Despite Awesome Billboard, SPY Optics Downsizes

What? They're talking about goggles. PHOTO: SPY OPTICS

SPY Optics has been in the news recently for controversial billboard they recently put up in Encinitas, California stating "Happy to sit on your face – SPY." I bet they didn't wish they had all the media attention just as they announced plans to let 20 employees go and switch to a distributorship model in Europe in order to reach a break-even point by the end of the fourth quarter of this year. It remains to be seen whether Ahmet Dadali will be forced to include answering phones and packing boxes in his 2013 contract with the eyewear brand.

Despite My Assertions, Resorts Plan Expansions

Taos' expansion plan. PHOTO: COURTESY TAOS

Despite asserting in an earlier article this summer that no new in-bounds terrain was on the way for North American skiers, several resorts made public new expansion plans in order to embarrass my journalistic integrity. Taos, New Mexico, plans to grow their expert terrain by a whopping 60 percent, Colorado's A-Basin plans on adding a new lift and 412 acres of steeps with the inclusion of The Beavers backcountry area into resort bounds, and Aspen/Snowmass plans to open 230 acres of previously gated terrain on Snowmass' Burnt Mountain. It remains to be seen whether the teepee on Burnt Mountain will remain once the terrain is opened to the public, and whether or not Aspen/Snowmass' stellar guest services department will serve oven-fresh Cloud Nine brownies to teepee visitors after they built up a hydroponic hunger within.

Collaborative Passes Trending Hard

On the heels of the announcement of The Mountain Collective pass—a joint partnership between icons Aspen/Snowmass, Alta, Jackson Hole, and Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows—less iconic Powderhorn Mountain Resort in Colorado has announced a season pass add-on called the Classic Pass, which allows Powderhorn passholders four days at Aspen/Snowmass for $204 for adults or $169 for kids, five days at Steamboat for $149, and three days at Telluride for $169. Powderhorn's adult season passes start at $349, and discounts for additional days at the partner resorts are included. Additionally, Mountain High, California passholders will be able to ride for free at both Sierra-at-Tahoe and Washington's Steven's Pass this winter, with pass prices starting at $299.

Tanner Takes NZ Open… Boom Boom Connect

<embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="400" height="300"></embed>

Only days after getting dropped by long-time sponsor Red Bull, Tanner Hall won his first halfpipe competition in four years at The North Face Freeski Open in New Zealand. After foggy conditions reduced the competition to one run each, Hall landed a solid run that gave him an 85.00, putting him 2.40 points ahead of one of his chief competitors for this upcoming season, Torin Yater-Wallace. Hall showed some renewed confidence during his post-run interview, telling his former sponsor to "look at me now."

New England Pass Sales, and Swell, are Up

After a devastating winter with summer-like temperatures during what are usually frozen and/or frozen and rainy winter months, New England ski resorts have some good news to smile about, as reports that pent-up demand from last season is leading to a boost in advance season pass sales, with several resorts from Loon to Sunday River reporting 10-20 percent increases in sales over this time last year. And after a dead-flat summer with not a hurricane in sight, New England surfers are in the midst of a weeklong groundswell that is sending head to overhead waves towards beaches from Maine to Rhode Island. That factoid in particular made the smile quotient on this writer's Friday particularly high.