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Lost Areas #20 - Published 12 January 1996

Greetings from THE COLORADO SKIER

Researching "lost" ski areas is the hobby of THE COLORADO SKIER. We have reported our findings on COLORADO, the SOUTHEAST, NEW HAMPSHIRE, and are now doing NEW MEXICO. Is your state next?

For more info on skiing and ski areas, check out our separately posted companion articles entitled: "THE COLORADO SKIER - TRIVIA", "THE COLORADO SKIER - SKI NEWS", and "THE TCS LISTS".

LOST "COLORADO" SKI AREAS - EDITION #20

EDITOR'S REMARKS:

A. HAPPY NEW YEAR! We hope that you folks had a good Holiday season. We certainly did. We are looking forward to a great new year of Ski Area Trivia with an emphasis on Lost Ski Areas.

B. In this issue we will continue with Lost NEW MEXICO plus some trivia question cleanup. And not to worry, we are working diligently on Lost VERMONT and it will start up in the next Trivia issue.

C. Thanks for all the help last year. It made our job easy and fun. We have a sort of symbiotic relationship. We need your trivia answers, new trivia questions, comments on lost ski areas, and general ski area info, and you need us to come up with new trivia questions, provide the lost ski area info, and post the newsletters. It's fun for us; hope that it's fun for you, too.

Also thanks for all the trail maps. We had intended to write to you all personally, but have fallen behind. That's our New Year's Resolution, to catch up on the mail (and the statistics).

D. Some of the data in this post was obtained from "THE WHITE BOOK OF SKI AREAS", which is copyrighted by Inter-Ski Services, Inc.


1. THE LOST SKI AREAS OF NEW MEXICO

Here is the info on the 12 New Mexico ski areas we listed last time. {Copyright 1996, THE COLORADO SKIER. all rights reserved.}

AQUA PIEDRO (Tres Ritos), [name change], Former name for SIPAPU (still open) until 1964. KELLY (NM) questioned the spelling. He's right. Further research (with a magnifying glass) revealed AGUA PIEDRA. Thx, Kelly.

ARRIBA (Chama), [planned], There was planning for an area by this name circa 1990-92. The area was to be located on "Brazos Peak" (Elev 11,400 ft), about 10 miles southeast of Chama. Some runs have been cut, but status is uncertain. Previous attempts at building a ski area here used the name RIO BRAZOS (1979) and SKI ENSENADA (Penasco Ski Corp. - 1990). Note that the area would be located in Rio ARRIBA county - hence the name.

CEDAR CREEK (Ruidoso), [name change], Located 7 miles northwest of downtown Ruidoso on the road to SKI APACHE. Operated in the 60's and 70's. Changed name to RUIDOSO in the late 70's, and to EAGLE CREEK in 1980. CHAMA (Chama), [obscure], This "ski" area shows up on Gousha highway maps in the late 60's, early 70's. Guide books indicate that it was a snowmobile area.

SKI CLOUD COUNTRY (Cloudcroft), [name change], Sometime name for CLOUDCROFT (which see), circa mid-70's. Lifts: T-bar, 2 Ropes CLOUDCROFT (Cloudcroft), [name change], Changed name to SNOW CANYON (still open) in 1993. Vertical Drop: 500 ft Top: 9100 Base: 8600 Lifts: 2 T-bars, 2 rope tows Snowmaking 80%

EAGLE CREEK (Ruidoso), [closed], Final name for CEDAR CREEK and RUIDOSO, circa 1980-83. Vertical Drop: 500 ft Top: 7900 Base: 7400 Lifts: 1 chairlift, 1 T-bar, 2 rope tows

EVERGREEN VALLEY (Santa Fe), [very obscure], Probably an alternate name for HYDE PARK (which see). The "Pecos Wilderness" map shows an "Evergreen Lodge" on Hyde Park Road. Base = 8400 ft.

HYDE PARK (Santa Fe), [obscure], Located northeast of Santa Fe, part way up the road to the current SANTA FE ski area. Built by the CCC in 1936. It is not clear whether there were lifts. Also called "Hyde Memorial State Park Ski Area". The ski area was moved to its current location in 1946. Base = 8500 ft.

LA MADERA (Albuquerque), [name change], Original name for

SANDIA PEAK (still open) until 1964. This ski area is one of the oldest in the West, being open at least as far back as 1940. T- bars were installed in 1946 by the Albuquerque Ski Club.

LOS ALAMOS-1 (Los Alamos), [name change], Early name for PAJARITO (still open) circa 1965.   Elev = 9200 ft.    

LOS ALAMOS-2   (Los Alamos),  [very obscure],  Built by the CCC in    1936  "west of the Los Alamos Boys School at 9300 feet".  Could be    the same as Los Alamos/Pajarito.    

MOUNT TAYLOR (Grants), [planned], Would be located 10 miles northeast of Grants on Hiway 153 on the north side of Mt. Taylor (Elev 11,301 ft). Planning news, circa 1990-92. Studies have been completed. Looking for an investor since 1986.


1B. WHO REMEMBERS THESE LOST NEW MEXICO SKI AREAS?

       Powder Puff               Raton Pass        Raton Ski Basin
           Rio Costilla        Ruidoso                   Sierra Blanca
        Singing River Ranch       Sugarite        Tree Spring  
             Val Verde        Woodlands Ski Basin  

1C. (For Carl)

PALOMAR MOUNTAIN (Escondido), [closed], Located on CA 76. Operated about 1961-70. Vertical Drop: 600 ft Lifts: 2 T-bars, 2 rope tows [Note: Feel free to ask about any lost ski area anywhere at any time. It keeps us on our toes.]


2. SKI NEWS

2A. WHAT'S NEW FOR 95 - FOLLOW-UP

a. BRIDGER BOWL, MT - JEFF (MT) reports that the new quad does appear on the BRIDGER trail map.

b. BIG SKY, MT - Actually has four new lifts. We previously reported on the tram to the top of "Lone Mountain" and the new "Shedhorn" double chair with many new runs. We questioned the installation of a "new" double. Actually this is probably the old "Mad Wolf" double which had been in storage since it was replaced by the "Thunder Wolf" quad. There is also a new triple ("Pony Express") serving beginner terrain on the upper right (NW) part of the mountain and a new beginner surface lift at the main base.

We questioned the meager lift capacity (150 per hour) for the new tram. JACK (Big Sky), says - do the math: 4 minute ride, 2 minutes to load/unload gives 6 mins/trip, ergo 10 trips per hour x 15 passengers equals 150 per hour. Obviously this lift was built to please PR folks, not skiers.

c. MT. CRANMORE, NH - Whoops! Obviously Cranmore "cleverly" named their new HS Quad "SKIMOBILE EXPRESS", not "SNOWmobile Express" as we "not so cleverly" reported.

d. BLACK MOUNTAIN is in New Hampshire, not Vermont. That is one of the many times we have confused the two states. An easy mistake. In his travel book, Dave Barry says something clever about each state (e.g., Colorado is known for its excellent orthopedic hospitals at the bottom of each ski slope!). For Vermont, he just says "See New Hampshire". About right.

e. HELP! - Please report status: We are guessing that BLACK MTN, NH did NOT open and that BURKE MTN and BOLTON VALLEY, VT DID open.???

f. COLORADO MARGINALS - CUCHARA (VALLEY), which was dormant last season, opened on 21 Dec and newly purchased POWDERHORN finally opened on 4 Jan. The latter missed the Holiday season for the first time since 1976.

g. SUGARBUSH - We wondered what would happen to the Slide Brook connector chair when the Slide Brook terrain eventually was developed for skiing. Several loyal readers wrote to point out that, by agreement between the ski area and the state, the terrain will never be developed. Oh. (It is now an official "Save the Skeet" area.)

h. SOLITUDE, UT - Now allows snowboarding seven days a week.

i. RED MOUNTAIN, BC - Has a new triple running to the summit.

j. MAD RIVER GLEN - Was finally sold to a skiers cooperative.

2B. SKI NEWS - OTHER

It was a very bad early snow season for the West. Here are some anecdotes.

a. TIPPER GORE and her main squeeze planned to spend Thanksgiving skiing at Aspen. They spent Thanksgiving Day wandering around ASPEN MTN on a snowmobile looking for snow. On Friday they skied VAIL.

b. ASPEN moved one of their special ski classes to Vail - for the snow.

c. PARK CITY - Held World Cup ski races on Thanksgiving weekend. The ski area was NOT open for public skiing. Finally on Tuesday (28 Nov) they opened THE two race trails to the public, for experts only.

d. MAMMOTH - Their ski phone had one of the saddest snow phone recordings we have ever heard. On 26 Nov (they had opened on 10 Nov) the woman reporter gushed that Mammoth had last evening received the First natural snowfall of the season - a trace.

e. TIMBERLINE and MT BACHELOR each reported a 1 to 2 inch base into late November. They both finally opened on 2 Dec.

f. COLORADO SPRINGS - where we live, had zero precip from 4 Oct to 31 December (setting a record for days w/o precip). On 1 Jan it snowed about an inch. On 2 Jan we went looking for our snow shovel. It was in the back of the garage - behind the lawnmower! Our total snowfall to 31 Dec is .7 inches (point seven). For perspective, the normal average yearly snowfall in COS is 42 inches - same as Boston.


3. TRIVIA QUESTIONS FOLLOW UP

a. SNEAKY TRIVIA: What is a "coney"? Four of you knew that a coney is a "rabbit". One person guessed "ground hog". ERIC (NYC) guessed a "fish": "a dusky black-spotted reddish-finned grouper". Eric learned that at the NY Aquarium which is, of course, right next to the famous CYCLONE roller coaster. [Note: The aquarium wants to tear down the Cyclone to expand their parking. Make sure that doesn't happen!]

A few of you remembered the old "Steeplechase" park. JUDITH remembered the Steeplechase ride itself (way before our time). BTW there is a "Steeplechase-like" ride at Knott's Berry Farm (CA). It has a soap box derby car theme. Multiple cars racing at the same time on a small roller coaster track. Knott's also has a "parachute drop" which STEVE remembered from Coney Island.

STEVE (MA) remembered the weird ride which dumped riders on spinning disks. We saw that on a PBS special (great show) about the various Coney Island parks. Some of you disagreed with our contention that there are roller coasters which survive in the Steeplechase area. According to our records: JUMBO JET metal coaster, 60 ft high, built in 1972, still operating. THUNDERBOLT wooden coaster, 86 feet high, built 1925, ceased operations in mid-80's (SBNO). Both are located in the "Steeplechase" area between 14th and 16th. (Cyclone is at 10th.)

JOSHUA (NH) remembers a "Coney Island" amusement park in Cincinnati. We believe that this is the park that used to flood every spring at high water. We think it was usurped in some manner by "King's Island", which has a "Coney Island" section in its honor.

b. (Recap) PUZZLE #2. - "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?" Well, 14 of you correctly guessed "Close Encounters" but we pointed out that ANOTHER movie fits the same description and then 7 more of you correctly guessed "Oh God". One reader claims he didn't see the original question and he guessed "Oh God" first. OK.

Another reader suggested "Mr. Mom". Teri Garr played the wife and husband Michael Keaton was "obsessed" with daytime TV. My, aren't we reaching. Well, we don't really consider daytime TV a "very unusual phenomenon". And, if you start guessing every movie where Teri Garr plays the wife ...... SNEAKY TRIVIA: What TV show first brought Ms GARR to public attention? Hint: The show starred an actor who now lives in Colorado in a house made of old tires (eh, Chester?).

BTW, J.C. (FL) "cheated" and used his computer to figure out the 2nd answer. Using an Internet movie data base he determined that the only other movie Teri Garr made in 1977 was Oh God. He then looked up the movie synopsis and made the connection. Very clever (but sneaky).

c. SNEAKY TRIVIA: Which "Beatles" song contains a reference to a traffic circle. Answer: PENNY LANE. According to a loyal reader the lyrics are: "Behind the shelter in the middle of the ROUNDABOUT, a pretty nurse is selling poppies from a tray". The "spiffy fire engine" refers to a line which goes: "he keeps his fire engine clean, he likes a clean machine ...." Six of you knew the answer. BTW, Penny Lane is a real street in Liverpool and you can visit it on a "Beatles" bus tour. MARCUS asked if the trivia question was timed to the "Beatles Anthology" TV show. Yes.


4. BUILDER'S EMPORIUM

a. AERIAL TRAMWAY - at MAD RIVER GLEN. We mentioned reading about such a device which ran to Godfrey Rockefeller's house in the mid 60's. MICHAEL (UT) skied there a lot in the late 60's to early 70's. He remembers the tramway. It ran from a point between the single chair and the bottom of "Antelope", up the hill to the left. He estimated 150-200 ft vertical and 500-750 ft length. He vaguely remembers an open car for cargo and/or people.

b. MT. SUNAPEE - shows a "gondola" in Summer guide books. We were surprised that no one had ridden it. One loyal reader remembers gondola cars stacked on the ground next to the summit chair, during the winter. He assumes they add them in the summer. Hmmm. Of course there are lifts that run both gondolas and chairs, such as at WINTER PARK, BIG MOUNTAIN, and TELLURIDE. However these are all detachable lifts. The lifts at SUNAPEE are fixed grip (FG).

Nevertheless, it would be possible to remove several (or all) chairs and replace them with FG gondola cars for summer use. Many ski areas remove their FG chairs each summer (probably to reduce stress on particular points on the cable). The gondola at "Monarch Crest" on Monarch Pass, CO uses FG gondola cars (running very slowly) and removes them during the winter. So, it is possible. Anyone have more to add? BTW, the original lift to the summit was a double chair. When the double was replaced with a triple in 1987, the ads for a summer gondola ceased.

c. APM = Automatic People Mover is the transport device running between the Main Base and Chair #2 at MAMMOTH MTN, CA. Not sure we ever mentioned that it "uses a whole bunch of tiny motors instead of one big one to drive it." (quote from CARL, CA) BTW, on our trail map, the main road curves between these two locations. Does the APM also curve, or does it go thru the trees?

d. SNOWBIRD QUADS? - We tweaked Snowbird for having only (8) double chairs. One reader said an instructor told him that there wasn't room on the mountain for quad unloading areas. Oh sure! Over 200 U.S. ski areas have quad chairs and Snowbird is the ONLY one that can't fit one in? Hogwash! Make room! Move the unloading areas. Cut down some trees. Dynamite some rocks. Be creative!

e. UP, UP, AND AWAY - Part Deux - EDWARD asked if the OUTPOST gondola at KEYSTONE has the smallest vertical rise of any (ski area) gondola. Most assuredly. The top of Keystone Mtn is 11,640 ft; the top of North Peak is 11,660 ft. However the gondola only goes to the Outpost Lodge at 11,444 ft. So the total vertical rise is minus 216 ft. SNEAKY TRIVIA (For Colorado readers only): At what altitude is "timberline" in Colorado?


5. SPECIAL PROJECTS

a. INERT DATA - We mentioned that a middle school librarian, when apprised of our TCS newsletter, suggested that "lost ski area data" was "inert data" which is real data with no beneficial use. She also puzzled over why we have so many readers. Many of you came to our defense and viciously savaged the librarian. BTW, she was very nice and is a friend of a friend. However, she did say those things.

BEN (WA), our official rocket scientist, had the best response (implying that the TCS newsletters are at least informative, if not educational): "Any data is, by definition, useful for something.... I read TCS posts not because I expect to derive some direct benefit, but because I have far less knowledge of the type of trivia that you guys are into. If I did know all the answers to the trivia questions, then what would be the point? It would be like having an argument with someone who agrees with your point of view."

Thanks, Ben. You made us feel better about the trivia questions. Most folks answer only 2 or 3 of the 7 or 8 provided. Some folks say they never answer them because they are too hard. We thought about making them easier, but now we realize that it isn't really about a trivia contest; rather it is about us conveying ski area trivia to you in a manner which attracts your attention and interest. Good enuff.

b. 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."

[BTW, the last two phrases are not meant to exclude Private ski areas. The fee may be monthly and you may have to be a guest, but these ski areas count, just like private golf courses count in a golf course list. We were only trying to exclude "backyard" lifts built for grandchildren and neighbors which wouldn't show up in literature.]

JOSHUA (NH) says that any definition which excludes "Tuckerman Ravine" can't be right. Well, Tuckerman is our only official exception to the definition. Tuckerman, altho it has no lifts, is listed in guide books, has a phone number, and has a ski patrol of sorts. [BTW, who comes around in the Spring and decides that the ravine is safe for skiing? Is that the Forest Service, or some sort of volunteer ski patrol?]

RICHARD (MD) says that the ski area definition doesn't help determine when two ski mountains should be considered one ski area or two. True, but we have other criteria which are applied (subjectively) in specific instances. The criteria include: One mountain?, same name?, same ownership?, joint marketing?, joint lift ticket?, physically connected? ski from one to the other without: removing skis, riding a lift, riding a bus?, etc.

Using these criteria: VAIL and BEAVER CREEK, BRIGHTON and SOLITUDE, and A-BASIN and KEYSTONE are separate areas. MT SNOW and CARINTHIA are one area. MT SNOW and HAYSTACK are separate areas.

WHISTLER and BLACKCOMB are a tough case. They are separately named, separately owned, and have separate lift tickets (a joint ticket costs extra). They are jointly marketed. The areas are on separate mountains and there are no connecting runs. It is, however, possible to ski to the other area base in both directions - without removing skis. However, in both cases the lift reached is a gondola so skis have to be removed anyway. We consider them two separate areas.

Until this year, SUGARBUSH and SUGARBUSH NORTH were a tougher case. Jointly owned, named, and one ticket but it was not possible to ski between them without riding a bus. We considered them two areas. With the new connector chair, however, they are now one area.


6. POTPOURRI

a. HOLIDAY MOVIE TRIVIA (these should be fresh in your minds) - One scene in "It's a Wonderful Life" features a HS gym floor which opens to reveal a swimming pool. The scene was filmed at WHICH REAL HIGH SCHOOL? "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation". For a change, the Griswolds stayed home (Chicago). So the scenes were filmed in a sound stage and on a back lot. They did, however, take a ride in the mountains (in Illinois?), cut down a Christmas tree, and go sledding. These scenes were filmed near a famous mountain ski TOWN. WHICH ONE? The two Griswold teenagers were played by different actors in the three "Vacation" movies. The then unknown actors in "Christmas" have become successful. The male is a regular on a very successful TV sitcom. The female has played in several big movies and has received an Oscar nomination. WHO are these two actors?

b. WILLY IS FREE! - Keiko, the whale who played Willy in the first "Free Willy" movie, is being moved from the small tank in Mexico City to a big tank in Newport, OR. So how do you ship a whale from Mexico to Oregon? Why, by UPS of course. (It's true!)

c. "TIMING IS EVERYTHING" and "LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION" are two expressions applied to successful (or unsuccessful) enterprises. In the last issue we explained that after a disastrous 94/95 season when I-70 was closed 35 times, the ski areas, ski towns, and CDOT are trying hard to keep I-70 open this season. So, we went to press just after two of you were trapped on I-70 on Thanksgiving Sunday and Chester reported that I-70 had been closed 5 times already by late Nov. Bad timing! We mentioned that trucks now have to chain up. ILANA (CO) says the problem is not just trucks, but rear wheel drive cars, cars w/o snow tires, cars with bald tires, and flatlanders who can't drive in the snow. We agree.

As to LOCATION. When we talked about how easy it was to get over Vail Pass on a previous snowy night, we neglected to mention that the road leading to the Eisenhower tunnel was closed. Well, we just happen to live in Colorado Springs, not Denver. So, we just got off the Interstate at Frisco, drove Highway 9 south to Breckenridge, then over Hoosier Pass to connect up with US 24 back to COS. No problem! Of course Hoosier Pass is a steep, curvy, high mountain pass (11,500 ft) but it is our normal path to the ski areas so we are used to it and there is no traffic. So, "location" was part of OUR success story. BTW, you Denver drivers could have gone our route to COS and then back to Denver on I-25, or cut back on US 285 from Fairplay to Denver. Both routes are longer, but sometimes quicker.

d. TRAVEL CORNER - With all the news about the new airport in Denver called DIA, you might not know that Colorado Springs also has a new airport. It has been very successful. While boardings at DIA were down 6% (95 vs 94), boardings at COS were up 50%. This is mainly due to a new airline called Western Pacific which offers very cheap fares. They also have sold advertising on their airplanes. So far they have planes painted to represent: The Simpsons, Broadmoor Hotel, Colorado Technical College, City of Colorado Springs (very pretty), the Stardust Hotel (Las Vegas), and Thrifty Car Rental.

How can this help you? We are not sure - see you travel agent. We do not, in general, recommend flying to COS and driving a rental car. COS is farther from the ski areas then Denver and there are mostly two lane roads. However, if you are booking your own flights (vs a package) you may find that you can save several hundred dollars by flying "WestPac". If so, fly to COS, rent a car and drive back up I- 25 to I-70 in Denver. It will cost you one hour in each direction and save big bucks. Or check to see if there are any connecting flights thru COS to mountain airports like Aspen and Eagle. There is talk of some but we have no details. We think that the best deal is to bypass DIA and COS and just fly directly (on big airlines and big airplanes) to Eagle, or Gunnison, or Grand Junction.

We mentioned the "Chain Law". This is a catchall phrase for the law which can require chains OR snow tires during inclement weather. Usually it is chains for trucks and snow tires for passenger cars. 4WD vehicles get a break. JIM (MD) asked if he would be OK (without chains) in an Explorer with snow tires and 4WD. Yes. Even when 2WD cars are required to have chains, 4WDs with snow tires aren't. If they (police) require chains on 4WDs then you probably wouldn't want to be driving anyway!


7. THE OCTOBER TRIVIA TOUR - PART II (NEW HAMPSHIRE)

My Sister and I investigated four lost ski areas in October:

THE ELMS - For this one we didn't even have to leave the airport. On the access road to Manchester (NH) airport there is a hotel called The Highlander Inn (out near the long term parking). Behind the hotel is their conference center, called "The Elms", occupying buildings which were formerly "The Elms" hotel. The latter hotel had a small ski area many years ago. Loyal reader RALPH (NH) actually skied there in the mid-50's. He remembers it as one rope tow and 80-100 ft of vertical. Nothing remains. We have found only one reference in the literature: "Other NH rope tow areas" (1977): The Elms". [Now, how about finding the "AMHERST-BEDFORD" ski area, Ralph?]

METHUEN SKI AREA (also called MERRIMAC VALLEY, and METHUEN HILL by the locals). This area, in Methuen, MA operated up to about 1980. It had a vertical drop of 200 ft, 2 T-bars and one rope tow. It is located on Hampshire street off Pelham St. which goes west from I-93.

Here, we discovered the difference between New England and Rocky Mountain lost ski areas. In CO, ski areas closed for 40 years are clearly visible because nothing grows in the dryness and high altitude. OTOH, METHUEN has only been closed for 15 years and it is already disappearing. The base lodge has been removed and the parking lot is totally overgrown. We walked up to a T-bar thru shoulder height weeds. As we sighted up the lift line the cable disappeared into 20 foot trees! The trails are still visible but they will probably be gone in a few more years.

MCINTYRE - This area isn't lost, just obscure. It is located in Manchester, NH a mile or so northwest of Exit 8 off I-93. It is a city park operated by the city of Manchester. It has 169 ft of vertical and 2 double chairs. Runs are well groomed. Night lighted. It looks like a great place to learn to ski.

WOODY GLEN - This area was the most fun of all. We saw a sign outside of Salisbury, NH saying "first right after blinker". We turned right, drove a mile and hit a T intersection (no sign). We gambled and turned right. The terrain turned more woody and hilly. After another mile there was a "fork in the road" (with nary a Slauson cutoff in sight!). We were perplexed until someone noticed a tiny sign on a tree with the words "ski area" and an arrow pointing left. Another half mile and there it was.

Upside down area with parking (for 10 cars) at the top. This area was obviously still open. Thru a window in the ticket window building we saw skis, a rescue sled, and first aid kits. There were two snowgroomer vehicles parked under a nearby barn. The ski trails were neatly mowed. The views were nice, of trees and hills and a nearby town, probably Franklin. The lift was a T-bar, and obviously old. The support towers were the old "croquet wicket" type. We couldn't see the bottom but the vertical was at least 200 feet.

Since the area isn't advertised we thought it might belong to a church group (there was a huge sign on the barn saying "you can do it!") or it might be a halfway house for wayward teenagers. However, that would not explain the highway sign or the lift ticket window. FLASH! Trivia is everywhere! A letter to the editor of a ski magazine noted that the WOODY GLEN ski area was opened in 1965, has one T-bar and 235 ft of vertical, and only 500 skiers annually.

Note: We have never read about Woody Glen in any ski reference or seen it on any highway map. Has anyone besides Tom Moore ever heard of it? Tom said he found it on the way to his ski cabin. Same for us. Our cabin is in Danbury, NH. Where is yours, Tom?

NOTE: The purpose of our trip to NH was to help our Sister move our Father from a condo to an apartment in a retirement complex. One of our personal tasks was to go thru many boxes of financial papers and memorabilia and decide what could be thrown away. We discovered that Dear Old Dad saved every greeting card he ever received! Also all the maps and guide books from trips. And bills from every household transaction (e.g., the bill for landscaping a house he bought in 1947 and sold 20 years ago!). Actually it was fun. We even found four ski area brochures and he didn't even ski.

Now at this point you guys are probably thinking: "Like parent, like child". Eh, Eh? Well, we have to disagree. Oh sure, WE have saved every trail map, highway map, and guide book we ever touched. And we have paycheck stubs for every job we ever had. And we have records of every gallon of gas we've every bought (including for some rental cars). But, mark this and mark it well: We do NOT save greeting cards! So, we don't see the similarity at all. ;-)


8. THE HOLIDAY TOUR - Wherein we visited Las Vegas, Disneyland, and The Copper Bowl in Tucson and encountered the new higher speed limits. In Vegas we rode the "tram" between the Mirage and Treasure Island hotels. One loyal reader reported that the tram was bought from Disney World and was built by Bombardier. We must be talking about two different systems. The reader said he learned this info from the train driver. On two rides, we saw no driver. This device operates like an elevator. It is a cable car (or funicular RR). It doesn't fit the profile of the trains at Disney World, which are monorails.

As we entered Nevada from Utah we were startled to see 75 mph speed limit signs. The traffic handled it well. On the west side of Vegas the limit was 70 mph. We figured that was to match a limit of 70 in CA, but there it was still 65! Curious. Of course a posted speed limit between Vegas and Barstow is academic. Everyone drives 80. In the L.A. basin the speed limits have risen to 65. Academic there, too as on L.A. freeways the limit is dictated by traffic volume. No traffic - 75, moderate traffic - 50, heavy traffic - 25. It works.

The speed limit on Interstates in AZ is also 75. In NM, UT, and CO, the legislatures haven't made up their minds yet. At Disneyland we noted that the "People Mover" no longer operates. A "cast member" indicated that it is being removed and there are no current plans to replace it or the "skyway" previously removed. Too bad; we found both rides quite relaxing and scenic.


9. FROM THE MAILBAG

We hate to disagree with you kind folks when you take the time to write to us, but here are two letters we had trouble with:

a. STUART (CA) mentioned riding the "GONDOLA" at MT BALDY, CA in the early 60's. We said no way. Now Stuart admits that it must have been somewhere else. But he still has this photo of himself (circa 63, 64) and his grandparents (wearing a sailor suit, Stuart?) having lunch on a day when he was sure they rode a gondola. How about the PALM SPRINGS TRAM? It opened in 1963 and is reasonably close to San Berdoo. There are pine trees and snow at the top.

b. EDWARD says that the two KEYSTONE gondolas are connected by a tunnel. Sure. Each gondola car is removed from the cable, somehow dropped down in a pit to the tunnel, placed on another cable thru the tunnel, and then somehow raised back up to the second cable and re- attached. Why do I have trouble believing that? :-)

c. GIANT ANIMALS? After we mentioned Lucy, the Margate elephant, loyal reader STEVE (MA) mentioned a giant DUCK on Long Island. We have read of that but haven't seen it. We have seen a "dinosaur" building in Cabazon, CA on the road to Palm Springs, near the "Mercedes Farm". SNEAKY PUZZLE: What is a Mercedes Farm?

d. STEVE also wondered if the "Flying Horses of Martha's Vineyard" is the oldest (operating) carousel in the country. Yes it is (and thanks for asking). It was built in 1884. It has stationary animals. Steve remembers that it has a "brass ring" on the inside AND outside. Another really old carousel is located at Watch Hill, RI. FWIW the largest carousel in the U.S. is located at "Six Flags over Georgia" (PTC #17, 1908). It has five rows of horses and was formerly located at Riverview Park in Chicago.

e. TOM (MA) explained in some detail about how his snazzy new mail reader tried to read the last TCS newsletter, couldn't handle the size, caused a GPF, and crashed. Are you trying to hint that our newsletters are too bleeping long, Tom?


10. THE ROAD LEAST TRAVELLED

a. With all of our negative remarks about "cloverleafs", we should say that they DO work in rural areas. If two Interstates crossed in Iowa (does Iowa really need two Interstates?) a cloverleaf would work fine because there is very little turning traffic. They just don't work in big cities at rush hour.

b. We said that the Pasadena Freeway was horrible for ENTERING because it has (some) short on-ramps with stop signs at the end and no acceleration lanes. NICK (CA) says EXITING is equally difficult. Suppose you are driving at 65 mph with a Lexus on your tail when you come to your exit - a 100 foot ramp with a stop sign at the end. 60 to 0 in 100 feet! Nick mentions the Avenue 51 exit. Wouldn't that be avenue 52 or 57?

c. We said that the PASADENA (Arroyo Seco) was the first "freeway" in the country. STEVE says how about the Merritt Parkway or the Pennsylvania Turnpike? Oh goody, more research and an excuse to go to the library! We were probably overcome with the propaganda put out in L.A. First freeway, First 4 level interchange, and Longest perfectly straight street in the world (Western Ave from Hollywood to Torrance - 20 miles). Research reveals that the Pasadena Freeway and the Pennsylvania Turnpike were both opened in 1940. However the Merritt Parkway opened in 1938. All of them were considered "parkways" so since two were toll and one free, Pasadena may be the first "FREEway".

[Note: If you have been paying attention you may have noticed that STEVE (MA) has as many comments as TOM (MA) usually does. (insert sarcastic remark about the Mass work ethic here) :-) ]

d. THE TRAFFIC CIRCLE - Get out the sheet of paper you saved from the cloverleaf exercise. Turn it over. In black, draw two concentric circles 3 inches and 5 inches in diameter. At the north, east, west, and south points, place two marks, about an inch apart and extending one inch outward. Now you have a traffic circle, or rotary, or roundabout. Using a green pencil draw four lines representing the N- S, S-N, W-E, and E-W "straight thru" paths. Note that they cross each other. Now, using red pencil, draw the four left turn lines. Note that they cross each other AND the green lines (straight thru routes). Basically every vehicle has to cross the path of almost every other vehicle. Total chaos!

Once again, traffic circles work quite well in light traffic situations. In New England they are used when two state highways intersect. But watch out at rush hour. They also are used increasingly in suburban "neighborhoods" to slow down traffic, in lieu of stop signs or speed bumps. In New Hampshire we have seen "giant" circles (one mile in diameter). This design turns the "Crossing problem" into a more easily dealt with "merge/de-merge" situation. The downside is the cost of the land involved (in the circle) and the fact that the land can't even be accessed.

So what of Vail whose new "roundabout" started this whole discussion! We have driven it during off hours when it worked just fine. However, ski areas have rush hours just like cities. Comments from VAIL: Some Vail locals call it the "run-around". The Vail locals most happy with "DIA West" are the tow truck drivers.

Next time - "jug handles". [New Jersey and New England styles]


11. EPILOG

a. Please provide your CITY NAME (and YOUR name) in your first E- Mail to TCS. It's just for our records (and ego).

b. If you would like to be ADDED to the TCS (direct E-Mail) mailing list, notify MARK at: "mwallace@nyx.net"

c. Due next: "TCS TRIVIA - 20" (about 13 February)

Cheers from THE COLORADO SKIER (member, I.S.H.A, ACE, AAA)

"The intelligent man finds almost everything ridiculous, the sensible man hardly anything." Goethe


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