On Tuesday, March 4th, Wolf Creek Ski Area Avalanche Technician and Senior Patroller Colin Sutton was caught in an avalanche while conducting an exploration and research mission via helicopter on Conejos Peak in the South San Juan Mountain Range. He was airlifted by a Medevac helicopter to the emergency room at Mercy Regional Hospital in Durango, Colorado where he was pronounced deceased at 4:30 PM.
Colin was a full time professional ski patroller at Wolf Creek for 12 years where he continuously excelled in his work. Colin was a National Ski Patrol Member, Basic Life Support and CPR Provider, Outdoor Emergency Care Provider, Certified Emergency Medical Technician, Certified Level III Avalanche Technician, State of Colorado Type I Explosives Permit Possessor, Snow Study Director at Wolf Creek Ski Area (AvTech), and a Colorado Rapid Avalanche Deployment Qualified Dog Handler with his black Labrador “Boca”.
Colin began skiing at Wolf Creek when he was three years old and his passion for the mountains took him around the world. He will be missed deeply by everyone at Wolf Creek Ski Area and throughout Colorado Ski Country.
By Kristen Lummis, braveskimom.com
There’s not a lot of night skiing in Colorado. We’ve got daytime skiing galore, arguably the best in the nation. But when it comes to nighttime, with the exception of after dark stalwarts Howelsen Hill and Ski Granby Ranch, the lifts shut down, the music cranks up and my family, well, we turn in early, so that we can click in early the next day. Still, I’ve always been intrigued with skiing under the lights. Why? Because the ticket is always cheaper, it extends the day, or allows us to ski after a busy day, and well, because it’s skiing.
1,100 Vertical Feet of Fun at Steamboat
This season, Steamboat turned on the lights and upped the scale of skiing at night, big time. When the switch was flipped on January 10th, Steamboat skiers and riders experienced 1,100 vertical feet of nighttime fun for the first time. Riding the Christie Peak Express, the base area six pack, the view with the lights is impressive, especially when you consider how much terrain is open. Skiers and riders have their choice of Sitz, See Me/See Ya, Vogue, Stampede and Lil’ Rodeo, as well as a fully lit terrain park. Best of all, the mountain grooms the night skiing terrain before reopening. You won’t be skiing on someone else’s freshly frozen track. It’s all corduroy.
The views from 8,000 foot Christie Peak at night are stunning, especially as the sun is setting. The skiing is fun, with a variety of black, blue and green runs, and the mood is festive. When we were there, on a warm Sunday night, we met a group of guys who had flown in only hours before. They were thrilled to be skiing and getting some bonus turns during their vacation. On another ride, we met a dad and his young son. They’d been skiing all day, taking a dinner break when the lifts closed, and were hard back at it. Finally, we met up with some locals who’d worked all day, and now were free to ski.
Night skiing and riding at Steamboat happens every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through March 30. With the longer days of spring, the hours shifted slightly and the mountain is now open from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
A One-Time Deal at Powderhorn?
South and west of Steamboat, Powderhorn Mountain Resort near Grand Junction also entered the realm of night skiing this winter, although perhaps only on a special-event basis. On the last weekend in February, the mountain stayed open until 9:00 p.m. for twilight skiing and under-the-lights fun. Presented by Wagner Rents, a Grand Junction company that provides lighting to the X Games, as night fell the resort limited the open terrain to the midway station of Chair One, and filled that chairlift to capacity.
While most of the action was on the resort’s jump line and in the terrain park, we saw young families, old-time locals, and lots of friends either on the snow, or in the lodge where there was music and a packed house. In the lift line, Powderhorn employees passed out glow sticks and chocolate. The atmosphere was total party. And while we didn’t make it over there, the bunny slope was also lit up and open, and from what I heard, it was…hopping (sorry!).
While night skiing at Powderhorn was a one-time deal for this season, the resort is offering $15 Fridays throughout March.
Chair One will stay open to the top of the mountain until 6:00 p.m. and tickets, and rentals, are only $15 each. The ski and ride school is offering a special one hour group lesson for $15 from 4:40-5:30, and the tubing park and bag jump are also open. It sounds like a good way to start a western Colorado weekend.
Talking with resort marketing manager Dave Smith in early February, he shared the resort’s rationale. “It just seems like a good thing to do in Spring with the longer days. We’ll keep the lifts open longer, and make it affordable for everyone to come up and enjoy.”
On March 19-23, the world’s best snowboarders will descend on Aspen, Colorado to try their hand on a halfpipe (or two) that is unlike anything ever seen before. For the first time ever, two competition-spec halfpipes will be constructed side-by-side, complete with rails, wallrides, channels and other unique features sprinkled throughout the custom built snow feature. Located at the base of Buttermilk Mountain, the ‘double pipe’ will allow riders to transfer back and forth between the two halfpipes in a single run, opening up an endless number of potential lines and combination of tricks that are not possible in traditional halfpipe contests. Riders will be judged not only on their technical abilities, but even more importantly, on their style, creativity and use of the course. The Red Bull Double Pipe contest will air on NBC, Saturday April 12 at 2pm EST, as part of the Red Bull Signature Series, and spectators are encouraged to attend the live contest at Buttermilk as the event will be free and open to the public.
“A ‘Double Pipe’? Are you kidding me? Two side-by-side halfpipes with transfers and options all over?? This is the kind of thing that our team at SPT has been dreaming about, and only a company like Red Bull can bring something like this to life,” says Chris Gunnarson, President & Founder of Snow Park Technologies, the leading designers and builders of snow parks, pipes and event courses around the world. “It’s one thing to design this concept on a computer, but the build plan for something this immense already has our heads spinning. It’s so rad to see a project like Red Bull Double Pipe break the mold with such a super progressive event on this scale.”
Each halfpipe will be over 550’ long, approximately 68’ wide, and 22’ tall with an approximate 4’ wide spine located in between each pipe. Including the outside walls, the Red Bull Double Pipe will be 180’ wide and over 550’ long, making it the largest halfpipe feature built to date.
“Progression is a beautiful thing,” says John Rigney, V.P. of Sales and Events, Aspen Skiing Company. “It’s always incredibly exciting having the best athletes in the world competing here in Aspen/Snowmass, but to see this select group tackle an entirely new challenge at Buttermilk right here in our backyard is going to be amazing. We are proud to partner with Red Bull on another groundbreaking event.”
The Buttermilk superpipe, Government’s expert jump line and Spruce Park are closed until further notice for the build and event, but there are still over 100 park features on Buttermilk that are open to the public on Teaser, Uncle Chucks, Jacob’s Ladder and S3 on Red’s Rover run. An intermediate jib line will be re-opened on Spruce prior to and during the competition. Buttermilk plans to have the Double Pipe open for public use following the event. Please note that the Snowmass superpipe and jump line are open daily for park and pipe skiers and riders.
The Red Bull Double Pipe event format, schedule, and a complete list of riders will be announced shortly. In the meantime, please go to www.redbull.com/doublepipe and www.redbull.com/snow for updates on other snowboarding athletes, events and projects in the world of Red Bull.
There’s nothing like feeling the G-forces of a true carve on a groomed run, or feeling like you’re flying while floating on deep powder. And, there’s nothing like getting smacked down onto a patch of ice when you can’t hold an edge, or getting stuck on a catwalk because you have no wax. It’s not you. It’s your gear.
The tuning techs at Christy Sports have plenty of tricks up their sleeves to keep your skiis and boards in great shape. They have machines that can flatten your base and impart a solid structure. They have experts on hand who can manually sharpen your edges and coat your base with wax for the current snow conditions. We got to go behind the scenes to learn what’s the big deal about ski tuning?
Did you know that the Colorado snow is so dry that it actually creates a static charge? Adding a layer of graphite when your waxing can get rid of the static, so you don’t feel like you’re skiing on styrofoam.
Did you know that before you get out your bike for the summer and put your skis and boards away for the season, you should put a coat of storage wax on your base? If you forget, the base will oxidize and your skis and boards won’t be as fast and won’t be able to absorb wax as well.
There’s lots to learn if you want to get super techy, but the basics are fairly simple: keep your gear maintained, just like you would take care of your car. Your skis and boards won’t run well if you don’t keep them in shape. Whether you have tuning parties with your buddies, or take your equipment to the ski techs at Christy Sports, a fresh coat of wax and sharp edges will go a long way! See for yourself:
The remarkable 2013-14 ski season in Colorado continued this weekend as Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) resorts enjoyed another new round of snowfall. This most recent storm was widespread, blanketing the high country in fresh snow just in time for skiers and snowboarders to enjoy great conditions over the first weekend of March.
Since Thursday, CSCUSA resorts have enjoyed an average of 17 inches of new snow. Eighteen CSCUSA resorts enjoyed double-digit snow totals over the weekend, and five resorts enjoyed more than two feet of powder.
Resorts in the southwest of Colorado fared particularly well, as Wolf Creek celebrated 37 inches of new snow in the space of three days. Silverton recorded 33 inches of fresh powder, Durango Mountain Resort saw 27 inches, and snowriders at Telluride enjoyed 17 inches of new snow.
Further north, Loveland and Crested Butte also broke through the two-foot threshold with 25 inches and 24 inches of snow, respectively. Arapahoe Basin received 18 inches, and Copper Mountain and Winter Park each saw 17 inches of fresh powder. Ski Cooper saw 15 inches, Eldora and Monarch Mountain each received 14 inches of new snow, and Ski Granby Ranch accumulated 7 inches of powder,
To the west, Aspen Highlands measured 19 inches of new snow, Snowmass registered 14 inches, Aspen Mountain, Powderhorn, Steamboat, and Sunlight Mountain Resort all enjoyed 11 inches of snow, Buttermilk registered 6 inches, and Howelsen recorded 4.5 inches.
Conditions across Colorado Ski Country are in prime shape as March begins, historically Colorado’s snowiest month. Significant additional accumulation is expected this coming Tuesday and Friday. Knowing how to ski safely in deep snow is essential to having a fun day out in the powder. Visit http://www.coloradoski.com/page/ski-safety for helpful tips and to learn Your Responsibility Code, the list of best practices to ensure your safety on the mountain.
Keep up to date on snowfall totals with the CSCUSA snow report updated by the resorts themselves: http://www.coloradoski.com/snow-report.
It would be hard to beat a perfect day snowboarding down endless fields of powdery bliss—unless, of course, you arrive by HELICOPTER! Goodbye chairlift lines, hello heli!
Tucked away in the majestic San Juan Mountains, Silverton Mountain offers a wonderful guided backcountry experience all within the confines of resort boundaries. It’s not for everyone, but for anyone who’s very capable on skis or a board and looking for an adventure, Silverton takes it to the next level. They promise run after run of advanced and expert terrain, steep vertical drops and an annual average snowfall of 400+ inches!
That said, you sure do earn your turns. There is only one chairlift, so be prepared to hike in high altitude, knowing your tuckered out self will have a good rest the night after. There are very limited facilities, so be prepared to pack a lunch and on occasion, leave yellow snow.
Of course, this is all part of the true adventure of Silverton, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Where else can you ride in a helicopter, UPS truck, and prison bus, all in the same day? Be sure to check out my Silverton experience heliboarding and be warned, you may find yourself booking your next trip right away.