The Base Grind: December 16th

Watch your swing.

Front Range Ski Train?

To the delight of environmentalists and anyone who's sat in I-70 traffic, this Thursday the Colorado Department of Transportation met with potential suppliers of advanced transit systems, from mag-lev trains to individual on-demand pod-style trains, which are specifically designed to make it up the steep Front Range in foul weather. There's some pretty cool and futuristic options on the table and all of them would cut down on the hordes of polluting SUVs currently damning snowfall.

The catch is that while many of them fund themselves once opened through ticket sales, the $15-58 million per mile construction costs would have to be covered by the state. Colorado skiers should really be advocating for the allotment of future tax revenue from their marijuana purchases towards the construction. Whatever happens, train lines will have to be defended from the militia Colorado Mountain Express will surely hire in order to protect their monopoly over I-70 ski transit.

Bootpacking Highlands

For a ski town known for pampering the elite, they sure know how to beat the shit out of down-trodden ski bums. Highlands Bowl is opening this weekend after hordes of ski bums marched up and down it through waist-deep snow, for 8.5 hours at a time, in order to compact and break up the early-season snow layers and make the Bowl less avalanche-prone for the season. Did we mention they were doing this at 12,000 feet before their ski legs were in shape, and had to do it for 15 days in order to earn a free season's pass? I think I'd rather steal from my grandparents, buy my pass, and deal with the subsequent moral torture. Kudos to anyone who does it, and make sure to thank any one that you meet this weekend.

New Lift at the 'Bird

The New Little Cloud. PHOTO: SNOWBIRD

Snowbird opened a high-speed quad version of the Little Cloud chairlift this weekend, which should give skiers faster access to the summit without getting in the Tram line. It also will assuage an earlier fear of this author, who got his backpack caught in the cheesegrater bars of the old double chair and was dragged around the upper bullwheel.

Climate Change... It's Ugly

The New York Times recently featured a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Protect Our Winters, which worked to anticipate the effects of global warming/climate change on ski resorts across the US in the next thirty year. By 2039, no ski area in Connecticut or Massachusetts is expected to be economically viable, and only 7 out of New Hampshire's 18, 8 out of Maine's 14, and 9 out of New York's 36 will be. Out West, Park City could lose its entire natural snowpack, and Aspen's snowpack could be confined to the top sliver of the hill. If you want to do something about it, this author highly suggests calling your Senator and demand that climate change policy be a priority of their term, or more specifically, that a carbon tax swap (trading an increase in the payroll tax, say, for a carbon tax instead) be a part of fiscal cliff negotiations. Or, we could keep rolling like the good-times community we've always been...

No Street Ski at Breck Dew Tour


While management decided to install at street jib course in downtown Breckenridge for a "streetstyle" contest this weekend, only snowboarders are allowed to compete. I guess all those lame switchups and future spins we've been doing on rails all this time don't translate too well to TV views?

Bode Miller in the Dog House for Errant Golf Shot

Renowned downhill racer and golfing enthusiast Bode Miller may be in for a long dry spell in the bedroom ever since accidentally nailing his wife in the eye with a golf ball going 160 mph during a round of couples' golf this week. Morgan Beck's injury required 50 stitches to repair. Could be a boon for sunglass maker Kaenon, however, since the direct impact to the SR-91 polarized lenses Beck was wearing at the time of the accident did not shatter. Bet someone at Oakley marketing is kicking themself right now.