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Trivia #24 - Published 22 July 1997






This is part of a series on SKI AREA TRIVIA. It is posted separately from our companion series on "LOST SKI AREAS". Check 'em out.





A. The TCS Web page address has changed slightly. Please adjust your bookmarks. The new URL is: http://www.nyx.net/~mwallace/TCS.ssi


B. A PUBLIC APOLOGY - Last issue we told you about "Jimmy", our new found expert on the Lost Ski Areas of Wyoming. Jimmy was quite helpful in finding two "new" lost areas and helping us improve data on other areas. We chose to characterize his (and our own) intense interest in lost ski areas as an "obsession". We thought that was amusing - Jimmy didn’t. We apologize.


C. We do wisecracks and little digs about TCS newsletter readers all the time. It’s part of our attempt to entertain, as well as inform. We mean no harm to anyone. If you think we have stepped over the line, please let us know.







a. How many U.S. PRESIDENTS were/are SKIERS, either before, during, or after their presidential terms?


b. Which three (3) Canadian Provinces or Territories have the most operating ski areas?


c. How many U.S. ski areas can you think of which share names with TREES (e.g., Aspen)?


d. Which five ski-lift MANUFACTURERS have installed the most chairlifts in North America?


e. NOSTALGIA QUESTION: We think of gondola capacity in terms of even numbers, i.e., 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 passenger cars. Name two (dead) ski area gondola systems which had 3, count them 3, passenger cars.


BONUS ONE: An EPONYM is "the person for whom something is named or supposedly named." The "Zamboni" (ice resurfacing machine) is named after Frank Zamboni, its inventor. Many figure skating moves (e.g., "axel", "salchow") are named after their creators. What about the skiing realm? We doubt there was anyone named ski, boot, or pole; or slalom or sitzmark. The closest we can come is the POMA, named after its inventor, Jean Pomagalski. What SKIING-related "eponyms" can you think of?


BONUS TWO: Instant trivia: Who was the first host of the "Tonight Show"? Answer: Steve Allen. His show had two boy singers and two girl singers. At the time they were unknowns, but 3 of the 4 went on to become quite famous. Who are they?


BONUS THREE (regional trivia): After a freeway accident, after the vehicles have been moved off the roadway, drivers still slow down to admire the wrecks. Some traffic reporters call the resulting slowdown a "gaper’s block", others call it the "curiosity factor". What is it called in your area?







a. How were the following folks involved with skiing or the ski industry? Sir Arnold Lunn, Dick Durrance, Roland Palmedo

ANSWERS: LUNN, an Englishman, had a life-long interest in the development of ski racing. He is credited with the creation of the Slalom race. DURRANCE - was the first great U.S. ski racer. He raced for Dartmouth, the U.S. racing team, and as a pro racer. He also assisted in the development of western ski areas. PALMEDO - was part of the Stowe management team and then developed the MAD RIVER GLEN (VT) ski area. He was also a ski organization administrator.

GUESSES: DAN (CA) - had the best answers. He provided 3 very formal quotes, obviously copied from some ski history book. Cute! JAY (NY) also knew all 3.


b. Name the 4 BIGGEST ski area OWNERS in North America in terms of total "skier days" at their combined ski areas.

ANSWER: The big 4, in order, are VAIL RESORTS, INTRAWEST, ASC, and BOOTH CREEK. We would guess that the next two are BOYNE and ASPEN.

GUESSES: 12 readers took a stab at this one. Jay (VT), Kathy (CO), and Kevin (GA) knew or guessed the top 4. A couple more folks substituted Aspen for Booth Creek.


c. At which SKI AREAS are the following ski runs? (easy!)

o Hump, Dromedary, Bactrian, Sphinx, King Tut

o Ambergris, Beluga, Blubber, Harpoon, Spout

ANSWER: CAMELBACK (PA), and WHALEBACK (NH). (We told you - easy!)

GUESSES: Joshua (VT), Marc (FL!), and Steve (MA) got all three.


d. What is a "porron" and how does it relate to southwestern skiing?

ANSWER: A porron is a small glass pitcher/flask, filled with martinis by Ernie Blake, founder of TAOS. He stashed them under spruce trees on the slopes for use by his ski classes and selected guests.

GUESSES: Three folks (Rocket Joe, Els, Paul) knew this one and each had a different version of who the lucky imbibers were.


e. NOSTALGIA QUESTION - There are 10 cable car/trams at U.S. ski areas. Only one state has two: HEAVENLY VALLEY, CA and SQUAW VALLEY, CA. WHERE are the other 8 CABLE CARS?

ANSWER: Alyeska, AK; Snowbird, UT; Big Sky, MT; Jackson Hole, WY; Sandia Peak, NM; Ober Gatlinburg, TN; Cannon Mtn, NH; and Jay Peak, VT. [Note: The "QMC Tram" at June Mtn, CA operates like a gondola.] {SNEAKY TRIVIA: What does "QMC" stand for?}

GUESSES: Only one loyal reader (Kathy, who works for Doppelmayr) knew all 8. 3 more folks knew 7 of 8, each missing a different tram.


BONUS ONE: (open question) Which U.S. ski areas have CHAIRLIFTS which CROSS? [Our preliminary list includes: ATTITASH, NH; COPPER MOUNTAIN, CO; LOVELAND, CO; and HEAVENLY VALLEY, CA]

ANSWER/GUESSES: Readers suggested: Squaw Valley, CA; Mt Baker, WA; Breckenridge, CO; Jackson Hole, WY; Park City, UT; Blackcomb, BC; and Blue Knob, PA. We were unable to verify any crossing chairs at Mt Snow, Mammoth, Vail, Gatlinburg, Hunter, Grand Targhee, or Bear Mtn.


BONUS TWO: (OPEN QUESTION): Which ski areas carry more than one name? [Preliminary list: ARAPAHOE BASIN is A-Basin or The Basin; MT REBA is Bear Valley; MT Mansfield is STOWE; etc.]

ANSWER/GUESSES: Sometimes neat sounding questions fall flat. :-( Just a few suggestions: Whiteface/Lake Placid, Jackson Hole/Teton Village; Incline/Diamond Peak; Haystack/The Stack.

There were also some derogatory nicknames like: "K-Mart" for Killington and "Iceface" for Whiteface.

FWIW, "reba" is an anagram for "bear". Also for "bare". There used to be bumper stickers (we have one) reading "SKI BEAR" which were, of course, re-arranged to read "SKI BARE". In 1968, the BEAR brochure had a "Ski Bare" cover with a pic of a nude female skier, facing away, with a bush, er uh, a strategic tree branch at hip level. The most interesting (!) aspect of the picture was that the skier was using long thongs (no, for runaway straps, you pervert!).


BONUS THREE (regional trivia): The stretch of pavement to the right of the right-most highway lane is usually called the "shoulder", but not always (not in New England). What is it called in your region?

ANSWER/GUESSES: In New England it is called the "breakdown lane". Two folks (from NH and OH) suggested "berm". Someone suggested "verge" (which means border or margin). Both of those are new ones for us but the dictionary definitions work.







a. SNEAKY TRIVIA ANSWER - The TV PI named "David Addison":

SHOW: Moonlighting ACTOR: Bruce Willis AGENCY: Blue Moon BOSS: Maddie Hayes, played by Cybill Sheperd Seven folks answered this one. Many had all the correct answers with the most common mistake being calling the detective agency "Moonlighting".


b. SNEAKY TRIVIA ANSWER - Bug Bunny’s favorite beach is PISMO BEACH, in Northern Calif. DEBBIE (CA) and SCOT (VT) knew this one.


c. SNEAKY TRIVIA FOLLOW-UP - We questioned why the "Rossignol" (nightingale) family would use a rooster as their symbol. Several folks said that the rooster was either the symbol of France, or the symbol of French national athletic teams. Off to the library - Only one of 4 books describing the rooster as a "symbol" mentioned France - "The rooster is the symbol of France." - no explanation of why or when. BTW, the book also said that the rooster is the symbol of the U.S. Democrat party. (?) Have to check that out at the next election!


d. Two readers reported that there is a MINE on Aspen Mtn. Yes. It is called the "Compromise Mine" and is located above Little Nell near

"Elevator Shaft". It first appeared on 1995/96 trail maps.


e. ODD TRAIL MAPS - The 1980 POWDERHORN (CO) brochure has an aerial photo of the ski area - printed backwards. The 1990 brochure, showing summer activities, has a pic of a fly fisherman - who is unmistakably GREG LEMOND! BTW, COS has a new auto race track open this year. At a recent minor race, Greg LeMond was a driver.







a. ROUND TOP (VT) is now the most asked about lost ski area, surpassing Arapahoe East and Meadow Mountain in Colo. Why haven’t we covered Round Top? Because we do the areas in alphabetical order and just haven’t got there yet. (Patience!)


b. HIGH MEADOWS (Roaring Gap, NC) - Reader ANDY (GA) skied at this lost area back in 68 and 69. We have it operating from 1967 to 1980. A vertical drop of 80 ft with 2 rope tows. However, Andy remembers a chairlift. ?? What year, Andy?


c. MAGIC MOUNTAIN and ROUND TOP, VT - Anyone heard any recent news about either of these two areas re-opening?


d. SPRUCE PEAK, VT - New reader SCOT (VT) suggests that this area was once independent. Everything we have read indicates that Spruce Peak was built by Mt Mansfield Corp as part of STOWE. Scot tries another one: The "Sunrise Mountain" portion of Killington was once a separate ski area. ??? It first appeared on Big K maps in 1982.


e. HUSKY HILL, CT - MARK (no city) - mentioned this rope tow area on the UCONN campus (Storrs, CT). New to us, Mark - what years?


Note: Please feel free to ask about any lost ski area at any time.







a. MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN, CA - Update - 3 new HS quads. One is replacing chair #6 and the T-bar. Another is replacing chair #2, a FG quad. The 3rd will replace the #3 double which is probably the oldest remaining chair on the mountain (a 1960 Riblet center-pole double). You can still occasionally find a promotional pic (of dubious worth) of chair 3, looking down from the top, which shows a long comma-shaped line of skiers waiting to board. (Apparently before the "maze" was invented!) The #5 double will be upgraded to a triple, using parts from #18, which is being removed.


b. SQUAW VALLEY, CA - Will replace (in 1998) their current (1983) gondola with what will be the first of the new two-cable gondolas in the U.S. It will have 30-passenger cars. Clues: The old gondola is listed for sale in a ski trade magazine. The same mag has an ad by GARAVENTA touting the new "Funitel" at Squaw. The word "funitel" comes from "FUNIcular", and "TELepherique". However, the new lift is in no way a funicular.


c. WOLF MOUNTAIN, UT - Now called "THE CANYONS" by new owner, ASC, has been given a complete makeover. There will be a new Poma 8 place gondola, 3 HS Quads, 2 FG quads, new terrain, more snowmaking, and other improvements. Some old chairs will be replaced or removed.


d. BRECKENRIDGE, CO - Is adding two Poma HS quads. One will replace the old, old (1965) #2 double chair on Peak 8, actually rising from the Peak 8 base to a point north of the "Super Chair". The other will replace Chair B on Peak 9. Also an increase in snowmaking.


e. KEYSTONE, CO - Is adding a new HS Quad running up Keystone Mtn, parallel with Gondola #1 (Skyway).


f. BEAVER CREEK, CO - Is replacing double chair #3 with a HS quad.


g. WATERVILLE VALLEY, NH - Is replacing the "Valley Run" double and triple with a Doppelmayr HS Quad. Also adding snowmaking to "Stillness" and "Lower Bobby’s" runs, to obtain 100% snowmaking.


h. ASPEN, CO - Lift ticket price next season will be $59, traditionally the highest in the industry.


i. VAIL - Had hoped to start on the Cat III "Chris Berman" (back, back, back) bowls expansion this summer. However, due to last minute tree-hugger complaints concerning Lynx habitat, the serious building will start next summer. This summer Vail will improve the "Lynx" habitat for both the animal, and its prey, the Snowshoe Hare. Note that the last time a Lynx was spotted in the Vail vicinity was 1971.


j. ADAM’S RIB, CO - Fred Kummer has been buying land and trying to build this large ski area, west of Beaver Creek, since 1970, spending millions of dollars in the process. Locals were against the idea and have been fighting him on size and the filling in of wetlands. Recently he withdraw his application and presumably has given up the attempt. Is he out all of the money? Nope. He can subdivide the land into 35 acre ranchettes with no zoning restrictions or permits required. Near Beaver Creek? There’s some money to be made!


k. LATE CLOSINGS - Here are the closing dates for the late spring and summer ski season. Data from the Internet, not phone calls.


Timberline - 7 Sep

Blackcomb - 4 August

A-Basin - 6 July

Mt Bachelor - 2 July

Killington - 22 June

Mammoth - 1 June

Squaw Valley - 26 May

Breckenridge - 26 May


l. A-BASIN - Poor little A-Basin. They were odd man out after the Vail Associates/Ralcorp merger. The Government ordered A-Basin sold by Vail Resorts to maintain competition for front range skiers. The sale was to be completed by 1 June, but hasn’t happened. A-Basin management declared that they would need $500,000 to create a ski brochure, create a ski show booth, and to create a web site, all to allow them to compete as an independent ski area. They asked current owner/future competitor VAIL for the money. Vail gave them $50K.


m. COLORADO SKI AREAS - set an all-time record for number of skier days in the 96-97 season. It was a pretty good snow year.







a. OLD, OLDER, OLDEST - When discussing the removal of the old (1963) gondola at PARK CITY, we mentioned other surviving old gondolas. PAT (TX) subtly asked about the age of the APACHE (NM) gondola. Good point. It dates from 1962 which makes it older than all the other still active gondolas except SUGAR BOWL (CA), and WILDCAT (NH).


b. T-BARS - New reader RICHARD, who works for a ski travel company in Austria, expressed surprise that there are only 3 T-bars in all of Colorado. Well, actually there are 5, see below. However, contrast that with Megeve and Alpe d’Huez in France which each have more than 30 T-bars and you can see the reason for surprise.

We mentioned the 3 T-bars at SKI COOPER, BRECKENRIDGE, and CRESTED BUTTE. Two readers pointed out that the relatively new "High Lift" at C.B. is also a T-bar. True. It was built by Doppelmayr in 1991. It is a reel type. The Breck T-bar, also by Dopp, is a reel type. Other readers mentioned that there is a T-bar in the back bowls of VAIL. There are 3 access "surface lifts" in or around China Bowl and one (we don’t know which one) is a T-bar. That makes 5, total, in CO.


c. The WATER WORLD water park in suburban Denver, has added a GONDOLA to connect upper and lower sections of the park. The gondola, made by YAN (!), was obtained from CIRCUS CIRCUS in Las Vegas. It used to run from the front of the casino back to the Grand Slam amusement park under the pink dome. It was called the "Grand Slam Tram".


d. SINGLE! - A reader asked "How many ski areas once had single chairs"? This reminds us of our favorite line from "Terminator 2". The kid, John, is on lookout, watching for cops. As he watches, 50 squad cars, riot vans, SWAT teams, paddy wagons, and a helicopter arrive. John: "The cops are here!" "How many", says Arnold. "Looks like ALL OF THEM", replies John. (!)

So, how many ski areas had single chairs? ALL OF THEM! Well, not really. Actually, all of the decent sized ski areas built before about 1950, had single chairs. We have started a list (why not) and it currently stands at about 28.


e. DEEP FREEZE - Last year a Doppelmayr cable car was built at BIG SKY, MT. When excavation was started for the lower terminal, it was discovered that the underlying terrain was actually a glacier. Core samples revealed rock, then mixed rock and ice, and then a solid ice core. The geologic term for this phenomenon is "ice-cored rock glacier". The lower terminal had to be completely redesigned and moved. Engineers determined that the rate of downhill movement for the lower terminal would equal the rate of stretch for the cable and therefore the cable would never have to be re-spliced. Sure!







a. DUMB - We received a letter from a "Matchmaker" in COS which opened thusly: "We know you’re not desperate.... In fact, if you’re on our mailing list you’re probably quite a catch!" Some fancy mailing list. The envelope was addressed to "Resident"!


b. TAME AMERICA - Some of you are probably allowing your young daughters to go see the movie "Wild America" starring Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Just remember that this is the story of Marty Stouffer, the "wild" animal photographer who shot "realistic" wild animal scenes in private zoos and used tame animals in the field. His PBS TV show was canceled once PBS found out about the chicanery. (But the kid is sure cute!)


c. CON-AIR - In the previews of this flick you all saw the C-123 knock off the end of the giant neon guitar at the Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas. Didn’t happen. ;-) In the movie you can clearly see that the "fake" guitar is on the Strip next to Circus Circus. Come on! The real guitar is on Paradise Rd, not on the Strip. As for the crash. Yes, the plane really did crash into the Sands Hotel, which had just closed a few weeks before the filming.


d. OFF-TRACK - Former racing legend and Indy 500 announcer Bobby Unser has become an embarrassment. Last winter he and a friend drove two snowmobiles into a wilderness area in Southern Colorado. Both vehicles got stuck in deep snow. As the two men walked out of the wilderness area they were hit by a life threatening snowstorm. They eventually walked to a cabin and called for help.

Because of the publicity (famous guy caught in blizzard) the Forest Service investigated and found both vehicles IN the wilderness area where motorized vehicles are not allowed. Unser was issued a ticket. He took the case to Federal court, claiming "extenuating circumstances" (like, he got caught!). He said that the wilderness boundaries were not well-marked. The judge cleverly replied that had he properly carried a MAP (plus survival gear), then the situation might not have been life threatening. Touche’! Unser was fined $80 (The maximum fine is $500.) He is taking the case to a higher court, wasting more taxpayer money. What a maroon!







a. Two folks wrote to complain about our not counting the old "bubble chairs" at MT SNOW as "gondolas". They were "skis-on gondolas". Ski poles went in a quiver on the outside. The cars were detachable. After you sat, clamshell doors closed around you - much more elaborate than a typical "covered chair". [One reader points out that without ski poles there was ample opportunity for "hanky panky" in the private (two passenger) interiors.] Okay, there is plenty of room in our world for "non-standard" ski lifts. These were a "type" of gondola. BTW they had the same kind and brand of gondola at BEECH MTN, NC.


b. PICKY, PICKY - We had a trivia question about trams and one reader said he didn’t remember the difference between trams and gondolas. So we gave a very SIMPLISTIC definition of the two types and naturally got hundreds of E-Mails back, about the "exceptions". Hey guys, easy. We covered all that stuff months ago. Yes, trams don’t have to have two cars. And trams can use gondola cars and even chairlifts rather than big cabins. Also there are many different types of gondolas. Maybe in a few months we will go over that all again.


c. STUFFED - We like one reader’s explanation of the "capacity" of a new "30 passenger" gondola in Europe. He says they stuffed people into the gondola car until the door wouldn’t close, then the loader jerked two people out, the door closed and off it went! (Sounds like the Japanese train system!)


d. FUNICULARS - We have received many more comments on our essay on the reasons why there are more funiculars and cable cars in Europe than in the U.S. Fun stuff. We appreciate your interest. But now it’s time to move on to the next trivial subject. [Towards the end there was a lot of stuff about geology. Remind us to tell you some day about our impressive formal geology training!]


e. PRIORITIES - After our very detailed description of the lift types at LOVELAND, one reader asked: "How was the skiing?" Skiing? ;-)


f. THE J’S HAVE IT - Over the years, many readers have asked about "J-bars". A J-bar is sort of one-half of a T-bar, or more accurately, an "L-bar". It was introduced (by Fred Pabst) in Wausau, WI in 1936. There were many more (100?) J-bars around the country and some still operate. The original bunny lift at Crested Butte was a J-bar.


g. BALLHOOTER - This strange name is used at both SNOWSHOE, WV and KEYSTONE, CO. We looked it up on an old Keystone trail map (reader suggestion) and found: "‘Ball Hooter’ is a logger who slides fallen timber down the mountain, clearing a steep narrow trail." Cool.


h. AS THE LIFTS TURN - A reader expressed surprise that the BRECK T-bar really does change direction in mid-trip. Why, he queries? Ridge lines, we reply. Chairlifts can cover undulating terrain by using different height towers. However, a surface lift has to follow a flat (inclined) surface. So the Breck T heads NW up one ridge and then turns west up another. The new "Snowflake" access chair at Breck also turns. Here the path is political, not physical. The lift has to skirt some condos and a winter training center before turning to reach its desired destination. Reader BRUNO says that the poles, pulleys, and cables at the turning point do some wondrous things! We couldn’t begin to draw a picture. Go see it.

Reader BILL (CA) points out that the deceased gondola at PARK CITY (UT) also turns a corner half way up.


i. MT KATAHDIN - Reader SCOTT (VT) took exception to our calling this huge Maine mountain "flat and featureless". He wonders if we have ever seen it or if we were deliberately inciting flaming. Yes we have seen it but we have never climbed it. We never encourage flaming. It just happens due to careless writing. :-) It is probably a very nice, rugged mountain. We just think that it looks boring in calendar pictures.


a. Please provide your CITY NAME (and YOUR first and last name) in your first E-Mail to TCS. Why? So we don’t get annoyed.

Cheers from THE COLORADO SKIER (who dat?)

"Write if you get work ..... and hang by your thumbs." Bob & Ray

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