Colorado snowpack 135% of average … and growing
Posted by sibylle in skiing, Colorado (Thursday December 30, 2010 at 4:21 pm)

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Sunrise, Lake Dillon and Tenmile Range

As I write, the blizzard outside is heaping snow up on my windows. The radio announced the recent snowpack levels - over 130% of average. Southern Colorado is enjoying even more of our white gold -

The Gunnison River basin ranges between 140 - 150%.

Larammie and North Platte river basins from 150 - 160%

Yampa and white River basins  - from 146 to 151%

Skiing has been good, and will undoubtedly get better.

German Christmas books again
Posted by sibylle in skiing, Germany, Europe, Colorado (Tuesday December 28, 2010 at 6:51 pm)

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In Germany, instead of reindeer pulling  the sled in which Santa rides, he walks through the night, an angel by his side. He carries the toys in a patched sack, while hiking through deep snow.

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On Christmas eve, December 24, the Christ child (Christkind, or Christkindl in Bavarian) brings presents for the children.

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The day after Christmas, the children  play outside, skating, sledding and trying their new skis.

I’ve definitely played outside most days on, and  after Christmas, on nordic or alpine skis!

When Tristan was growing up, I took Christmas day off work (teaching ski lessons) to ski with the family at Vail or Beaver Creek.

This year, Tristan has a broken leg, but we hope that he can try double-poling on the nordic track in Frisco on New Year’s Day.

Our German Christmas books
Posted by sibylle in books, films, photography, skiing, Germany, Colorado (Sunday December 26, 2010 at 6:40 pm)

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Der Kinder Weihnachtszeit

translates, roughly, as “the Children’s Christmas”

I grew up (near Stuttgart) with this book, and have read it to my son, now 20, since he was one year old.

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In Germany, Sankt Nikolaus (Santa Claus) comes on December 6 (Nikolaustag - Santa’s day) to bring children treats and goodies. Above, he first visits the animals of the forest to bring them their Christmas treats.

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Above, the children are making Christmas presents for their parents and siblings. Fritz is painting a picture for them; Grete knits a present. As a child in Germany, I learned to knit - we had handicrafts in school starting in 1st grade, and I started with making potholders. Soon, we advanced to socks, and when I was in my teens, I knitted sweaters for myself and friends.

That was the Germany of my childhood. I’ve lived in the US for a long time now, and don’t know if today children in Germany still make things for their family, or if that is a thing of the past.

When we immigrated to the United States, my Grandmother still kitted sweaters for me, and socks for my father. She baked our bread, and I learned to sew my own clothes.

Christmas makes me nostalgic for this simple childhood time, and I read my German children’s books aloud with my son. I’ll have to ask my cousins what Christmas is like in Germany today. One cousin still knits socks - she’s given several pair to my mother!

Merry Christmas, Fröhliche weihnachten!
Posted by sibylle in skiing, Germany, Colorado (Saturday December 25, 2010 at 8:38 pm)

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A-Basin’s Montezuma Bowl Open!
Posted by sibylle in skiing, Colorado (Sunday December 19, 2010 at 8:02 pm)

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Peak One, Tenmile Range

Snowfall last 24 hours:

A-Basin: 9″

Breckenridge: 11″

Keystone:  8″
Copper:  6″
Loveland: 9″

Crested Butte:  15″

Montezuma Bowl is open - its earliest opening in its four year history.

The  snowfall totals above are published data for 24 hours until this morning. On a personal note, I shoveled about 6 - 8 ” yesterday evening, and another at least 6″ this afternoon. I plowed our road this morning, and again this afternoon. It feels like there’s more snow on the ground than reported.

Tomorrow I’ll ski and will give an update on snow conditions.

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snow-covered windows

Vail’s EpicMix tracks vertical feet skied
Posted by sibylle in skiing, Colorado (Tuesday December 14, 2010 at 11:07 am)

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Sunset over Buffalo Mountain and Gore Range

This photo shows Buffalo from Summit county. To the right lies Red Mountain, part of the Gore Range - and on the other side of the Gore Range lies Vail.

This season Vail Resorts introduces its EpicMix technology,  a chip built into the season pass that measures the downhill feet skied at Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone, and Breckenridge, plus Heavenly Valley in California.
The chip records and tracks all vertical, lift rides, and awards EpicMix pins for riders who accomplish certain  goals - such as “Pow Hound”, “Outback”, etc. , EpicMix also can send data directly to your Facebook account  (if you choose to enable this option).

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Sunset, Tenmile Range on left, Buffalo on right

How does this work?

Radio scanners at the base of every lift, and RF chips in every season pass, enable EpicMix to track vertical feet skied.

When will it be ready?

They expect  the website to be active by Christmas 2010. EpicMix   has iPhone and Android apps for mobile access.

Privacy options:

Skiers  and boarders can opt in to EpicMix, opt in to sharing on Facebook, or can choose to not activate their EpicMix account.They can also choose to have the RF chip disabled at locations at each resort.

The Vail Daily reports mixed reactions - while some riders love to track their vertical, others hesitate to opt into what they perceive as “Big Brother” watching.

One advantage I see is that if a rider vanishes, the EpicMIx allows ski patrol and rescue to determine the last lift that person rode,   which reduces the amount of terrain that must be searched.

And, if you don’t want to be followed, you can always ask to have the chip removed.

Objections  come from people who may try to duck ropes to enter off limits terrain - however, the chip tracks lifts ridden, not which trails the users ride.

I personally probably won’t post to Facebook (unless I get some really awesome stats!), but will activate my account on the website, to satisfy my curiosity.

What do you think?

Will you activate your EpicMIx account?

Will you post your vertical feet to Facebook or Twitter?

I’d love to get your comments about yuor plans to use this new technology!

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Vail - Blue sky Basin open, Weezer in concert
Posted by sibylle in skiing, Colorado (Sunday December 12, 2010 at 1:32 pm)

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Departing storm over Gore Range - Red Mountain

We’ve received a fair amount of snow so far this season, and Vail has opened  Blue Sky Basin on December 3. The old chair 5 (High Noon Express)  serving the back bowls is being replaced by an express lift that halves the ride time to only 6 minutes. This chair serves the Sun-Up  and Sun Down Bowls.   I have to admit that when it was crowded, I’d escape to these bowls which generally got less traffic because people were less enthusiastic about riding a slower lift.

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Storm over Gore Range

While it will be nice to have a high speed quad serving this terrain, it will also encourage more people to ski these bowls, and my favorite place to escape crowds may not stay as uncrowded.

Vail celebrates “Snow Daze“  December 6 - 12, and Weezer will play in a free concert  today  at Ford Park.

Weezer
Ford Park, venue opens at 4 p.m.
Free. Bonfire opens at 4:30 p.m.

I really like Weezer, and am thinking of braving the cold to listen to them this afternoon.

Ermine in Summit County … and in the house
Posted by sibylle in Colorado, earthship (Tuesday December 7, 2010 at 1:31 pm)

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Ermine running across the floor

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Ermine running along the planter wall

The Summit Daily, our local paper, recently wrote about an ermine that visited a ski shop in Frisco.

Last year, an ermine weasel ran around my house and jumped  in the planter. At the time, I wasn’t sure what it was; but this story in the Daily, by Dr. Joanne Stolen, gives more information about ermine.

Apparently Mustela erminea is a type of weasel that eats mice and rodents. I already have a cat that eats those; but so long as the ermine doesn’t attack my cat, he can help out with the mice.

According to Stolen, the ermine, or short-tailed weasel, ranges from 8 - 10 inches. the coat changes color, turning white in winter.

They eat not only mice, but also devour animals much larger than them - including rabbits, porcupines, frogs, and birds (which made me worry about the cat).

I’m not sure if my house is now the location of one of its dens, or merely a part of its territory. I guess I’ll find out if little ermine start appearing next!

Ted Ligety wins gold in Beaver Creek WC Giant Slalom
Posted by sibylle in skiing, Colorado (Sunday December 5, 2010 at 7:53 pm)

It was worth getting up at 6:00 a.m., driving to Beaver Creek, and waiting on the cold bleachers to see Ted Ligety’s winning runs!

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Ligety on course

Photo by Vail Daily

We watched the first racers  from the bleachers at Redtail. Ligety skied 5th, bringing the fastest time on course. We waited while another top 10 or so racers skied to seee if any would match or beat his time, but none did.

Ted Ligety won the first run by an amazing margin of 0.36 seconds.

We next rode up the  Grouse mountain lift to ski down next to the race course, where we watched the racers flying by close up. We were directly below the gate, watching  the Finnish skier crash. I was relieved to see him get back up and ski down.

After watching the first 10 skiers or so from this vantage, we headed back to the bleachers to watch the final results. The Norwegian and Austrian men pushed Ligety to put forth his best effort by putting in some fast runs.
Ligety skied even faster on the second run, winning by 0.82 seconds for the combined runs; while the entire stadium stood and screamed.

Then, when I got home I heard that Lindsey Vonn won the Women’s  Super G in Canada.

World cup at Beaver Creek December 3- 5
Posted by sibylle in skiing, Colorado (Thursday December 2, 2010 at 9:18 am)

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2010 World Cup, Beaver Creek

The World Cup men’s Races will take place at Beaver Creek starting Friday December 3 through December 5. The Men’s Downhill comes first, on Friday December 3 at 11:00 am. They’ll race on the Birds of Prey downhill course, considered one of the World’s toughest.

In downhill training, Swiss Didier Cuche was fastest, with three Austrian men in the top 5. Bode Miller placed 8th.

The Men’s Super G follows on Saturday  December 4, again on one of the World’s best Super-G courses.

On Sunday is the  Men’s GS, with the first run at 9:45 am and the second run at 12:45 pm.

I’m really excited to see the world’s best men racing so close to home. It’s a preview for the World Alpine Ski Championships, which will be held at Vail and Beaver Creek in 2015.

The suggested racers to watch include Americans Bode Miller,  Ted Ligety, Steven Nyman, Andrew Weibrecht, plus previous three-time winner Swiss Carlo Janka.

The weather calls for a chance of snow each of the coming three days, so  we won’t enjoy bluebird days. On the other hand, we’ll look forward to great skiing ourselves!

Vail’s Blue Sky Basin is scheduled to open on Friday Dec. 3. I’ll be watching the WC races then, but hope to ski Vail on Monday or Tuesday.

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