No. of Recommendations: 33
Hello fellow snow-lovers!

On The Hill

What can I say - opening day at Loveland was perfect, just perfect - blue skies, warm temps and beautiful mountains. We made an easy day of it, showing up pretty late. The early skiers were already heading out so we got front row parking. Front row parking is a sign of good karma. We hopped onto the chair for our first run of the season at high noon. No gloves, no jacket - just a song in my heart.

Since my karma was so good, there was no lift line that afternoon. I skied for an hour and forty minutes and did five runs. We won't talk about what terrible shape I'm in. The snow was just great. The skis felt weird on the first two runs and then everything started to click. Confidence was running high - I started hitting the little bumps straight on to get some airtime. Uh-oh, landed a little too far in the back seat and I'm skiing in a full squat! Can I pull up out of it? No way. Down for the count. First wipeout of the season. Mountain-1, Miriam-0.

Time to see if they're keeping the beer cold. It sure was dark in the bar so I took my Tecate outside. I guess I could've taken off my sunglasses. Better outside at the picnic tables though, nice people, dogs, U2 on the airwaves. Unfortunately, at Loveland the picnic tables aren't in sight of the lower runs so I couldn't watch people coming down the hill. Maybe they'll set something up later in the season. Nice view of the mountain tops though. Did you know there's a killer view of the mountains from the ladies room?

There were just enough people on Saturday to make it interesting, but not a crowded madhouse. There was a guy with one leg and a cowboy hat - he was skiing fast. How did he keep that hat on? There was the standard contingent of young guys skiing REALLY fast, but none of them were out of control except one silly pre-teen on snowblades. Everybody yelled at him but I was getting a kick out of watching his major wipeouts. There was a skier throwing 360s off of nothing! So cool. One girl was learning how to snowboard. She was really tentative, but she'll find her groove soon. I heard that earlier in morning the nation's number three-ranked snowboarder in boarder-cross was there getting filmed. I don't know what he was getting filmed on 'cause there wasn't much for terrain.

My favorite person of the day was a tele-girl. All the tele-girls have the most wonderful healthy fresh-scrubbed glow. I guess it's from sweating out all those toxins. She was really good too. I talked to her for a while and asked her what it took to get where she was. She said she had started back in '93 and did 47 days last year. Very impressive. I have to say that her commitment showed in her relaxed style and grace. It was pure art watching her come down the hill. Telemark skiing is the Zen snow sport.

All in all it was a great day. I can't think of a thing I would have changed, except that I wish my ski pants hadn't shrunk over the summer.

Chatter: Snowmaking

For me, the hissing sound of snow guns belongs to Autumn just as much as the sound of lawn mowers belongs to summer days. Getting blasted in the face by those stinging crystals goes with the territory. And it's always a ton of fun when you can use one of those whale-backs as a ready-made jump. I love that first month or so of early-early season when all you have are man-made runs. It gives me a chance to ease back into the sport at my own pace without feeling pressured to ski the entire day. Also, everyone else on the hill is as much in love with the day as I am so there's a lot of bonding going on. We're the hard-core club.

Early season skiing gets its bad rap from the first days when natural terrain is opened. That's when you get the really thin coverage and scrape up your equipment. It always scrapes up mine anyway. The man-made runs are always perfectly covered and groomed. Technology at work.

Arapahoe Basin has been trying to get snowmaking for several years now. If they could get permission, they'd be able to stay open year round and also host the US Ski Team. Actually I heard somewhere that they did get permission, but I haven't seen anything happening yet. Unfortunately, there's a little problem with the water. If more volume is removed, like for snowmaking, it will increase the proportion of heavy metals in the supply that ultimately heads down into our very own front-range water taps. Is A-Basin polluting? NO! That pollution comes from mine tailings from a hundred years ago. Water that is turned into snow for skiing does no harm to anyone - even if your dog pees on it. It's the water that gets left behind that is tainted. The water that could be used for skiing is needed to dilute stuff like lead. You can only have so many parts per billion before you start losing IQ points.

I don't know what the solution to the mine tailing issue is - I expect that cleanups cost multiples of millions of dollars. And who are you going to go after - the owners of the old Paris Mine? I just want a solution that allows my favorite sport to keep on cruisin'. When nighttime temperatures go below freezing, it's time to fire up the guns.

News & Real Deals

I got a wax and edge job for $5 from a nice guy named John at Loveland. I asked him if he'd be doing it again next weekend and he told me that it all depended on the snow. I think he's going to be waiting a while yet for a powder day, so you can probably get the same deal.

Colorado Ski and Golf, over on Havana, is going to be moving next door into the old Best building early next month. That will give them a lot more space, which they need sooo bad. I think they're gonna start renting equipment once they get over there. In the meantime, they have a lot of stuff marked down. But then, they always have a lot of stuff marked down. That's my favorite store, for the selection, prices, and the great people. Now if only they would carry tennis equipment in the summertime.

A friend of mine is going to rent skis for the season. I called up Gart Bros (Arapahoe Rd) and all they had were straight skis. End of conversation. I then called up Christy Sports (Orchard Rd) and they have Volkl Zip shaped skis with boots, bindings, and poles for $269. They said you could also swap them out for a different length during the season. I don't know anything about these particular skis, but the price sounded pretty good. I think this is the best way to go if it's your first season.

We went over to Christy Sports to pick up the Aspen Gold Pass. Six days for $99. Can't beat that! If anyone hears about Ajax opening for snowboarding, even if it's just for a single day, please let me know! Now if only I could find a deal for Steamboat. Oh, for those who don't know it, Aspen Ski Co. is actually four different areas: Aspen, Buttermilk, Aspen Highlands, and Snowmass.

The Aspen card sign-up is over now, but Winter Park was also at Christy Sports and they'll be there every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to take your picture through November 12. They're still doing the bargain season pass and we picked up the $15 discount card. Lowest possible lift-ticket prices and every fourth day free. Yet another good deal.

Don't forget that Vail Resorts is still at Colorado Ski and Golf and is offering the Colorado Pass for $299. They still have the buddy pass for $40 less. This coming weekend is the end of that deal - so hurry up!

November 2-5 is the annual SnowSports Expo at the Colorado Convention Center. I haven't missed this one yet. It's a fun day and a great way to get psyched up for the season. I met Nikki Stone there and got a signed poster - maybe you remember her winning Olympic Gold at Nagano. If you plan to go, you should print out this coupon, http://www.denverpost.com/skisnow/skisnow.htm, to get a $3 discount at the door. The entry fee pays for itself with a two-for-one early ski season day. This will also be a good chance to pick up equipment.

Keystone totally wimped out on the big Race for Opening Day this year. I called them up and they are firm about their October 27 startup. Also, Breckenridge was planning to open on October 27, but that's not gonna happen. They'll probably have to wait another week. This is the way it always goes, first A-Basin, then Keystone, and then Breckenridge. The other resorts take their sweet time.

We'll be at Keystone on Saturday, the 28th. I'm easy to spot with my cow-print hat and braids. My husband always wears his trusty blue helmet. As always, all of you are welcome to join us anytime for fun on the hill. Also, if you would like to stop receiving this email - just drop me a line.

Miriam
...See you on the slopes...

Please don't hesitate to let me know what you think of this report. What do you like? What don't you like?

Ski Areas

Arapahoe Basin Http://www.arapahoebasin.com/inside.php3
Aspen Ski Company Http://www.skiaspen.com/
Beaver Creek Http://www.beavercreek.com/
Breckenridge Http://www.breckenridge.com/
Berthoud Pass Http://www.berthoudpass.com/main.html
Copper Mountain Http://passes.ski-copper.com/Home.html
Loveland (1) Http://www.skiloveland.com/
Keystone Http://www.keystoneresort.com/
Vail Http://www.vail.com/
Winter Park/Mary Jane Http://www.skiwinterpark.com/

Shops

Colorado Ski & Golf
(303) 337-1734 2680 S Havana Street Aurora
(303) 420-0885 6530 Wadsworth Bypass # 130 Arvada
Gart Sports
(303) 741-9621 9000 E Peakview Avenue Englewood near Arapahoe Rd & I25
(303) 220-9933 2690 E County Line Road Littleton
(303) 692-0121 2496 S Colorado Boulevard Denver
(303) 340-3524 14401 E Exposition Avenue Aurora
(303) 341-4305 14200 E Alameda Avenue Aurora
(303) 333-4123 3000 E 1st Avenue # 123 Denver
(303) 333-1933 233 Milwaukee St Denver
(303) 933-9005 8055 W Bowles Avenue # 4 Littleton
(303) 972-0350 8501 W Bowles Avenue Littleton
(303) 861-1122 1001 Lincoln Street Denver (Sports Castle)
(303) 922-5549 7200 W Alameda Avenue Lakewood
(303) 431-8537 7400 W 52nd Avenue # A Arvada
(303) 920-2226 251 W 104th Avenue Denver
Christy Sports
(303) 708-8535 9609 E County Line Road # A Englewood
(303) 740-7055 5926 S Holly Street Englewood
(303) 321-3885 201 University Boulevard Denver
(303) 972-0432 8176 W Bowles Avenue Littleton
(303) 237-6321 875 Parfet St Lakewood
(303) 271-0155 14371 W Colfax Avenue Golden



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