Greetings from THE COLORADO SKIER
This is part of a series on SKI AREA TRIVIA. It is posted separately
from our companion series on "LOST SKI AREAS". Check it out.
THE COLORADO SKIER TRIVIA - EDITION #25 (4-24-98)
A. It's hard to believe that the ski season is already winding down.
How good a season was it? Comments and stats in Section 5.
B. One of our regular readers, Jeremy (VT), is starting a home page
listing the Closed Ski Areas of New England. He is interested in
anecdotes/trip reports from you readers who have skied at now closed
areas. If you would like to contribute, send your write-up or an
indication of interest and we will forward to Jeremy.
C. NEWSFLASH - VAIL has, for the umpteenth time, received approval
for the CAT III expansion. Previous approvals came from the Forest
Service. This time it was Eagle County. Construction will start this
summer. [Trespassing Lynx will be shot on sight! ;-) ]
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. *** NEW *** TRIVIA QUESTIONS
a. Which four (4) U.S. SKI AREAS received new GONDOLA systems for the
b. How many different SKI LIFT MANUFACTURERS have built chairlifts at
North American ski areas? Is it: a) 1-10, b) 11-20, c) 21-30,
d) 31-40, e) 41+
c. Which U.S. ski areas currently have DETACHABLE double or triple
d. Name the SKI AREAS with these ski trail names:
1) MD, MBA, AB, PhD, Cum Laude, Pass/Fail
2) Styx, Hades, Demon, 666, Pitchfork
e. NOSTALGIA QUESTION: At which ski areas is a gondola or chairlift
the only access (or principal access) to the main base lodge. That
is, you can't drive to the base lodge.
BONUS ONE - Which Ski Areas share NAMES with Amusement Parks?
BONUS TWO - Open question - Which U.S. ski areas have a view of an
ocean? [Thx to Chris (MA) ]
BONUS THREE - Steve Allen hosted the first "Tonight Show", late
nights on NBC. However, there was an earlier late-night comedy
variety show on NBC. Can anyone remember its name or any of the
stars? (Think comedians and one statuesque blond.)
2. TRIVIA 24 ANSWERS
a. How many U.S. PRESIDENTS were/are SKIERS, either before, during,
or after their presidential terms?
ANSWERS: GERALD FORD skied while he was president. (We once toured
the "Bass" home in VAIL where Ford stayed while skiing. On one bed
was the sign: "Yes he does". !!) JIMMY CARTER took up skiing after
his term and frequently skis Crested Butte. Altho the entire Kennedy
family seems to ski, we don't believe Jack skied, due to his bad back.
Some have suggested that outdoorsman Teddy Roosevelt did X-country,
but we haven't found any proof. Altho Mrs. C and the First Daughter
ski, Slick apparently prefers other pastimes.
GUESSES: 4 folks guessed Carter and Ford and 5 more guessed just
Ford. JOHN W (VT) added Reagan and Bush. Any proof, John? These
guys were golfers. We don't think of skiers as golfers. Skiers are
hikers, climbers, and mountain bikers. In the winter, golfers bowl.
b. Which three (3) Canadian Provinces or Territories have the most
operating ski areas?
ANSWERS: Quebec - 35, Ontario - 34, British Columbia - 28
GUESSES: 7 folks got this one right. The most common mistake was the
selection of Alberta. (makes sense - in the Rockies - but no people).
c. How many U.S. ski areas can you think of which share names with
TREES (e.g., Aspen)?
ANSWERS: Apple Mtn, WI; Aspen and Aspen Highlands, CO; Ski Beech,
NC; Big Birch, NY; Butternut Basin, MA; Chestnut Mtn, IL;
Cottonwood Butte, ID; Hickory Hills, MI; King Pine, NH; Maple Ski
Ridge, NY; Oak Mtn, NY; Pine Knob & Pine Mtn, MI; Plumtree, IL
GUESSES: Matt (MI) got 8 right. Duke (KS) tried to be creative. He
liked Scotch Valley for Scotch "Pine", Mt Ashland for "Ash", and a
whole bunch of "pines": Several alPINES and my favorite - porcuPINE.
Several folks picked Maple Valley, VT; Hickory Ski Center, NY; and
Pines, IN; which we believe are all closed. My dictionary says that
Sugarbush is a woods full of sugar maples.
d. Which five ski-lift MANUFACTURERS have installed the most
chairlifts in North America?
ANSWERS: Through the 1995 building season: Riblet, Hall, Poma, Lift
Engineering (Yan), Doppelmayr (Numbers 6 & 7 are Borvig and CTEC)
GUESSES: JOHN W and JAN-ERIK (OR) got all 5. RYAN (NY) missed Hall,
which stopped building chairlifts before he was born!
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.
ANSWERS: SUGARBUSH, VT and CRESTED BUTTE, CO. These gondola systems
(with egg-shaped cars) were built by the Italian company, Carlevaro &
Savio, which also built the 2 passenger system at Wildcat, NH.
GUESSES: 5 folks knew Sugarbush, and 1 knew Crested Butte, but only
JAN-ERIK knew that both ski areas had 3 passenger gondolas.
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. What about the skiing realm? We
doubt there was anyone named ski, boot, or pole. The closest we can
come is the POMA, named after its inventor, Jean Pomagalski. What
SKIING-related "eponyms" can you think of?
ANSWERS: Apparently, there aren't any.
GUESSES: Definition of Eponym seemed to be a problem. A reminder:
The product has to be named after the inventor; just brand names
don't count. Otis invented the elevator but we still call it an
elevator, not an "otis". Same with Bell and the telephone. We don't
call ski pants "Bogners" and I call sunglasses "Bolle's", not
BONUS TWO: Steve Allen was the first host of the "Tonight Show". 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 very famous. Who are they?
ANSWERS: Andy Williams, Steve Lawrence, Eydie Gorme
GUESSES: Apparently this question was too old for you youngsters.
Only old man HERY (NJ) guessed Lawrence and Gorme. (Next week - "Your
Show of Shows" trivia)
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 Boston area traffic reporters call the
resulting slowdown a "gaper's block", others call it the "curiosity
factor". What is it called in your area?
GUESSES: No one had heard "gaper's block". There was one "curiosity
factor" (Boston) and 2 "curiosity slowings" (Denver). Others: gawker
delay, gaper delay, and knocker-gawkers. The most popular response by
far (9 entries) was "rubbernecking". We had always thought of this
term as more generic, e.g., staring at a house fire or construction
site, or at tall buildings in NYC. Obviously we thought wrong.
3. TRIVIA FOLLOW-UP
a. SNEAKY TRIVIA: Name two California ski areas which straddle the
San Andreas fault. ANSWER: SUNRISE and MOUNTAIN HIGH, near
Wrightwood. RICH (CA) and NICK (CA) knew the correct answer.
b. CHAIRLIFT MANUFACTURERS - In the last issue we mentioned that
chairlifts were built last year by LEITNER and RIBLET. Some readers
wanted more info. LEITNER is a Canadian company, formerly called
"Blue Mountain" and "BM Lifts", and last year they installed a FG six-
pack at Snow Valley, ONT. They will be installing two detachable
quads at Lake Louise this year. Riblet Tramways (Spokane, WA) have
been around forever and are still building fixed grip doubles,
triples, and quads. They installed 5 lifts last season, mostly in the
c. OLDEST SKI LIFT IN COLORADO - New reader DAVID K (CO) wondered
which is the oldest operating lift in CO. Wow! The research to
answer this question seems daunting. We decided to break it down into
lift types. This should be fun and illuminating. Our first cut is as
FUNICULARS - There are no funiculars at ski areas in CO.
CABLE CARS - There are no cable cars at ski areas in CO. There is one
tourist type cable car (very old) in Estes Park.
GONDOLAS - The first gondola in CO was the village gondola at Vail
(1962), long gone. The original Lionshead gondola has been replaced
with a new one. Also gone is the gondola at Crested Butte. The
gondolas at Keystone and Steamboat have been replaced. The one at
Aspen is fairly new. Summary: Keystone (1986), Steamboat (1986),
Aspen (1987), Vail (1996).
DETACHABLE QUAD - The first one was built at Breckenridge in 1981. A
FG QUAD - More research required.
TRIPLE CHAIR - More research required.
DOUBLE CHAIR - The first double chair ever was at Berthoud Pass, 1947.
It is gone. The oldest remaining double at Breckenridge (1965) was
replaced last season. More research - we are betting on Loveland or
SINGLE CHAIR - All gone.
POMA - All the ones remaining are fairly new.
T-BAR - The T-bar at Crested Butte opened with the ski area in 1962.
This is our candidate for *oldest operating ski lift* in Colorado.
ROPE TOW - There are no remaining rope tows in CO.
So, we have to do a little more research to find the oldest double and
triple chairs. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Thanks for the question, David. BTW, our guess at the oldest ski
lift in the U.S. is the single chair at Mad River Glen, VT (1947).
4. LOST SKI AREA FOLLOW-UP
a. CUCHARA BASIN, CO - We have long wondered if this closed 60's
ski area was located at the same place as the current CUCHARA VALLEY.
Not so, according to a bartender we met in the quaint town of Cuchara.
Cuchara VALLEY is located about two miles south of Cuchara. Cuchara
BASIN was located about 1 mile north. The rope tows are still
visible, but alas, are on private property.
b. WOODY GLEN, NH - TCS reader Jeremy (VT) sent us a copy of a
trail map/brochure for this tiny struggling ski area in Salisbury.
c. Big Bear Lake, CA - TCS reader RICH (CA) sent us a topo map for
the Big Bear vicinity. He and I will be discussing the lost ski areas
of the region over the next few weeks. (We will get to Lost California
in the newsletter about 2002!)
d. Field Agent JEREMY (VT) likes to find lost ski areas. Recently we
sent him to check out METHUEN HILL (MA) and BOSTON HILL (No. Andover,
MA). He reports that the T-bar which we saw just 2 years ago has been
removed from Methuen, and that the chairlift at Boston Hill is still
standing. Further west, Jeremy spotted a ski area just south of
Greenfield and east of I-91 which we can't identify. He also found an
old rope tow area near the Monson Academy (Monson). Keep up the good
work, Jeremy! Since I first wrote this, Jeremy went on spring
break and, among other things, he found the ATLANTIC FOREST area in
Amesbury, MA. Lifts and base lodge still standing. You go Jeremy!
e. Field Agent NICK (who lives in California ski country - Malibu!),
recently discovered the BUCKHORN ski area which sits between KRATKA
RIDGE (Snowcrest) and MT WATERMAN on the Angeles Crest Highway. The
area has two T-bars and about 600 ft of vertical. Buckhorn is a
private area and Nick is trying to wangle an invite.
f. LYNDON OUTING CLUB (Lyndonville, VT) - Several folks wrote to
tell us that this "lost" area is still operating. Good.
Note: Please feel free to ask about any lost ski area at any time.
5. SKI AREA NEWS
a. BERTHOUD PASS, CO - This small, old, high elevation area, closed
since 1990, finally did re-open this season, on 22 Jan. Only the
(Borvig) intermediate chair on the East side is running. Many skiers
and boarders use the chair to access the north and south side chutes
to the highway and then return by shuttle bus.
b. BOLTON VALLEY - In the midst of their financial turmoil (and
takeover by a young college grad), Bolton neglected to obtain control
of the separately owned base lodge. So they are forced to use rooms
in the base area hotel for changing, restrooms, etc. BTW, the rooms
cannot be rented for overnight use as one of the safety exits was thru
the base lodge! Can you say "losers"?
c. JAY PEAK (VT) - The sale fell through. Rats.
d. Ski conglomerate INTRAWEST has bought VERNON VALLEY/GREAT GORGE,
NJ and intends to heavily market the NYC area.
e. COPPER MOUNTAIN - As part of a big bucks multi-year expansion
plan (from owner Intrawest) next season Copper will replace the B and
B1 double chairs with Colorado's first six-pack, rising from a huge
new day-skier base lodge. The E triple will be replaced by a HS Quad.
f. LOVELAND, CO - In the Spring, Loveland allows walk-up skiing
above timberline. Now they are planning a chairlift to serve this
Continental Divide open bowl skiing. Discussions are proceeding with
the Forest Service and chairlift bids have been solicited. Could
happen as early as next season. If it does, the top Loveland
elevation will be higher than SNOWMASS which currently has the highest
lift-served skiing in the U.S. Snowmass uses a surface lift. We
suspect that a chairlift at Loveland will not see too many usable
days, due to wind and avalanche danger.
g. ERRATA - In the last issue, we reported that PICO (VT) was
installing a NEW HS Quad. Actually the quad already existed and Pico
were just doing the repairs on the infamous YAN grips. The same
modifications were made to lifts at Killington and Mt Snow.
h. A-BASIN (CO) - In January, one of the chairs on the Lenawee lift
fell to the ground. Just fell off the cable! Occupants were not
seriously hurt, but how embarrassing. The reporter for the Denver
Post apparently got his news by telephone as he called the "Lenawee"
lift the "Runaway" Lift. Freudian Slip?
i. CUCHARA VALLEY - We recently skied at this small southern
Colorado ski area for the very first time. It has 4 Riblet chairlifts
(one is a triple) and they all have bullwheel loading.
j. The Colorado Snow Season. El No-Show did nothing for the Colorado
snow season. Fair to middlin' at best. We will use our bellwether
(?) ski area, VAIL, to evaluate snow depths against historical
averages. Below is a comparison between the 97-98 data and the 10
Date 10 Year 97/98 Grade
15 Nov 15 15 average
30 Nov 23 14 poor
15 Dec 27 25 fair
30 Dec 30 27 fair
15 Jan 39 34 poor
30 Jan 39 44 very good
14 Feb 51 53 average
28 Feb 51 59 very good
15 Mar 58 57 average
30 Mar 63 56 fair
15 Apr 59 60 average
Overall: slightly below average
The only "average" snowfall in CO hasn't affected closing dates. 13
of the 26 CO ski areas were open thru 19 April. Several of the major
areas (Winter Park, Keystone, Breck, Copper, Vail) will stay open thru
3 May. Loveland stays open till mid-May and A-Basin well into June.
Berthoud is a wild card this year.
Elsewhere, Utah was about the same - average. California benefited
muchly from the "small kid", with snow depths in the 150 to 200 inch
range. Our best guess at New England is lots of snow with too many
intervening periods of rain and warm weather.
6. BUILDERS EMPORIUM
a. Gondola? Despite what was said in the AP stories and your local
paper, the ski lift cables cut by the US military jet in Italy served
a CABLE CAR system, not a GONDOLA. The system had two large cars in
the normal jigback configuration. One car fell and one didn't.
Interestingly, this same cable car system also suffered broken cables
back in the 70's. An aircraft was suspected, but never proven.
b. ANGEL'S FLIGHT - This is a funicular in downtown Los Angeles.
It operated from 1901 to 1969, at the corner of 3rd and Hill. At
first it transported workers and shoppers from the housing areas on
Bunker Hill to the downtown commercial district. Eventually it became
a tourist attraction. As the commercial district expanded up on to
Bunker Hill, the funicular was removed and placed in storage. Now the
funicular has been restored, about a block away at 4th and Hill. The
funicular is 280 feet long (once billed as the "World's Shortest
Railway"). Inflation has taken its toll. We used to ride it for 5
cents. Now the price is way up to 25 cents!
c. Most chairlifts at AMUSEMENT PARKS are built by amusement ride
companies. However, recently we have discovered new Garaventa CTEC
FG Quads built at LAKE COMPOUNCE, CT and at KENNYWOOD, PA.
a. THE TCS TRAIL MAP SPRING COLLECTION - Thanks to several of you for
making contributions of late. Frequent correspondent Tom Moore (MA)
sent a few maps along, as he does yearly. Thanks, Tom.
Our biggest haul ever, came from Neil, the Snowmaster. Previously the
biggest package received was a shoe box. Now picture a standard
"book box", only make it 6 inches longer and 3 inches higher - full of
ski area literature! It weighed over 50 pounds. Besides lots of
trail maps and brochures, there were ski related magazines and
newspapers, etc. The 100 or so trail maps including several for areas
which we didn't previously have. Thanks loads, Snow.
New reader JEREMY studies the Lost Ski Areas of Vermont. He even
wrote a college term paper on the History of Skiing in Vermont. Think
about it - he gets paid (sort of) for our hobby! Anyway we have
corresponded about lost VT areas and he has sent several trail maps
and related historic items. We appreciate it, Jeremy.
b. The KIRKWOOD and NORTHSTAR (CA) ski areas both celebrated their 25
year anniversary this season. Northstar offered a free day of skiing
to anyone with a 25 year old trail map. We checked and discovered
that we had first year "brochures" for each area - but no trail maps.
c. At the Westin Prince Hotel at ALYESKA (AK) they offer Aurora
Borealis (Northern Lights) wake-up calls!
d. Colorado has the dubious distinction of having more avalanche
deaths each year then any other state. During the 96/97 season there
were none. However, this season there have been 6. No pattern, and
none within ski area boundaries (there never has been an avalanche
death within a Colorado ski area boundary). Most were just folks out
hiking or skiing in the wrong place at the wrong time.
e. One of the main objections to the CAT III back bowl expansion at
VAIL is that it encompasses prime Canadian Lynx habitat (although no
Lynx has been seen in the vicinity since 1972). Recently a "Vail
Trail" headline proclaimed that a LYNX had been found in the back
bowls. Turns out that it was a MERCURY LYNX, buried in the snow!
This from the annual April First version of the "Vile Trial". !!
f. An SUV ad here in the COS newspaper showed a house covered with
snow and the caption: "Are you ready for El Nino?" The house was
unmistakably the "House Of Seven Gables" which, IIRC, is in Salem, MA.
Seems strange for a Colorado ad!
g. "3 Ninjas" - This new (and really bad) movie takes place at an
amusement park called MEGA MOUNTAIN. It was filmed at ELITCH GARDENS
in downtown Denver - where there are no mountains.
h. "On the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia." With the recent
Titanic driven interest in ocean liners, we got to wondering about the
status of the liner "United States". This ship was the biggest U.S.
ocean liner and the fastest ever to cross the Atlantic. The last we
heard it was docked in Norfolk harbor. Regular TCS reader SISSY saw
it on a harbor tour a few years back.
However, recently we have learned that the "United States" was towed
to Turkey, stripped, and was about to be scrapped when a U.S.
businessman bought it and had it towed back to the U.S. It is now
berthed at Pier 82 in Philadelphia. Plans are to convert it into a
hotel and tourist attraction. Anyone seen it?
i. TWO WAY RIVER - We got to wondering how the MINNESOTA RIVER
(flowing south) and the RED RIVER (lowing north) could both originate
at the same spot, in western MN. Readers PAUL (MN) and TIM (CA) read
our plea and sent detailed info. In summary, the two rivers (with
tributaries) do essentially originate at the same spot near
Breckenridge, MN. They are separated by a land bridge. The
continental divide thru this region is called the Laurentian Divide.
j. DISCOUNT AIRLINES - In the last issue we reported that our local
(COS) discount airline, WestPac, had declared Chapter 11. Shortly
thereafter they went "paws up". Our discount airline is now RenoAir.
For Denver, it's Frontier.
8. TITANIC TRIVIA - There was a good response to our last Titanic
trivia offering so we thought we would do some more.
CORRECTION - In our comments about very few civilians ever having been
killed due to a sinking ship we stated that the ANDREA DORIA only lost
30. Actually, 46 were killed in that incident, but again, most at the
actual time of collision. The number 30 related to the sinking of the
Titanic sister ship, BRITANNIC, which hit a mine during WWI. Since
the accident happened near land, the Captain decided to beach the
ship. That meant that the ship was moving and the propellers were
still turning. The first two lifeboats drifted astern and were
destroyed by the propellers and 30 lives were lost. Ugh.
THE MOVIE - (most excellent, BTW) - Nothing shown in the movie about
the collision and sinking varied much from what we had read about the
incident. We were surprised, however, that nothing was said about the
freighter "Californian", only 10 miles away, which was oblivious to
pleas for help. [One result of marine inquiries into the Titanic
sinking was that all ships above a certain size are now required to
have 24 hour wireless operators. The Californian operator went to bed
just before the collision.]
Everyone knows that the Titanic hit the iceberg on its starboard
(right) side and that the bridge officer tried to steer the ship to
port (left) around the berg. So why did he tell the helmsman "hard a
starboard"? Answer: Early sailing ships (and the small boats that
you and I sail) have tillers. To turn left, you push the tiller
right, the rudder and boat go left. Well, even with the advent of
wheels to control the rudder, strangely the old command system was
maintained. Starboard means port. !!
The movie "Titanic" tied (with "All About Eve") for most Oscar
nominations, 14, and tied (with "Ben Hur") for most wins, 11. SNEAKY
TRIVIA: What is the largest number of Oscar nominations a single
feature movie can receive?
TITANIC MYTH #6 - The Titanic was traveling at full speed at night
in iceberg waters because it was trying to capture the "Blue Riband" -
the honor for fastest Atlantic crossing. False. The 3 White Star
liners were built for size, comfort, and luxury, not speed. Their top
speeds were about 22.5 knots. The Cunard liners of the day were
capable of 24-25 knots. No way Titanic could beat them.
TITANIC MYTH #7 - To the end, the ship's designer was convinced that
the ship could not sink. Wrong. Neither the designer, the builder,
nor the owner ever said that the ship was unsinkable. A marine
magazine of the era printed that the Titanic, due to its watertight
compartment design, was "nearly unsinkable". The ship designer toured
the ship with the Captain shortly after the collision. He looked at
plans, did some calculations, and then stated that the ship would sink
in an hour or maybe two. It sank about 2 hours later.
TITANIC MYTH #8 - Many crew members drowned due to being trapped in
water tight compartments. False. Every movie like this has a scene
where crewmen rush through the watertight doors as they are closing.
One is led to believe that they would drown if they didn't get
through. Actually, the watertight compartments have no tops, just
walls. Normal travel is up stairs and ladders to upper decks (like to
crew quarters). Men diving through doors were probably just caught
taking a break in the wrong work area. The main Titanic engines were
shut down because the initial flooding occurred in the boiler areas.
However many crew members continued working below deck to keep the
electric generators working - providing electricity for the wireless
and for working lights. Unfortunately some crew members drowned
because they kept working below deck to the very end.
TITANIC MYTH #9 - 90% of the witnesses at US and British marine
inquiries said that the Titanic was "intact" when it sank. However
the Ballard expedition revealed that the ship broke in two and the two
halves were a half mile apart on the ocean floor. Computer models
show that when the sinking ship reached a steep angle, the spine broke
and the stern settled back into the water just before it sank. Of
course it was dark, by then there were no lights on the ship, and the
lifeboats (with witnesses) were a mile away.
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Cheers from THE COLORADO SKIER (who no longer takes ocean cruises)
"There is a sumptuous variety about the New England weather that
compels the stranger's admiration - and regret. The weather is always
doing something there ..... Yes, one of the brightest gems in the NewEngland weather is the dazzling uncertainty of it." Mark Twain