You have got some great moves. Really, you must. Because with the storms that have been pounding us here in Colorado, it’s clear that there must be some seriously stylin’ snowdancing going on…
We all knew this storm meant business. I knew it, my fellow skiers and snowboarders knew it, and this crazed-looking guy from the weather channel definitely knew it:
Sure, there was a big winter storm headed for Colorado, but where was it going to hit, and when? Living in the southwest corner of the state, it’s often feast-or-famine; when the front range ski resorts are getting pounded, sometimes we’re dry as a bone. But my fears vanished when I saw the next image from our deranged, bald meteorologist.
Greetings, all, and welcome to winter. I know a bunch of resorts have been open for a while already, but it’s finally starting to actually feel like winter too. Not only does it feel like winter, but the snow-gods have made it look like winter too. Want proof? Check out the snow report. That’s at least 11 resorts that are open with fresh snow. Bam. Like I said, welcome to winter.
We’ve barely made it to the first headwall of the Outhouse on Mary Jane before we’re stopped by an adoring fan.
“Hey, are you, like, Bob?”
Yes, he is.
If you’re a gear geek and recovering ski bum like myself (and, I presume that you are, since you’re here) the prospect of unlimited free stickers is enough to drive cross country, call in sick to work, and lie about your profession in order to get access to the biggest ski and snowboard tradeshow in America, the Snowsports Industries America trade show in Denver, CO.
Thankfully, you don’t have to claim to be a Bosnian journalist to get in – Colorado Ski Country’s got all the goods, right here, free.
My goal today is to take the pulse and gain access to the heartbeat of the snowsports industry: Colorado-based companies. I’ve got my press credentials, my camera and a full cup of coffee. Game on.
First stop is FlyLow Gear. The good folks at FlyLow keep me looking, uh, fly on the slopes. Founded by Colorado skiers looking for gear rugged enough to hold up to their demands, they put a different spin on nature vs. nurture success story; nature did the nurturing, and the result is a very cool and fast-growing company.
Another company based in CO is Native Eyewear. They’re so busy today that their PR person can’t talk to me. I snap some photos, marvel at their shade(s) tree, and move along.
A distant corner of the tradeshow thumps with bass. Music blares, beers are cracked open at 2pm, and the amount of stickers increases exponentially. I’ve wandered in to the snowboarding zone.
Venture Snowboards is a proud mom-and-pop shop from Silverton. They’re globally revered for the quality and aesthetics of their boards, all of which come in a split board option. I’ve had the pleasure of riding handcrafted wagons, drinking bizarre Indian beers, and taking bellydance lessons alongside the folks from Venture, and can personally verify that these are pure Coloradans, producing a pure Colorado product.
The last stop I make before heading to Winter Park to ski bumps is at the Icelantic booth. Here is another company taking the passion, culture, and geography of Colorado and producing an amazing product. I’ve been riding the Nomads all year, and have found them to be pretty close to a one-ski-quiver.
Ben, Icelantic’s founder, tells me he took a community-focused approach when he started the company, and it’s been fun to stay in Colorado, build skis, and watch the company grow. He’s not the only one.
-John Trousdale, Mountain Correspondent, Colorado Ski Country USA
I’m scanning the radio on my car for a weather report as I drive through the quaint mining town of Glenwood Springs, Colorado, on my way to Sunlight Mountain Resort. There’s a skiff of something resembling snow on the road – just enough to make things extra slippery. I land on a local station just in time for the snow report.
“Sunlight reporting eighteen inches overnight.” says the DJ.
As I pull of I-70 to find my hotel, I begin to suffer from cognitive disconnect. Just outside Grand Junction, the town of Palisade, Colorado is beautiful, but not in a typical ski-town type of way. And from the looks of things, skiing isn’t the biggest game in town. Red sandstone bluffs frame a valley blanketed with vineyards. The hotel where I’m staying is called the Wine Country Inn. I’m told when at check in that my room has a vineyard view. Don’t get me wrong, I love a glass of wine now and then, but I thought I was here to ski…