Special Edition #2 - Published 14 February 1996
Greetings from THE COLORADO SKIER
This is a special edition of THE COLORADO SKIER. For more info on skiing and ski areas, check out our separately posted companion articles entitled: "LOST `COLORADO' SKI AREAS", "THE COLORADO SKIER - TRIVIA", "THE COLORADO SKIER - SKI NEWS", and "THE TCS LISTS".
A. This is a "catch-up" edition of The Colorado Skier. In it we hope to respond to your many comments and questions and add a few trivia items we have heretofore not found room for. The next TCS edition will return to the standard format.
B. LEAD STORY - The "alleged" tunnel between gondolas at KEYSTONE.
1. BUILDER'S EMPORIUM
a1. Recently we received a request to be on the TCS E-mail list from KATHY at DOPPELMAYR, USA. At first we were excited. Gee, maybe a chance to get some bona fide info about ski lifts. Then we worried: (read in a deep, serious, stentorian voice) "We at Doppelmayr believe that we produce the finest ski lift systems in the world. We are very concerned about the image of our ski lift systems as presented to the public. We will be reading the TCS newsletters with great interest. Please be aware that our lawyers will also be reading your newsletters - and taking notes." Oh oh!
But then we went back and reread Kathy's note. (read in the voice of Ursula) "We were like surfing the Internet, you know, and fell onto your way cool stuff. Okay, we were wondering if like you could, you know, send us a copy. It would be bitchin'." Hmmm. That didn't sound so bad. Maybe this will work out OK. It did.
a2. THE KEYSTONE TUNNEL? A reader suggested that Keystone Gondola #1 (SKYWAY) which goes to the top of Keystone Mtn. and Gondola #2 (OUTPOST) which starts 50 yards away and continues to near the top of North Peak, are connected by an underground tunnel. We expressed disbelief. "What part don't you believe?" said another reader.
OK, we do recognize the need for a connection. There is a large restaurant at North Peak and it needs supplies. Other ski areas (e.g., WINTER PARK and BIG MOUNTAIN) use gondolas to service their large on-mountain restaurants. Connecting the gondolas above ground presents a skier clearance problem. So a tunnel might make sense. However, consider the size. Start with a 6 foot gondola, add 3 feet for hanger and grip, 2 feet for cable/drive clearance, and 1 foot clearance at the bottom and we are talking a minimum of a 12 foot high tunnel, all underground. Then there is the problem of detaching the cars, running them down a conveyor into the tunnel and bringing them up on a conveyor at the other end. That was our disbelief.
Well, guess what? There IS, not only a tunnel, but actually a giant building (like a garage) located underground between the two gondola terminals! The "garage" is big enough to store most of the gondola cars from both systems, maintain them, wash them, and even paint them. (Paint bays require ventilation - look for the air outlets.) And, forget our example of a needed 12 foot clearance. The bottom of the building is 30 feet underground and it is about 20 feet tall. Now, how do we know all this? Well, KATHY of DOPPELMAYR, USA was kind enough to send us copies of two articles describing the underground operation. (Thanks, Kathy - we were amazed!)
More: We knew that Gondola 1 was built by VON ROLL and Gondola 2 by DOPPELMAYR. What we didn't know is that the "hangers" and "grips" of the two systems are of a different design and even of different lengths. So transferring cars between systems is difficult at best. Apparently only the "cargo carts" (which bring trash on the return trip) make the thru trip. They are actually disconnected from the hanger on one system and reconnected to a hanger on the other system. That means that normal "people" cars never go all the way through (Is that true, Kathy?).
More more: The connector system/garage was designed by a consulting firm in Boulder. Doppelmayr built the gondola/cargo car handling systems. A giant ditch was excavated between the two terminals, the garage was built in the ditch and then was covered up with dirt and reseeded. The whole project took place in the Summer of 1991 and came in under budget and ahead of schedule. We are impressed. [Note: Thanks to loyal reader DUKE (Kansas) who also sent us a copy of the descriptive magazine article.]
b. THE MRG TRAM - JONATHAN (Ont) now remembers the little tram running up the hill to the left (it may still be there). He thinks that it is smaller than the 100-150 ft vertical and 500-750 length previously reported. It is handcranked and has a little car not unlike those you see in the west on big ranches - used to transfer supplies and folks across rivers where there are no bridges.
BRUCE (NY) has an even better story. Back in the early 70's, he actually rode the tram and visited the Rockefeller house. The house has a great view of the slopes. His overall impression of the experience - WAY COOL!
c. MT SUNAPEE GONDOLA - CHIP (Medford, MA) remembers seeing the gondola cars piled up near the bottom of the summit double chair. He thinks that the gondolas were detachable grip. Does anyone remember how many folks they carried or the brand name?
d. A GONDOLA STORY - There are three ski areas at Banff (Alberta, Canada): LAKE LOUISE, MT. NORQUAY, and SUNSHINE VILLAGE. Lake Louise has an old gondola used summers only. Sunshine has a newer gondola running between the parking lot and the ski area. In the town of Banff there is a summer tourist gondola on SULPHUR MTN. Now loyal reader JAN-ERIK has found three pieces of physical evidence indicating that there used to be a gondola at MT. NORQUAY, as well! He found an old gondola car, a tower marked "Garaventa" (they built the SNOWBIRD tram), and the upper terminal building, now closed.
Well, those hints cost us an entire Saturday evening of research! We did find that a "summer only" GONDOLA existed in the mid-70's to late 80's. It shared the cable with the "Norquay chair" (the main chair - a double). That makes it very similar to the "Mt. Sunapee" arrangement. Without a current trail map, we can't speculate on why the gondola was removed. BTW, on old Mt. Norquay trail maps the next ridge to the right had a T-bar called "Wishbone". Above the T- bar was a TRAIL called "Wishbone" which started at timberline, but had no lift or other access. Recent maps depict that trail as "gladed", as if it is being allowed to grow back in. Still no lift. What's that all about?
While searching thru our Western Canada materials we found another "lost" gondola in British Columbia. More next time.
e. WILDCAT GONDOLA - BENJIE (CA) volunteered to study the Wildcat gondola. Operators remembered that it was of Italian make. There is no transfer cable, just a track, so operators have to push each car around the upper and lower terminals while they are detached from the main cable. This is the same method used on the former gondola at CRESTED BUTTE. We have said before that the egg-shaped cars are nearly identical at C.B., SUGARBUSH, AND WILDCAT. The C.B. system was made by an Italian company called (in the U.S., anyway) "Telecar". Eureka! (or is that yoicks!) Just found the brand name of the system at SUGARBUSH. It is "Carlevaro-Savio Telecar". "Telecar" matches the CRESTED BUTTE system, and you may remember that "Carlevaro-Savio" built the covered chairs at MT SNOW. BTW, a brochure we have (courtesy of SISSY, NH) says that the WILDCAT system includes Italian cars, Swiss towers, and a cable from Sweden. [Probably the drive motor was built by Toro, U.S. ;-)]
f. BRIDAL VEIL FALLS TRAM - At the request of a loyal reader we discussed this summer-only tourist tram a while back. It is located in Provo Canyon, between Provo and the SUNDANCE ski area. On 31 Jan, a huge avalanche buried the lower tram station with 30 to 60 feet of snow. The main route to the ski area was cut off. We are depending on you, MICHAEL, to keep us up to date on later news. Do they intend to rebuild? Were "Heeber Creeper" facilities damaged?
g. STONE MOUNTAIN, GA - Loyal reader SCOTT (GA) reports that progress continues (slowly) on the new tram but the spring tourist season is out. Will they make it by July, for the Olympics?
h. ANGEL'S FLIGHT - Does anyone know if this downtown Los Angeles funicular railway is up and running again?
2. TRIVIA QUESTION FOLLOW-UP
a. CONEY ISLAND, OH - Midwest readers verify that this park was located in Cincinnati and did close when KINGS ISLAND opened. We have subsequently found data indicating that "Coney Island", on the Ohio River, opened in 1886. Most of the major rides were removed in 1972 by the owner who had just opened "Kings Island" (which has a "Coney Mall" section). Actually, Coney Island remained open as a water theme park and has subsequently added kiddy rides. (While looking for what we remembered as "flood" pictures we did find pix of Coney Island. It had a wooden roller coaster called SHOOTING STAR. No signs of a flood, tho. Wonder which park had the floods?)
b. GRAY COLLAR WORKERS - We probably should have explained that in "Close Encounters of The Third Kind", Richard Dreyfus played a power company technician and his unusual phenomenon was the landing of aliens at Devil's Tower in Wyoming. In "Oh God", John Denver was a supermarket manager who met God (played by George Burns).
INSTANT TRIVIA - "Close Encounters" is probably the only SUCCESSFUL movie which has been pulled from release, had new scenes added, and then re-released. The new scenes included the discovery of the ocean liner in the desert and the scenes on board the alien space ship.
c. TERI GARR - We asked how she came to fame. We saw her playing a ditzy junior police intern on the "McCloud" TV show in the 70's. ERIC (CT) remembered. JON (OH) remembers her being on "Star Trek" in the 60's, playing a ditzy secretary (on Star Trek?). Her bio says she came to fame on the "Sonny and Cher" show, circa 72-74.
"McCloud" starred DENNIS WEAVER as the Sheriff from Taos. Mr. Weaver is retired now and lives on a ranch in his tire and earth bermed house (sometimes called "Earthship") near Ridgway, CO. Ridgway is on a main route to Telluride and just west of town is some spectacular scenery, particularly in the Fall. SNEAKY TRIVIA - The town of Ridgway was used for location shooting for a very successful (Oscar for the famous star) western movie. WHICH MOVIE? Hint, the RR station and the courthouse were both labeled "Fort Smith".
Somewhere out there in our vast audience must be some real hard-core movie buffs. Folks who have seen "Beat The Devil" three times and who know what "Rosebud" means. You folks, therefore must have seen "DUEL" starring DENNIS WEAVER and directed by STEVEN SPIELBERG. If you haven't, you must. This is a Director's and Editor's movie, made up almost entirely of scenes of an oil truck and a sedan driving along a lonely highway, the end result being a masterpiece of suspense.
d. TIMBERLINE IN COLORADO - What altitude? REO (Denver) correctly guessed 11,700 ft. We determined this altitude empirically. We made a list of the top altitudes of ski areas and mountain passes and then visualized whether the elevations had thick trees, sparse trees, or no trees. Line them up and 11,700 is the answer. Of course the elevation varies a little with latitude and local conditions of wind and moisture. Other guesses were 11,000 and 12,000 feet. Note: Only A-Basin, Breckenridge, and Loveland extend above timberline.
e. SNEAKY PUZZLE - We said that there was a "Mercedes Farm" near Cabazon and Palm Springs, CA. What is it? ANSWER: In that vicinity are several hundred wind powered generators. Each one consists of a 100 foot tower with a 150 foot diameter 3 bladed propeller. When the 3-bladed propellers aren't moving they look like Mercedes Benz symbols! So, daughter PC Jr thought the area looked like a giant Mercedes Farm. Get it? DAN (S.F.) got the answer but NICK (L.A.), who knew about the wind farm, went off on some tangent about owner tax breaks to buy Muffy her graduation car. BILL (S.D.) tried to compare it with the "Cadillac Ranch". The latter is located along I-40, just west of Amarillo, TX. A series of Cadillacs is partially buried nose down in a field. FWIW there is also a "Stonehenge" made up of auto bodies somewhere in Nebraska.
f. HOLIDAY MOVIE QUIZ - The scene in "It's A Wonderful Life" where the gym floor opens to reveal a swimming pool was filmed at BEVERLY HILLS HIGH SCHOOL. The film was shot there in 1946, and as far as we know the gym/pool is still there (Mrs. Snavely attended BHHS). BTW, there is also an operating oil well on the high school property. JONATHAN (Toronto) knew it was BHHS. (Trivia book?)
The mountain drive, tree cutting, and sledding scenes for "CHRISTMAS VACATION" were shot near Breckenridge, CO. (no one guessed correctly) Rumor is that Chevy Chase liked Colorado from the first "Vacation" movie and wanted to return. Most of the motel scenes in the first "Vacation" were shot in Santa Fe, NM on "motel row" (Cerrillos Rd). SNEAKY TRIVIA: In the first "Vacation" the family was headed towards an amusement park called "Wally World". Which REAL PARK was used?
Unknowns become stars: The teenage boy in "Christmas Vacation" was played by JOHNNY GALECKI who is a regular (as "David") on "Roseanne". The teenage girl was played by JULIETTE LEWIS who starred in "Natural Born Killers" and won an Oscar nomination for "Cape Fear". DAN (CA) had the actor names but not their new stardom. (Trivia Book?)
3. LOST SKI AREA FOLLOW-UP
a. BOSTON HILL(S) (No. Andover, MA) - Two folks suggested we should have checked this one out while we were back in the Methuen area. Actually we lived in ANDOVER for two years (1984-86) so are familiar with the ski area. We never did ski there or stop to look it over, tho. In our records we have the trailing "s" [Hill(s)] on a binary switch. One month we ADD it (new map) and the next month (new guide book) we DELETE it. Can someone please find a trail map or sign with the correct spelling?
b. LOST, NH - We just found a ski area named "WEEKS", on US2, near Riverton, NH on 1967, 68 & 73 highway maps. Anyone remember it?
c. TWIN TOWS (Milford, NH) was in the news recently. This small rope tow area closed in the 70's and has been used partly as a sledding hill and a gravel pit. Now the town has kicked the gravel company out and plans to reclaim the terrain. No mention of lifts.
d. MATT (MI) has asked about two more lost Michigan ski areas:
MT GRAMPIAN (Oxford), [closed], Located 2 miles east of Oxford on Lakeville Rd. Operated from the 50's to about 1979. Vertical Drop: 200 ft night skiing 100% snowmaking Lifts: 1 chairlift, 1 J-bar, 6 rope tows 12 slopes; open skiing TEEPLE HILL (Pontiac), [obscure], Located 12 miles west of Pontiac off MI 59 in Highland State Recreation Area (near Teeple Lake). Operated from before 1960 to about 1974. Vertical Drop: 100 ft Lifts: 4 rope tows
We have said before that random requests for info on LOST Ski Areas present a challenge. Actually it is more like boredom relief. We are getting tired of Lost NH areas and Michigan is new fertile ground. We already had MT GRAMPIAN in our data base but had to research TEEPLE HILL. [Oh yes, to preempt the yearly question: The ski area next to I-70 west of Denver is ARAPAHOE EAST, closed 1984.]
e. PALOMAR MOUNTAIN - After we described this lost ski area, NICK said he would drive down and check it out. Whoops! "CA 76" wasn't a very good location description, Nick. To get to Mt Palomar, drive northeast from CA 76 on County 5, crossing Cnty 7 along the way. There is a "snowplay area" on Cnty 5 near the Mt. Palomar observatory. The ski area may be on that road or more likely is just west on a side road (going north) off Cnty 7. Please let us know what you find. BTW, the dome housing the 200 inch telescope is open to the public during daylight hours. An awesome sight.
4. SKI AREA NEWS
a. LOST? Several of you wrote to say that BOLTON VALLEY, BURKE MTN, and BLACK MTN are still open this season. Apparently BURKE has been renamed NORTHERN STAR [FWIW, last season their slogan was: "Ski BURKE - Vermont's Northern Star"]. BLACK hasn't shown up on AMI lists but some of you have seen snow conditions in Boston papers (Fri-Mon). STEVE, (MA) pondered whether parts of the old "shovel handle" lift (at BLACK) still exist. How about checking at the Ski Museum at CANNON?
b. ANY SNOW IN THE WEST? - Last time we said that the West had a bad season start, snow-wise. Some folks wrote to defend conditions at their areas (particularly WINTER PARK and MAMMOTH). Hey guys, you depend on a monthly trivia newsletter for your snow reports? I hope not. We only brought it up so as to set up the "poor snow" anecdotes. But here are some more (Colorado) details:
Into the Holiday season WINTER PARK, the 4 SUMMIT areas, and VAIL were doing fine but the ASPEN and southwestern areas were hurting. Then on 1 Jan it started snowing for several days with 80 and 90 new inches being reported at some of these same areas. Finally, in mid-Jan the big snows hit the southwest and now everyone is in good shape with 60 and 70 inch bases. (MONARCH is over 100 inches.)
Meanwhile, there are 8 areas in Utah, the 2 biggies in Oregon, and a few California areas with over 100 inch bases. Unusual for January? Yes. The bad news is that the big snows haven't hit New Mexico yet.
c. LOST SKI AREAS TO RE-OPEN? Some of you have reported, and/or we have read the rumors, that the following ski areas MIGHT re-open: MITTERSILL, NH; MAGIC MOUNTAIN, VT; BERTHOUD, CO; and STAGECOACH, CO. Good luck. (Updated rumors/news would be appreciated.)
d. SUGARBUSH - Someone quibbled with our "7 new lifts" statement. Well, a lot of money was certainly spent on 7 lifts. Actually, 2 were brand new and 4 were new higher capacity lifts replacing existing lifts. One was a downgrade of an existing lift (!). The "Green Mountain" HS quad was downgraded to a FG quad and was shortened such that it now takes 3 lifts (instead of 2) to reach the top of Mt Ellen. What's up with that?
e. WHISTLER - There has been anecdotal evidence of a 1996 lift accident at Whistler with a fatality. Anyone know the details?
5. THE BUSINESS OF TCS NEWSLETTERS
a. We want to acknowledge a major milestone. Back on 8-16-95 the # 1000th E-Mail # arrived at TCS Headquarters. It came from "Senator" BILL Armstrong (CO). Other milestones: 400 different folks have now written, at least once. There are 200 folks on the direct E-Mail list plus those on the Moose Network (Skivt-l). For TOM: We now average about 40 responses per newsletter. And, as always, we thank you for your support.
b. We announced that we would no longer acknowledge info or questions from folks who don't provide their FIRST and LAST names and CITY name (It's so impersonal to talk to "firstname.lastname@example.org"). Therefore we can't comment on the neat 12 day ski trip one "person" was planning or discuss the unnamed quads at TAOS. Sorry.
6. FROM THE MAILBOX - GENERAL
a. JIM (MD) has brought this up several times, so: TOM MOORE once said that with his plan to bag five new ski areas he would pass the folks just ahead of him on the "Areas Skied List". That is, if those folks all BROKE THEIR LEGS. We observed that Tom would indeed pass JIM, who, it turns out, had undergone surgery for his BLOWN KNEE. Coincidence? - We thought not and accused Tom of using a voodoo doll!
Well, Jim admits that he did have surgery on his knee but it was for an old basketball injury, not from skiing. And it was his third operation. So, altho Jim thought the sequence was funny, he didn't think it fair to blame Tom. OK. [Did you know that Jim has a permanently assigned room at the Steadman-Hawkins clinic?]
BTW, Jim's inamorata CAROL wonders why anyone would play basketball, knowing they might endanger their future skiing career. "Must be a guy thing", she says. Also, when they encounter a tough bump run, why can't He take a nearby blue cruiser to save his knees instead of following Her down the bump run. "Must be a guy thing", she says.
b. PIKES PIKE REBORN? - GEORGE asked if it would be feasible to resurrect the Pikes Peak Ski Area. We say no. The main reason is that the Forest Service wouldn't allow it. They have removed all lifts and base buildings and are trying to restore the terrain with trees and grass. OTOH the City, which operates the toll road, would approve because it would mean more winter time tolls. Anyway, assuming approval and unlimited funds what would it take?
Theoretically the area could have 900 ft of vertical, about 3 chairlifts and several runs. The runs are all cut, there are two parking lots, and an access road. The base elevation would be 10,800 feet (highest in the state!). However, Pikes Peak just isn't in a snow belt and snowmaking would be required. The previous (new) snowmaking didn't work, either due to poor design or construction (both correctable) or poor water flow. Dicey.
George mentions proximity to COS (vs Summit County) and night skiing. Night skiing is out. The toll road is always closed at dusk, even in the summer - too dangerous. And the distance, altho short (say 20 miles from downtown) does require negotiating a partly unpaved curvy mountain highway with steep drop-offs, and the payment of a toll. We don't think the area would be economically viable. [SKI BROADMOOR probably only survived because of its very popular NIGHTTIME "Learn to Ski" classes.]
c. Several folks took exception to our remarks about the lack of quads at SNOWBIRD. Review what we wrote. "200 other ski areas have quads" (out of 450). We didn't say they ALL did. So ALTA doesn't have a quad. Who cares? They don't choose to build one. Their style is good snow and a good ski school. Their motto is "the best possible skiing at the lowest possible cost." They don't need quads. OTOH, SNOWBIRD claims they would build quads if there was room on the mountain for the upper terminals. Room? That's when we said "hogwash"! That's a dumb excuse, not the real one.
Our suggestion to "Cut some trees and dynamite some rocks" seemed environmentally insensitive to one reader. Hey, we're talking about a ski area, here. Get Real! Raping the environment is part of their reason for being. Ski areas obtain Forest Service permits and then proceed to cut down hundreds of trees and dynamite lots of rocks to provide ski runs, lifts, and on-mountain restaurants. That's what ski areas do. Doing a little more of that for a new lift or two is, by comparison, trivial. If you don't like ski areas, you are reading the wrong newsletter. Head for the backcountry. [But please ski with a friend and carry transceivers. :-)]
d. BILL H (NJ) criticized us for confusing NH and VT. They're not alike, he says. He's right. This was unfair to NH. NH has the tallest mountain on the east coast, the Presidential Mtn range, a big lake, a major outlet center, ocean frontage and beaches, etc., etc. And what does VT have? ? ? Oh, yes. Fewer covered bridges than Iowa and at least 100 quaint little shops that sell T-shirts and maple sugar candy (yecch!). [Boy, are we goin' to get it!]
e. ANDY (IL) - wants to add NORWAY MTN (MI) to the list of "upside down" ski areas. Norway? Where? When? (What? Why?)
f. QUICK AND DIRTY:
1) KELLY (NM) - Please send the patrol book. 2) STEVE (MA) - Please check out the HAMILTON lost ski area. 3) The MAMMOTH APM does curve, according to several readers. 4) TOM's ski cabin is in VT, located conveniently close to the Ben & Jerry's ice cream factory. 5) RICH (NH) - I'll trade my historical info on TEMPLE for that trail map you promised.
7. TRAVEL CORNER
We had written three pages on the DIA and COS airports but decided to cut them way down. Why? Because it's not really our bag. We have actually never flown to Colorado to ski (like, we live here). So all we know is what we read in the papers and a few opinions. You might as well just read r.s.a. posts. What we ARE good at is "Lost Ski Areas" and "Ski Area Trivia" and that is what we will concentrate on. Nevertheless, here are some comments and answers to some questions.
a. DIA - Was built as an "all-weather airport", a rarity in temperate climates. So far it has worked fine. Recently the FAA announced that the delays at DIA in the first 11 months of operation due to weather or traffic delays have dropped by 81% as compared to Stapleton. DIA is working.
b. General - When discussing the various ways to fly to CO ski areas we said that flying big planes to small airports (like Hayden, Eagle, Gunnison, etc.) was the best "deal". Bad choice of words. "Deal" sounds like price. Definitely not the cheapest choice, just the most "convenient". Also we didn't stress airport vans enough. If you are coming to ski at Summit County, Vail, or Aspen, we would say don't rent a car, take a van. Those regions all have FREE bus service and you don't have to mess with the inconvenience as well as the COST of ski area parking. [One reader felt the opposite - have a car so you can check out SKI COOPER. Well, there are two kinds of skiers: ski area baggers, and those who come to enjoy a week's vacation, skiing. The latter don't need cars - our opinion.]
c. COS AIRPORT - This airport has hourly vans to Summit County and twice daily to Vail. By using a van service you can take advantage of the much cheaper fares into COS and still not have to drive the two- lane mountain roads. STUART asked about connecting up with discount airline WestPac. They fly non-stop to 19 cities including Las Vegas. Until recently you could obtain a "Winter Wonderfare" one way price of $29 to Vegas (which works out to $61 total, round-trip). Prices are higher now and will be higher still in the summer, their big season.
We believe that there are no puddle-jumpers currently flying from COS to mountain airports. WestPac intends to start a commuter service this summer in time for next ski season. BTW, besides WestPac, there are six other major airlines flying to COS. Some flights at some times have competitive fares. Check with your travel agent.
d. CHAIN LAWS - SCOTT (OH) wondered, since 4WD vehicles get a break over 2WD vehicles, does that logic apply just to SUVs or also to "cars" like Subaru and Audi. We have three answers: 1) We don't know. 2) Decisions made by highway personnel at chain stations are subjective and depend on several factors. These factors include tire condition, license plate, ski racks, and opinion. For example, for years we drove a RWD Ford LTD wagon with studded snow tires, a full ski rack, and Colorado license plate. We were never once stopped at a chain station. But, you show up with Iowa plates, no ski rack, and a business suit and an Audi Quattro might not make it. 3) The cars you mentioned do have a limitation and that is ground clearance. You may start up a pass in 4 inches of snow and have no problem. But if there is 6 inches at the top, you could be in big trouble. The number of drive wheels doesn't matter if none of them touches the ground!
8. THE ROAD LEAST TRAVELLED - FINAL EDITION
a. PARKWAYS - Some of you have claimed that the first "parkway" can't be a toll road as that would make it a "turnpike". Let us define the term "parkway" in two different ways (denoted 1 and 2).
PARKWAY - 2: LIMITED ACCESS (no curb cuts, just interchanges); NO GRADE CROSSINGS (uses bridges); ONE-WAY TRAFFIC (e.g., two lanes each way with a median). Turnpikes meet those criteria. Whether or not a toll is charged is immaterial. The first highway to meet the criteria was the Merritt Parkway in CT, in 1938. It was built as a "free" parkway but tolls were added to pay for the extension, called the "Wilbur Cross Parkway". The Pennsylvania Turnpike meets the Parkway-2 criteria and has excellent limited access because the interchanges are far apart (due to infrequent toll stations).
PARKWAY - 1: Meets criteria 1 and 2 above but has only 2 lanes, with TWO-WAY TRAFFIC. These were actually the first "parkways" with the first one being the Bronx River Parkway (NYC) and the 2nd was the George Washington Parkway in DC. These two were built in the early 30's. Other examples are the "Blue Ridge Parkway" (VA and NC), and the "Natchez Trace Parkway" (MS), both of which still exist.
b. VAIL ROUNDABOUT FOLLOW-UP - The Editor of "The Vail Trail" (Vail weekly newspaper) who initially opposed the building of the roundabout, has now "eaten crow" and admitted that the rotary is working just fine. An official with one of the major airport shuttle van services has written to the town and The Trail and highly praised the roundabout. And what about this writer? Well we said that it would be "DIA West". As it turns out, that is high praise.
c. THE STRAIGHT AND NARROW - We said that, at 20 miles, the longest straight street was Western Ave, in L.A. REO builds a case for Colfax Ave in Denver. Long, yes. Straight? Don't forget that curve around Civic Center Park, Rick.
d. "JUG HANDLES" - We know of two types, the NJ and the NH. The NJ Jug Handle: Busy 4-lane divided highway intersects a secondary highway which only extends in one direction. Suppose you are driving north and you want to turn left (west) on the secondary (which does not extend right (east). There is a traffic light. Before you reach the light you exit to the RIGHT and curve around to the left until you are perpendicular to the main hiway. Trace the path and it looks like a "jug handle" or "tea cup handle". Your path trips a "treadle" and you proceed across the 4-lane when the light changes.
We used to turn off US 130 in NJ onto a highway leading to Beverly NJ. US 130 is 4-lane divided and the median is a "Jersey Knee" barrier. After we negotiated the jug handle and the light turned green we would count to five before proceeding. Half the time a speeding truck would zoom thru the intersection. Scary! Nowadays there would be a left turn pocket. That way the north bound lanes wouldn't have to stop, and the "turner" would be facing the southbound traffic and could determine if they were going to stop. More better. [FWIW, US 130 is/was on our list of the ten worst highways in the U.S.]
NH Jug Handle. This one is for reversing direction. Picture a very busy divided highway with continuous retail stores. You can't make a left turn into all of them because of the center median. U-turns are not allowed. So, just past a traffic light there is a right hand curving ramp (say, behind a gas station) which takes you onto the side street (which was the reason for the light). Follow the side street back to the light, turn left and you have reversed direction and can now turn into your favorite liqu... er, uh, ski shop.
And thus endeth the highway talk. Let's talk skiing!
a. PARK CITY, UT has been selected to hold the snowboard events at the 2002 Olympic games. Park City doesn't allow snowboarding!
b. ASPEN SKI CORP has named Kevin Delaney as "Director of Snowboarding". At a recent ski race on ASPEN MTN, Delaney was the "Forerunner" - on a snowboard. Aspen Mtn doesn't allow snowboards!
c. MARCUS (Scotland) asked about the abbreviations we use. OK. I.S.H.A is the International Ski History Association. ACE is American Coaster Enthusiasts. AAA is the American Automobile Association. NBC is the National Broadcasting Corporation. PDQ is Pretty Darn Quick. PPRR is Pikes Peak Road Runners. COS is Colorado Springs. PTC is Philadelphia Toboggan Company (builder of carousels and coasters).
d. When STUART was discussing the lost SoCal gondola he said: "The tantric trivia search continues". We had never seen the word "tantric" before. Our old dictionary says: "mystical or magical". That works. However, our newer dictionary said: "meditative or sexual". What exactly were you looking for, Stuart?
e. MAGIC MOUNTAIN (Santa Clarita, CA) - Is building a giant ride which may or may not be considered a roller coaster. Imagine an Intamin shuttle loop (e.g., Knott's Berry Farm) without the loop. A car is "fired" out and up and then it freefalls back down to the station. Stats: 415 ft in height; 100 mph; 4.5 G's; 6.5 seconds of weightlessness. Cycle times indicate only a 30 sec or less ride time. Whoopee!
f. LAS VEGAS - Correction/Update. After our last trip to Vegas we said that there was no sign of the new "Beau Rivage" hotel to be built on the old DUNES site. Actually the name has been changed to "Bellagio" and it is under construction. Next door, the "Monte Carlo" and next to it the "New York, New York" (with roller coaster) will open this Fall. Across the street (between the Aladdin and Bally's) will be the "Paris" hotel. It will have replicas of several Paris landmarks including a 50 story "Eiffel Tower".
g. URBAN RENEWAL - If you have walked up Bridge St in Vail Village you may have noticed that the "Golden Peak House" (by the Vista Bahn) has received a makeover. Actually it's more than that. The entire building, with condos, retail shops, and a Mexican restaurant (with great deck) was demolished and replaced with a new building ("Bridge Street Lodge") complete with condos, retail shops, and the same Mexican restaurant with a better deck. What money can do!
h. SKI AREA HISTORY #2 (This is a new feature. #1 was about Breckenridge mines/names.) In the basement of the old Golden Peak House was a neat bar called "The Slope". The name was sort of punny. The floor was a "slope" rising about 8 feet from the front to the back of the bar. Actually it was terraced, with a flat stretch, a slope, a flat stretch, etc. The entire floor was covered with thick carpeting and strewn with large throw pillows. No tables or chairs. One just relaxed on the floor leaning against the pillows and slope portions. (The flat sections were really for the waitrons). There was a movie screen and Warren Miller and W.C. Fields movie segments were always showing. A great place to relax after skiing! But, alas, it's been gone for some time. [Next time: "The Red Ram Saloon".]
a. Please provide your CITY NAME (and YOUR name) in your first E- Mail to TCS. It makes record keeping so much easier.
Cheers from THE COLORADO SKIER (member, I.S.H.A, ACE, PPRR)
"Wit is educated insolence." Aristotle