Week In Review August 23: Kim Jong-Un’s Ski Area and Jeff Curry Surprise

Gay Ski Week civil union, Moonlight & Big Sky merger, and new Aspenwalk owners

Kim Jong-Un's Ski Area Hampered by Heavy Rains & The Swiss

Swiss miss. PHOTO: Courtesy North Korea Economy Watch

Swiss miss. PHOTO: Courtesy North Korea Economy Watch

The portly North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un will have to wait even longer to trim his waistline by ripping GS turns on the Hermit Kingdom's first "world-class" ski resort, Masik Pass Skiing Grounds. Torrential seasonal rains in July dropped 16 inches on the area and poor run-off management, due in part to ill-conceived clear-cutting of mountainsides for ski trails, caused landslides that clogged drainage ditches, hampering construction efforts at the ski area while flooding local farms. Jong-Un received further bad news when Switzerland put the kibosh on North Korea's attempt to buy a $7.5 million chairlift system from a Swiss company. The neutral country promptly added "infrastructure for sporting facilities" on its list of banned export to North Korea. The list also includes equipment for golf, horseback riding, water sports, billiards and casinos, as well as luxury watches, jewelry, caviar, perfume and art.

Jeff Curry

Jeff Curry is the latest best skier you may not have ever heard of, as he sits on a Line team stacked eyeball-deep with talent. We want more! Jeff also recently started his own suspender company, TreeFort Lifestyles, which have kind of a play on the military suspender aesthetic, and are made right here in the US of ‘cotdamn A.

Gay Ski Week to Host Civil Union Ceremony This Winter

New for this year's annual Gay Ski Week in Aspen will be a group civil union ceremony, which will take place on January 18 in Aspen's Wagner Park at the base of Aspen Mountain. Since Colorado passed a law recognizing civil union in May, couples can even make it legal by filling out paperwork at the Pitkin County Clerk's office in town.

More Details on Moonlight & Big Sky Merger

New beginner terrain for passholders!

New beginner terrain for passholders!

CrossHarbor Capital Partners and Boyne Resorts, joint owners of the newly-merged Moonlight Basin and Big Sky ski areas, told the Lone Peak Lookout this week that people who'd already bought a season pass to one of the two resorts would only be able to access that hill for the upcoming season, but consider it "highly likely" that they'll offer an upgrade with access to both mountains for a discounted rate. As well, they revealed that the 207 acres of beginner and intermediate terrain and three lifts that formerly made up the Club at Spanish Peaks' private ski area before that closed in 2011 would be re-opened as part of Big Sky this winter, and that all passholders will be able to ski there.

Aspen's Infamous Ski Bum Slum Gets New Owner

Despite the new owners, the smell of dirty long underwear will continue to permeate the air around Aspenwalk.

Despite the new owners, the smell of dirty long underwear will continue to permeate the air around Aspenwalk.

The Aspenwalk building at 404 Park Avenue, a dilapidated set of structures that has provided cheap(ish) lodging for Aspen ski bums since the 60s, got a new owner this week, Bald Mountain Development, who plans to renovate the property and use its affordable housing qualifications as a bargaining chip with the city as it seeks to reduce the amount of affordable housing it must construct to get a different project at the base of Aspen Mountain's Lift 1A approved. The previous owners foreclosed on the property when one of them, Minnesota businessman Tom Petters, was convicted in a $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme, the third biggest hedge fund fraud in US history. Petters had fooled investors into giving his company money to sell electronics to big-box retailers, but used the money to pay back other investors, fund a lavish lifestyle, and spend $12.67 million of the cash on the Aspenwalk building back in 2007.

New East Coast Glades

Whiteface announced it's adding a new 1,500-foot long, 4.7 acre gladed trail that is unnamed as of press date, but which will cut skier's right halfway down Hoyt's High off Lookout Mountain. As well, Maine's Sunday River added 75 acres of new terrain over the summer, consisting of five new glades – North Woods, Super Nova, Poppy Fields, and extensions to Chutzpah and Hardball – as well as a new 15-acre terrain park, T72. In unrelated East Coast ski industry news, Jay Peak announced it's going to be the host of the 2016 Porsche Parade, which will bring in 2,000 Porsche owners in from across the country. That means locals can have their greasy long beards and enjoy their backwoods Vermont lifestyle for another three seasons.

Know Your Roots: The First Winter X Games Ski Big Air

Hark, it's the ’90s! Yes, they were a simpler time: it was the first time Ski Big Air was in the Winter X Games, half the field didn't have twin-tips, and Johnny Moseley didn't even have goggles. JF Cusson won with the ugliest switch 720 in professional skiing history, and the TV commentators didn't even know what to focus on; instead of Mega-Mo, there was a little bar that showed how far down the landing each skier went.