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Tag Archives: snowboard

New West Daily Roundup for May 4, 2016

Today in New West news: Interior Secretary Jewell in Montana, Jackson-based ski maker subject of award-winning short film, two Colorado breweries heading to Australia/New Zealand, and a short update on Sports Authority.

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Snowboarding With the Flying Potato

While Rusty and his class were becoming acquainted with their snowboards, I walked a couple hundred yards up the hill past them and stepped into the bindings. I pulled my new goggles down over my eyes, yanked my gloves tight, and leaned downhill just enough to start the thing moving. That right there was my first mistake. I’d spent several minutes just standing and watching other boarders and studying their body movements. My plan was to try and emulate those movements, hoping the light would come on and I’d get the knack. This method has worked for me before, with things like fly fishing and sex. So I knew the thing was to keep the uphill edge into the snow. And it certainly didn’t hurt that I’d eavesdropped on Rusty’s class for twenty minutes, as the instructor taught them to turn by pushing outward with the back foot. So I was able to slide down the hill without too much trouble, but I could only turn right. I mean, if I stood up straight, the board would make a long, gradual drift to the left. Close enough, I figured, I’m ready for the chair lift.

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A Ritual Complete: Montana Snowbowl’s Last Day

The beginning of April signifies many things for different people: Easter and chocolate bunnies, rebirth and renewal, and, of course, the tail-end of Montana Snowbowl’s lease with the U.S. Forest Service. In some circles, the latter event involves almost as much ritual and tradition as religious ceremonies. Folks came up to “The Bowl” in colors and costumes of all kinds to celebrate—and properly mourn—the end of the ski season on Sunday, April Fool’s Day. Bikinis, fur coats, pirate costumes, Hawaiian shirts, evening gowns, and plenty of crazy hats decorated the slopes. Discarded capes, pajamas, '80s outfits and boas littered the slushy snow around the Last Run Inn as revelers soaked up the spring sun (and the remaining Snowbowl beer) after removing their skis and snowboards for the last time.

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You Made It (in Missoula) Winner: Double-Blacks on the First Date

I think the moral of this month's winning "You Made It" story might be: avoid the double-black diamonds until the relationship can withstand some awkward falls and bruised egos. What do you all think about daredevil, recreation-based first dates? Stay tuned for the next "Making it in Missoula" column on the conundrum of fancy versus funky: first dates in Missoula. Congrats to H-Factor--relish that Bitterroot Flower Shop bouquet and bottle of Ten Spoon wine. -Big Sis I should have known from the start it would end badly, what with he on a snowboard and me on skis. Nonetheless, I thought a first date at Lost Trail Ski Resort would be a good day of a "getting-to-know-you" on the slopes. I'd met McRib (my Lost Trail date) in Helena at a mutual friend's birthday party in Helena the weekend before, and we'd hit it off and decided to go skiing the next weekend. He drove over to meet me in Missoula, and we had great conversations on the drive down. After a couple of non-eventful warm-up runs, I convinced him to join me on Lost Trail's expansion hill, where I wanted to do some double diamonds. McRib assured me he was up for it. As we headed down the double-black Hollywood Bowl, he dropped ahead of me into some trees. But when I came up behind him a minute later, he was lying dazed in the snow.

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Shredding in Missoula

Winter in Missoula means fewer bikers on the road, leaving only the most courageous to face the icy mud while the rest of us make a run for the bus stop. It means endless holiday parties, mostly raising money for the 900 non-profits and good causes in this town. It means difficulty finding a table in the Old Post because everyone is still a little surprised that the overflow deck space is covered in snow (and because chairs mysteriously disappear on an increasing basis as the night progresses, leaving people standing helplessly at a table with no chairs and hovering expectantly over those with enough luck to find seating). But mostly, winter in Missoula means skiing. It’s time to move the inner tubes and mountain bike out of the way so you can put your various pairs of skis in the honored spot in the garage for easy access. Since moving to Missoula, I’ve experienced the phenomenon of never feeling badass enough. This town is a hub of extreme recreation, like Moab or the campgrounds of Joshua Tree. And so, in an attempt to extend my hard-core image (read: I can only climb a 5.8), I learned to ski at Snowbowl, which is notorious for lacking green runs. Hot Fudge would never count anywhere else as a green with that dropoff in the middle. And, I hate to admit it, but the junior-high girl inside wants the shredder boys to like me.

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Backcountry Death Reported; Avalanche Experts Convene in Colorado

The buzz in the Colorado Rockies is all about the early season snowpack, ski area openings and October backcountry turns better than any in recent memory, according to locals like Scott Toepfer, a skier and avalanche forecaster with decades of experience in the mountains around Summit County. Already, several dozen slides have been reported or informally spotted, with more than 10 releases along the east side of the Tenmile Range, between Breckenridge and Frisco, Toepfer said. He added that warmer temperatures during the week helped settle the snow. Also in the Snowblog Grok today: The first backcountry fatality of the season occured this week; the annual Colorado Snow and Avalanche Workshop at Copper; and more early-season snowfall on the way. Click here for the full Grok.

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On Liftlines and Legacies

The birds are out in force in Boulder. They're singing loud enough that I don't need to set my alarm. The windows have been open all night and it's warm enough at 6AM to enjoy the sunrise without shivering. This morning's light offered a rainbow between me and the Flatirons. And I'm shedding the first layer of the season's first sunburn. Spring comes early this year in Boulder, or rather, there still seems like there's plenty winter to enjoy, especially after this winter. Several resorts closed last week, and with a few exceptions, most will stop the lifts and wish the Ski Patrol well after this weekend.

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Ski Cooper: Two Boys, Two Degrees, and One Run; Warming Up to the Terrain Park

Every time I've driven to Vail, I've passed the sign to Leadville and Ski Cooper. I'd heard about Leadville's long and storied history and its Victorian charm, and I had heard good things about Ski Cooper (Oscar's ski team raced there, but for some reason, we'd never been). I imagined a quaint mountain town and a solid family hill (or Hausberg) just over the rise from Copper. Mapquest tells me it's only 23 miles, but after dark on Friday night it felt much longer. The moon was nearly full, the sky clear, and with several inches of fresh snow, seemingly treeless hills, and snowplowed banks that dwarfed my car, the landscape had an eerie Shining-esque quality. Oscar's friend Kyle joined us that weekend, so backseat hilarity offset any serious horror-movie fears of the driver. What two joyous fifth graders couldn't offset was the actual chill in that kept my Jetta's heater maxed for the duration of the drive. Click here to see the video from the trip to Ski Cooper.

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Correction

Last week I mistakenly posted an old version of Sol Vista's trail map. Here's the correct one. Go get 'em! This week looks to bring more spring conditions, so don't forget your sunscreen and get a spring wax for your boards!

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Spring Snow, Night Snow, and a Question of Rules

It's been several weeks since we visited Sol Vista, but Oscar and I are still talking about the trip. Sol Vista had several family activities happening Saturday night, so we took it easy and avoided the early Saturday morning rush. The sun was out, the sky was clear, and a nice storm had passed through on Friday night. We crossed Berthoud Pass at about 11AM and found the pull-offs crowded with excited "back-country"* skiers thrilled by the conditions. Mary Jane's parking lots were so full that attendants waved latecomers to distant overflow lots, and a large line of cars waited to turn into Winter Park's main lot. Oscar and I tried not to gloat as we sped past the crowds for the final 15 miles to Sol Vista.

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