, but then politics is politics. Stand by.

m. BOLTON VALLEY, VT - Filed for Chapter 11 but plans to operate.

COLORADO

a. ASPEN - Made only one change - they raised the lift ticket price to $52, the first and only U.S. ski area to go over $50. Also the Roaring Fork Transit District has added "snowboard racks" to their busses. This seems strange, since ASPEN doesn't allow snowboards! Must be for all those shredders who have to leave town to ride!

b. BEAVER CREEK - The plan to connect ARROWHEAD with BEAVER CREEK with runs and lifts in the "Bachelor Gulch" area is still a year or two away. This year a new triple chairlift (called "Elkhorn") will be built in the Bachelor Gulch region, between the two ski areas. It is being built mostly to serve homeowners.

c. COPPER MTN - Will open the new "Copper Bowl" terrain with one double chair (830 ft vertical) and 600 new acres. There will be an additional 300 acres of new terrain in the "Western Union" area west of and above the Timberline Express chair and next to Copper Bowl. The 900 new acres make COPPER, at 2300 acres, the largest ski area in Summit County. (Hey C.B., please send us a real TRAIL MAP before we say something really nasty about that ugly "mountain rendering" in the brochure!)

d. CRESTED BUTTE - Continues their policy of early season FREE SKIING. This year the dates are 17 Nov to 16 Dec (except 24, 25 Nov) and ALSO (first time in the Spring) 8-21 April 96.

e. KEYSTONE - Is building a new village at the gondola base, in the midst of the pay parking lots. Shouldn't affect skiing but may confuse the parking and shuttle bus situation.

f. PURGATORY - The #3 chair is being replaced by a HS Quad called "HERMOSA PARK EXPRESS".

g. SNOWMASS - The long planned major expansion onto "Burnt Mountain" with a new base with gondola, more chairs and terrain, and lots of snowmaking hasn't quite happened yet. However this season Snowmass will open a new "Two Creeks" base area with a day lodge, parking, and a HS Quad up to "Elk Camp". The Elk Camp double will be replaced with another HS Quad. The new base altitude is 109 ft lower than the existing base, thus padding one of the largest Vertical Drops in the U.S.

h. TELLURIDE - This season will open the long delayed town to slope gondola. There will also be a "chondola", a HS Quad with occasional gondola cars, which will replace the #1 beginner lift.

i. VAIL - This season Vail will be converting Chair 3 (Hunky Dory) from a fixed grip quad to a detachable quad ("Wildwood Express") and will be opening a new snowboard park on Golden Peak.

j. CUCHARA VALLEY - Failed to open last season when their NEW owner couldn't raise working cash. Now the third owner in 3 seasons (and also owner of the "marginal" SKI RIO in NM) has promised to open CUCHARA for the 95/96 season. They had representatives at a local ski show who seemed serious about operating this season.

ROCKIES

a. BIG SKY, MT - Has added a new 15 passenger Doppelmayr tram to near the top of "Lone Mountain". The overall VERTICAL DROP will now be 4180 feet, which is 41 feet more than JACKSON HOLE, the previous vertical leader in the U.S. There will also be a new double chair ("double"?) in the "Shedhorn" terrain serving about 8 new runs below the "South Face". The total expansion includes 1000 new acres. One ski writer says that the capacity of the new tram is only 150 skiers per hour. That would be less than the slowest single chair. Strange. (Probably means that there are far fewer expert skiers at Big Sky than at, say, Mad River Glen.)

b. BRIDGER BOWL, MT - Added its first quad chair. (unconfirmed)

c. SNOWBIRD, UT - Did indeed build the "Baby Thunder" beginner double chairlift at the lower right (NW corner) of the ski area, with new trails. Since the bottom of the new lift is at a lower altitude than existing lifts, the SNOWBIRD Vertical Drop increased slightly, from 3100 to 3240 feet.

d. PARK CITY, UT - Is building a new base lodge at the bottom of the "town-to-slope" chairlift. [BTW, Is it possible to ski back to "town", or to ride the chairlift down?]

e. TAOS, NM - Is replacing their last remaining diesel powered double chair with a fixed grip quad.

CALIFORNIA/NEVADA

a. SQUAW VALLEY, CO - The KT-22 double chair has been replaced with a quad. Curiously, the double was purchased by a man who owns the land between Squaw and Alpine Meadows. Interesting! Stay tuned.

b. DIAMOND PEAK, NV - The "Lakeview" chair is now a quad. There is a new "Launch Pads" conveyor lift loading system (a conveyor speeds you up to the speed of a fixed grip lift, sort of like "The Haunted Mansion" ride at Disneyland).

CANADA

a. SUNSHINE VILLAGE, ALB - Has finally received permission to expand onto Goat's Eye Mtn, with a 1600 ft vertical HS Quad and 1000 new acres. Should be some spectacular terrain.

b. ELECTION RESULTS - Too bad you wiseguys won't be able to add QUEBEC to your "Areas Skied" list as another foreign country!


2. SKI AREA NEWS - OTHER

a. LOVELAND and KEYSTONE (CO) - Both opened for the season on 11 October, the first U.S. ski areas to open. This is the 3rd year in the past 5 that both areas opened on the same day.

b. OPENING HISTORY - Loyal reader JEFF (MT) wanted to know the opening date history for these two areas. No problem:

     YEAR      LOVELAND       KEYSTONE       1995       11 Oct         11 Oct      1994       18 Oct         18 Oct      1993       21 Oct         26 Oct      1992        3 Nov          3 Nov      1991        1 Nov         28 Oct       1990       25 Oct         22 Oct      1989        3 Nov         20 Oct      1988        3 Nov         27 Oct      1987       28 Oct         21 Oct      1986       17 Oct         15 Oct       1985        6 Oct         18 Oct      1984       18 Oct         19 Oct      1983       22 Oct         23 Oct      1982       16 Oct         22 Oct      1981       31 Oct         31 Oct       Median     22 Oct         22 Oct  

c. OTHER OPENINGS - BRECKENRIDGE opened on 31 Oct, their earliest opening ever. ELDORA, COPPER MTN, VAIL, AND WINTER PARK were all open by 11 Nov. MAMMOTH opened on 10 Nov with minimal terrain but, closed a few days later. KILLINGTON and SUNDAY RIVER opened in "late Oct". (We were traveling then; anyone have the exact dates?)

d. CANNON MOUNTAIN, NH - The state of New Hampshire (which owns and operates Cannon) was exploring the idea of letting a commercial area (LOON) operate Cannon this season but the negotiations fell through. Many people would like to see the state out of the skiing business. They (NH) also own SUNAPEE.

e. MT SUNAPEE, NH - Our summer guide books show a 4-place GONDOLA rising to the top of "Mt Sunapee" which doesn't show up on any trail maps. Does anyone know where the gondola is situated?

f. BURKE MOUNTAIN, VT - Is for sale. 1st Rumor says they are selling off property to pay taxes. 2nd says they are history. WESLEY (VT) passed on a news item that says that the "Northern Star Ski Corp" is trying to buy and re-open the resort.

g. BEAR MOUNTAIN, CA - (not to be confused with BEAR VALLEY) was formerly owned by S-K-I (Killington) but has been sold to Fibreboard Corp, the owners of several other California ski areas.

h. COLORADO PRICES - LOVELAND, SUNLIGHT, and SKI COOPER did not raise lift ticket prices this season. Eldora cut their prices by $2.00. (Don't forget the new CO ski country area code - 970).


3. TRIVIA QUESTION FOLLOW-UP

a. A CLASSIC? One of our Formal trivia questions asked which is the OLDEST (continuously operating) SKI AREA in the U.S. As we reviewed YOUR answers and thought about OUR answer(s), we realized that this is a rather significant question. It goes to the heart of the history of U.S. skiing. It also requires definition of the term "ski area". The complete answer would fill ten pages. We will try to do the best we can with the answer. We have a list of the areas open in 1940 and we will discuss some of the areas open earlier than that (in the next "TCS TRIVIA").

b. BIGGEST THEME PARK TO CLOSE - Perhaps we should have defined the term "theme park". This term was coined when Disneyland opened. The THEMES are: "Disney" characters, and the various "lands" such as "Frontier" and "Fantasy", etc. Some theme parks use Warner Bros. characters (e.g., Bugs Bunny) and the "Six Flag" parks use six "lands" (such as French, Spanish, Texas) representing the six flags. These parks are different than the old fashioned "amusement" or "streetcar" parks (remind us to define "streetcar parks").

Consequently, some of your answers like "Palisades Park" and "Coney Island" don't qualify as they weren't "theme parks". Certainly "Palisades" (NJ) and "Riverview Park" (Chicago) were two of the largest "conventional amusement parks" to close. As for CONEY ISLAND, it isn't closed. First of all, there is no "park" named "Coney Island". It is just a region. [SNEAKY TRIVIA - What is a "coney"?]. Over time there have been many amusement parks on Coney Island; the most famous probably was "Luna Park". There still exist "parks" there, with "Astroland" being the best known. It has the "Cyclone" roller coaster, the most famous coaster in the U.S. (with 6 clones). Nearby is the "Wonder Wheel Park" with the giant Ferris wheel, the one where the cars slide on tracks within the wheel. You have probably seen it in many movies. The "Steeplechase" park may still exist, with two SBNO roller coasters.

c. L.A. THEME PARKS - Last time we asked who remembered four more closed medium size L.A. "theme" parks. Here they are [name, location, attractions, closing date]: 1) JAPANESE DEER PARK (Buena Park), deer, dolphins, gardens, [1975]; 2) CALIFORNIA ALLIGATOR FARM (Buena Park), alligators - across from Knott's, [1985]; 3) LION COUNTRY SAFARI (Orange County), drive thru "wild African animal preserve", [1985]; JUNGLELAND (Thousand Oaks), "movie animals", [1969]. These one-time successful parks have all disappeared. Reader CARL remembered the Alligator Farm.

d. LUCY, THE MARGATE ELEPHANT - This six story elephant-shaped structure was built by a real estate developer in 1881. Thru the years it has been an office, a restaurant, a bar, and usually just a tourist attraction. We toured it in 1964, for ten cents (current price - $2.00). It is located on the beach in MARGATE CITY, just south of Atlantic City. BILL HERY (NJ) knew this, of course. CARL astutely guessed "Atlantic City", after our "gambling" hint. RALPH (NH) opined that anyone from Philadelphia should have known about LUCY. Guess what, we only have one reader from Philly. Apparently everyone else is too busy spreading cream cheese on their cheese steaks. ;-)

INSTANT TRIVIA - Next to Margate, is VENTNOR CITY. You trivia nuts (who else would be reading this?) probably know that the street names for the board game MONOPOLY come from the Atlantic City area. One such name is MARVEN GARDENS with the "MAR" and "VEN" coming from the above named "cities". Inexplicably, in the game, the name came out MarvIn Gardens.

e. PIONEERS - We mentioned that Dave McCoy may be the only founder (MAMMOTH MTN) still operating a major ski area. CHRIS (VA) points out that HUNTER MTN (NY) is still operated by founders/owners Izzy and Orville Slutzky. (True)


4. IT'S PUZZLE TIME

This puzzle gets its own section because it is so neat. We asked you to "solve a puzzle" and what you did was answer a trivia question, completely ignoring the puzzle. Here it was:

NEW PUZZLE - Name the following 1977 movie: A well-known male star plays a 35ish gray collar worker with a house in the suburbs, a wife (played by Teri Garr), and 2.5 kids. In the plot he encounters a very unusual phenomenon which occupies his time to the point of obsession. Naturally his family, friends, and the authorities think that he has gone a little wacko. What movie? (a little tricky)

Apparently we should have said "Very TRICKY!!!". All of you said that the movie was: "Close Encounters of The Third Kind". Good guess. Funny thing is, tho, we were thinking of a DIFFERENT movie! That is, ANOTHER movie which fits the same description. And no one mentioned it. OK, to be fair the question should have been: "What TWO movies?" But, who said a puzzle had to be fair - or easy? So, now you have another month to figure out the SECOND movie. Fire away.

BTW, 14 folks guessed "Close Encounters". That's the most answers we have ever received to any one question, Formal or Sneaky.


5. BUILDERS EMPORIUM

a. MAD RIVER GLEN, VT - We found the following quote by a former Dartmouth ski racer who took his family to MRG in the early 60's: "The kids liked to play with Godfrey Rockefeller's grandchildren and ride the private AERIAL TRAMWAY running from the parking lot to the Rockefeller house, built on a Mad River ledge." {Anyone know about that aerial tramway?}

b. STONE MOUNTAIN, GA - Loyal reader MELISSA (with help from Dad SCOTT) reports that the rebuilding (expansion in time for the Atlanta Olympics) of the Stone Mtn TRAM is well underway. The terminal buildings are being replaced. Parts of the old top terminal are being carried down the mtn via construction cars attached to the existing tram cars. The new top terminal building foundation is being built of cement with the cement PIPED up the side of Stone Mtn. The main goal here, is increased capacity (so that the Russian weight lifters will fit on board). :-)

c. THE ELUSIVE DETACHABLE TRIPLE CHAIRLIFT

We said that there was a detachable triple on Fanny Hill at SNOWMASS. We were wrong. It is a quad. Thanks to DAVID (Boulder) for catching our error. At least he was polite. "Perhaps you are mistaken?", he queried. That beats the "bssst, timeout, wrongo," comments we usually receive when we make a mistake. (At least we do try to correct mistakes.)

The first detachable quad was installed at BRECKENRIDGE in 1981. SKIP thinks that the "first detachable chairlift in the U.S." was a triple at GORE MTN, NY. We have only narrowed that installation date down to 1978-1985. However a loyal reader says that he was at GORE in 1981 and there was no such lift.

Meanwhile, loyal reader SCOTT (VT) thinks the first detach chair was the triple at MT BACHELOR. Well, the Summit lift (the triple) at Bachelor wasn't installed until 1983 (later than the detach quad at Breck). That still leaves the question: Who was first with a detach triple, Bachelor, or Gore?

d. SMALLEST VERTICAL - One loyal reader speculated that the "XTC" quad at SIERRA-AT TAHOE, CA has the shortest vertical drop of any quad. SKIP KING (LBO PR type) says: "No way". The new South-North (Slide Brook) access quad at SUGARBUSH travels up and then down and up and down again ending up with a vertical rise of only about 5 feet (there is an employee pool on which end is higher!)

e. UP, UP, and AWAY? - The "size" of ski areas is often measured using a term called "Lift Capacity" which measures "Skiers per Hour". Someone observed, however, that a bunny lift rising 400 feet would get the same "credit" as a chair rising, say 1800 feet. So, a new term was devised, called "Vertical Transport Feet per Hour" (VTFH). This quantity multiplies the "skiers per hour" times the "vertical feet rise" for each lift. Thus an area like TAOS gets a lot more VTFH than, say, BOYNE MOUNTAIN.

Now consider the new Slide Brook "between area" transport lift at SUGARBUSH. It has a lift capacity of maybe 2400 skiers per hour but, because it doesn't go anywhere (up), it has a VTFH of only around zero. Must be very frustrating in the old PR game for our friend the "Skipster".


6. THE OCTOBER TRIVIA TRIPS

Our first trip explored the "amusement parks" of So. Calif, the "amazements" of Las Vegas, and the "Lost Ski Areas" of Utah. SANTA MONICA PIER has a classic carousel (PTC #62, 1922, 3 rows) which has been featured in many movies (e.g., "The Sting"). Next to the (indoor) classic carousel is a small amusement park with a Ferris wheel labeled "Big Eli, 1948". (Would you ride a Ferris wheel built in 1948?) Most portable, county fair type Ferris wheels are built by the ELI BRIDGE Co. This is a small midwestern family-owned company which builds amusement rides, not bridges.

One of the pier parking lots is fenced off and there is an artist's conception of a new amusement park to be built there by May, 1996. "PACIFIC PARK" will include a giant (90 ft) Ferris wheel, and a junior sized (55 ft) roller coaster. One press release said the Ferris wheel (with the computer controlled colored lights) would be visible from Malibu to Palos Verdes. The day we were there it wouldn't have been visible from the beach! Smog is alive and well in L.A.

Next we visited the site of the Ocean Park pier, home of the closed amusement park, P.O.P. We were amazed to discover that the pier no longer exists. No pier, no pilings, just sandy beach!

Then, it was MARINELAND OF THE PACIFIC. The tower is gone. The lush vegetation concealed the status of the remaining buildings. We were surprised to find the parking lot gate open so we drove inside. There in the parking lot were about 100 private automobiles. A corner of the lot had been cordoned off and appeared to be a construction site. However, closer inspection revealed, behind the several semi-trailers, a multiple rest room trailer and trailers marked "dressing room". So, obviously, we had stumbled onto a TV or movie shoot location.

Hard to tell what was being filmed. Maybe "Free Willy III", or a shoot-em-up around an abandoned park, or maybe even a secret Colombian drug laboratory. Watch for it on your TV or movie screens.

We are always amazed at how fast things get built in LAS VEGAS. One year we parked in a giant paved parking lot next to the MIRAGE. One year later, the parking lot had been replaced by two parking garages and the TREASURE ISLAND hotel! Last December we had seen signs for the "NEW YORK, NEW YORK" (across from the MGM GRAND) and "BEAU RIVAGE" hotels and wondered. Sure enough, NY, NY was 75% completed. It will have a giant (203 ft) metal roller coaster ("The Big Apple"). Next door were the MONTE CARLO and BELLAGIO hotels, about 80% completed. Impressive. (The Beau Rivage, on the old Dunes site, wasn't started.)

We were also startled to see a new monorail, with 4 shiny cars, a lot like the Alweg version at Disneyland. Didn't get to ride it but it appeared to connect the BALLY and MGM Grand hotels. The STRATOSPHERE TOWER (921 ft, plus antenna) is almost complete and it will have a roller coaster ("HIGH ROLLER") on top! They are struggling for a superlative comparative phrase to use in advertising. We thought about "tallest hotel", but the 10 story "gondola" on top will only have lounges and casinos, no hotel rooms. It is far from the tallest "tower"; some TV towers are 1500 to 1700 feet tall. And, the Sears Tower and Empire State "buildings" are taller. So they picked: "America's tallest free standing tower." The "Tower of the Americas" (San Antonio) and the "Space Needle" (Seattle) are shorter. However, the "CN Tower" (free standing) in Toronto is much taller.

In UTAH, it was all ski areas. We found the lost "CEDAR CANYON" area, about 11 miles east of Cedar City. We also drove up to SNOWBIRD just to confirm that the new "Baby Thunder" chair and terrain are for real. They are. (Do you realize that SNOWBIRD still has only DOUBLE chairs?) In Park City we solved the mystery of the unknown brand name on the gondola. Turns out it wasn't built by a known "ski lift" manufacturer. Most of the system was built by The Cannon Construction Company, and the molded fibreglass gondola cabins were built by Fibron Company of SLC. (Sometimes Trivia is a long, slow process.)

Also, we found the PARLEY'S SUMMIT/GORGOZA ski area on the frontage road off I-80, about a mile east of Parley's Summit. The slopes, chairlifts, and base lodge are still visible. Also found the historic "Ecker Hill" jumping hill from the 30's and 40's. We had thought it was where the Olympic jumping hill was built but Ecker was farther west. The "Utah Winter Sports Park" complex is easily visible from Kimball Junction (where the Park City road, Hiway 224, leaves I-80) and is reached by a road two miles south. The access road passes by several new and expensive houses. Unfortunately the park itself was closed, due to construction. They already have several jumping hills (served by a chairlift), but have to build a 120 meter jumping hill and a bobsled track. So probably the park will only be open in the winter. Too bad; we wanted to visit the Alf Engen Ski Museum.

While in Park City we learned how the "GORGOZA" ski area got its name. An amusing story which will wait for "Lost Utah". We will share the SNOW PARK story this time. This ski area operated from 1947 to 1968. At its peak it had 2 chairlifts, and 600 feet of vertical. We hadn't previously known where it was located. It had always been described as "2 miles east of Park City". We thought that meant northeast, but it actually meant southeast. In fact it was located at the current main base location for DEER VALLEY.

The SNOW PARK ski area was built by two gentlemen named Bob BURNS and Otto CARPENTER. DEER VALLEY has paid homage to the old area by naming their base lodge the "Snow Park" lodge, and naming two of the chairlifts at that location BURNS and CARPENTER. We love it when trivia comes together! BTW, that base lodge is being doubled in size. And there were signs in town telling one and all to come to a meeting to protest the planned DEER VALLEY expansion of several lifts, condos, houses, and hotels in the new "Empire Canyon" terrain. Can't wait!

October Trivia Trip Number Two was to New Hampshire. We'll save the description of that successful venture till next issue. (Ralph, we've got you covered.)


7. FROM THE MAILBAG

a. Sneaky MATT (TX) says we still didn't answer the question about what constitutes a "ski area" for the AREAS SKIED list. Well, we will have to go back to our original definition which we published back in Sep, 1992. DEFINITION OF A SKI AREA: "Contains a mechanical lift used for the uphill transportation of downhill skiers at a relatively fixed geographic location. Open to the public. A fee is charged." So, Matt, all that backcountry stuff may be loads of fun but it just doesn't qualify, ski area wise. Sorry. (The Trivia Gods have spoke.)

b. STUART (Encinitas, CA) - Says he remembers riding a GONDOLA up to MT BALDY (CA) in the early 60's. That seems unlikely. We personally took a date up in 1958 and rode a chair (from parking lot to main base lodge). Our late 50's and mid 60's brochures show a chair. Are you certain of the date?

c. JASON (Rotorua, New Zealand) - Sent a nice note with some good suggestions for future trivia questions.

d. JIM (Austin) - Had an opportunity to buy a piece of Oregon property suitable for skiing. He wants to know: Has anyone out there built their own ski area?

e. SAN DIEGO - The New Hollywood - CARL reported that the "Renegade" TV show IS mostly filmed in San Diego. Several folks pointed out that "Silk Stalkings" is filmed in SD. We have not seen SS. The critics say it is very sexy; is that why you guys watch it?


8. POTPOURRI

a. On a recent plane trip we were chatting with a librarian from a COS middle school. When we told her about our "lost ski area" hobby she produced a magazine article wherein the author defined the term "inert data". Inert data is data that is real but has absolutely no beneficial use. We think she was being unnecessarily cruel! And when we mentioned that we probably had 3-400 regular readers she said why? Who could these people possibly be? Vicious person!

b. TOM caught us in another use of imprecise terminology. We said that only the SUGARBUSH and SUGAR BOWL gondolas "could be older" than the gondola at WILDCAT. Yes we know the one at Sugarbush is gone. We should have said: "could have been built before...". Other sources indicate that the gondola at WILDCAT (1958) was the first ski area gondola in the U.S.

c. MOOSE MEET - The November issue of SKI magazine had a nice article about SKIVT-L and its founder, "computer wizard" WESLEY ALAN WRIGHT. Congrats, Wesley. We also recognized the names PattyMac and Matt Schwartz, as TCS contributors.

d. LOCAL BOY DOES GOOD - CHESTER BULLOCK (from Bailey, CO!) received prominent mention in the Denver Post "Empire" section of 11- 19-95. Chester does the COPPER MOUNTAIN home page as well as "Chester's Somewhat Daily Reports from Summit County - My honest opinion." Keep up the good work, Chester.

e. TRAVEL CORNER - This is mostly a history and trivia newsletter and we don't do much "current events". However, from time to time we may report on stuff that maybe we know and you don't.

I-70, gateway to CO Ski Country, was closed 35 times last season. This summer, ski area representatives and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) got together to seek solutions to the closure problem. They determined that the two principal factors were lack of personnel for snowplowing and to enforce the "chain law". This year, CDOT has raised the snowplower salaries, converted some jobs from part-time to temporary so as to allow benefits packages, and found some housing in Silverthorne, to cut living costs. They are now fully staffed for the tunnel approaches and Vail Pass. The chain law will be enforced, particularly for trucks. Good news.

We have seen the difference, already. Last Oct, some friends of ours drove over Vail Pass during a snowstorm. It took them 2 hours to go 10 miles and there were stuck trucks everywhere. This October we drove over Vail Pass in a snowstorm (remember the Broncos playing KC in the snow?). This time the trucks were all parked in Vail putting on chains. The only trucks we saw on the pass had chains on. A big improvement. (Now if we could only get rid of the Camaros and Mustangs!)

We call the "road conditions report" almost as often as the ski area report, so as to track storms. We have already heard several reports of "no trucks" or "semis - chains only". It's working. (BTW, if you don't understand the "chain law", ask us.)


9. ROAD TO NOWHERE - PART II

FOLLOW-UP - Last time we said that the worst "merge" case is turning right at a stop sign onto a busy highway, requiring an acceleration to 45 mph in 3 seconds. New reader STUART - reminds us of a tougher case. The very first freeway in the nation was the "Arroyo Seco Parkway" in the L.A. area. It connects downtown L.A. with Pasadena and is now called the "Pasadena Freeway" [or Pasadena(S) freeway by the people of South Pasadena!]. Since this was the first roadway of its type, the freeway designers had a lot to learn. The roadway follows the natural contours of the arroyo with lots of tight curves. The on-ramps are short, sometimes only 100 ft long, with NO acceleration lanes. Consequently, for "safety", some of the ramps have STOP SIGNS. Can you dig it? To enter the freeway you have to accelerate from zero to 55 or 60 mph in the time it takes to merge between two vehicles. HORRIBLE! You win, Stuart!

When we left off we hinted that the solution to the "cloverleaf" left turn is the "flyover lane". Suppose, once again, you are traveling north and wish to turn "left" to the west. You depart the main northbound roadway with the right turn (east bound) lane but continue north and then curve to the west, up and over the N-S lanes and merge with the west bound lanes from the right. The "flyover lane" stays left (Southwest) of the "cross" so that the south to east bound flyover can pass to the northeast without the two turn lanes having to cross. However, the other pair of left turn lanes (to the south and to the north) require two more flyover lanes, which must cross over (or under) the first pair described. The end result is a four level highway structure which, due to all the bridges required, costs a lot more than a (two level) cloverleaf. However, vehicles no longer have to cross each others paths.

The first four level interchange was the "Stack", in downtown L.A. where the Hollywood, Pasadena, Santa Ana, and Harbor freeways meet. That structure (which was once a tourist attraction) still stands, unmodified. It must work. Another example is the "Mousetrap" in Denver, where I-25 and I-70 meet. That intersection was once a cloverleaf but has been converted to flyover lanes. Note that the turn lanes do not have to be the highest levels of the structure. In fact, in locations with ice and snow, the turn lanes are usually the lowest, to prevent sharp turning ascents and descents.

We don't want to occupy too much space with this mostly non-skiing stuff so will continue with "jug handles" and the "traffic circle" next time. SNEAKY TRIVIA: Which "Beatles" song contains a reference to a traffic circle? (Hint, the song also discusses a spiffy fire engine.)


10. EPILOG

a. Please provide your city name (and your own name) when FIRST writing to TCS. We like to "statisticize" (but only in private).

b. If you would like to receive your own personal E-mail copy of TCS newsletters, ask MARK (mwallace@nyx.net) to subscribe you.

c. Past TCS Newsletters are available on the WWW. The URL is:

  • http://www.nyx.net/~mwallace/TCS.html

d. Due Next: "LOST SKI AREAS - 20" (late December or early January)

Cheers from The Colorado Skier (Member I.S.H.A., ACE, NBC, PDQ)

"Why does Hawaii have `Interstate' Highways?"


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