As you might suspect and as we imagine many of you do as well, we follow one zillion websites, media sources, etc. that cover and discuss the ski industry. Throughout the year we file away articles and releases that interest us, contain juicy information, or, in many cases, simply make us laugh. As I was searching for some particular information the other day I came across some of my favorite items I had saved. Without further ado…

SKI Survey Comments –  SKI, along with an annoying number of other publications, puts out annual lists of the best, the steepest, the “this” and the “that” regarding ski resorts. Many times these lists befuddle us because, as you might imagine, we have our definite opinions about many of the matters covered by such lists. We will give SKI credit for their list of the best liked resorts because it is based on feedback from their readers instead of one person’s whackadoodle views on a resort being the best because they serve good cheeseburgers. And they have a sense of humor. In December they released a sampling of some of the funny/odd comments readers made. Apparently some folks want lunch served before 10:30 AM and others want the party noise kept down so they can nap mid afternoon. Read the compiled list here: SKI’s Funniest Reader Comments

Lift News – If you love ski lifts you need to follow Peter Landsman’s LiftBlog website. It apparently isn’t enough that his primary job is as a lift supervisor at Jackson Hole. His love for lifts led him to establish a blog basically relating to lifts only. And seemingly he can’t write about them until he has ridden them. He claims to have ridden almost every lift in the country – roughly 2,400 lifts at 480 resorts.  The New England Ski Journal wrote an article in January in which Peter expounded on his favorite and least favorite lifts in the Northeast. We were heartened to see he adores the Mad River Glen single chair as much as we do, but dismayed to read that he loves the new 8 pack at Sunday River in Maine. We haven’t ridden it, but can only imagine the hell it creates by putting that many more people at once on the trails. Read the article here: New England Lifts

Black Mountain Closes; No wait, Strike That – We love the independent ski areas, particularly the family/community hills. While we have never skied there, we have always heard good stuff about Black Mountain in New Hampshire. Its reputation as a community focused place means we don’t need to ski there to love it. Thus, we grimaced when we read in mid October that it was closing. Stated reasons included high energy costs, staffing shortages and lousy weather.  Within a week though their fortunes changed and with the help of the Indy Pass they announced that they would open this season. See Black Mountain Closes; No Wait

Snowmaking in the Summer? – No, but one of the potential advancements in making fake snow might allow snow to be made at slightly higher temperatures and simultaneously reduce the cost by making systems more efficient.  Depending on humidity levels, snow can be made when temperatures are at or near 32 degrees. But humidity levels need to be quite low for that to work and typically temps need to be 28 degrees or lower. A snow laboratory (yes, they exist) in Spain (which has been hit hard with warm temps and drought the last several winters) is experimenting with a new snow making technique which combines a naturally occurring mineral to the process. Initial results indicate that it would allow snow to be made at slightly higher temps and be 10-15 percent more efficient. Read in more detail here: Fake Snow at Warmer Temps

Has the Mega Pass Ruined Skiing? – As you may know from reading other articles from us, we are not a fan of the conglomeration of the ski industry. Connected with that is the takeover of the mega passes – specifically, the Epic and Ikon passes. Hence we love to see articles that agree with us on this crucial point, and perhaps nobody has done a better job on this than Slate, the online magazine which is curiously owned by the Washington Post. One sad wrinkle in their article – they point to A-Basin as a hopeful counter point to the mega passes. Oh well… since they say it better than we could read the article here: Epic Fail

Who’s Steepest – Having been a tad critical above of SKI’s best of type lists, we will close with a nod to their list of the top ten most challenging Western resorts.  We’ve been lucky enough to ski at nine of the areas on their list, having failed to make it to Mammoth yet. It is hard to fault their list which is in the following order – Mammoth; Alta; Telluride; Pallisades; Snowbird; Crested Butte; Arapahoe Basin; Big Sky; Jackson; and Taos. We can’t think of any major area that has been left off this list. But it is fun to tinker with the order. When one focuses on the amount of steeps at a resort, we tend to think Snowbird and Alta should be ranked more favorably, but we admit a bias there (especially having never skied Mammoth). And the downside of steeps is you need deep snow to cover these pitches. We agree that Crested Butte and Big Sky have some impressive terrain, but our experience is that their typical snowfall of 300 inches or less a year leaves too many of the steeps at these areas unskiable for much of the season. See the complete article (with pros and cons for each area) here: Most Challenging Western Resorts

Be Well; Ski Well.

conSKIerge co-founder

Kevin Dennis is a life long ski bum with a 34 year legal career on the side. Now retired, he skis 80+ days a year. While he lives in Alta UT in the winters, he has traveled extensively through skiing and has skied almost every major resort in North America (and many you have never heard of). He continues to hit the road often throughout the western United States and Canada and trips over the last several years have included ventures in British Columbia, Montana and Colorado. Whether you want to know about the behemoths like Aspen or Squaw or are interested in the road less travelled (Lost Trail Powder Mountain in Montana or Whitewater in BC anyone?), Kevin has been there, has an opinion and you will most likely have to tell him to shut up after a half hour!