Blue Bird ski days at A-Basin
Posted by sibylle in skiing, Colorado (Saturday January 29, 2011 at 1:16 pm)

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Looking at the East Wall from top of Palavacchini

Sun and perfect weather made for great skiing the last few days at Arapahoe Basin. We skied the Montezuma Bowl, which opened the earliest ever, and the East Wall.
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View toward East Wall

The avalanches in the photo  were triggered by ski patrol “bombs” shot by a large grenade launcher near the base of the ski lift. Patrol bombs the slopes after each large storm to trigger avalanches before the skiers trigger them.

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Top of Montezuma Bowl

It had been cold overnight, so we skied the sunnier, south-facing Montezuma Bowl in the morning. Montezuma Bowl can now be entered from two places - the top of the Lenawee Mountain lift, by heading left and hiking slightly uphill to the Montezuma Bowl ‘Zuma’ lift, which is the main access to the blue runs, Larkspur and Columbine.

Alternatively, from the top of the Norway lift, traverse right past the ski patrol cabin to an entrance that leads along the Zuma cornice to various double black runs down the chutes. We skied ‘Schauffler’, the fourth chute we reached. After a steep, tricky entrance, the chute is fairly easy skiing - easier than many of the alleys on the front side and much, much easier than the North Pole chutes.

I think A-Basin needs to improve their rating system at the high end, because if someone, after skiing the Zuma cornice gulleys then heads off to ski the front side alleys (like Waterfall, not on the map, but I’ve skied it), they could get into trouble.

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Schauffler  - quite wide, and not too steep

North Pole hiking terrain remains closed, until more snow fills in the rocks. I skied two of the chutes a few years ago, and found them much steeper, narrower, and scarier than anything I’ve yet skied in the Montezuma Bowl, though I haven’t yet skied the tree runs at the far end (Winning Card, etc.).

International Snow Sculpture Championships, Breckenridge
Posted by sibylle in skiing, Colorado, Canada and PNW (Thursday January 27, 2011 at 2:34 pm)


2009 1st place  by Team Canada, Yukon

“Family Reunion”  - elders dance and swirl

This week, teams from all over the world are carving large blocks of ice into fabulous shapes this week as part of the 21st annual Budweiser Snow Sculpture Championships.

Judging will take place on Saturday, January 29, and the snow sculptures will remian until February 6.


2010 winner by Team Lithuania


2008 winner by Team China

“Hunting in Winter”

For more images see:

2009 sculptures

2010 sculptures

Vonn’s training helps her win Super-G in Cortina
Posted by sibylle in Italy, skiing, women, Europe (Monday January 24, 2011 at 7:48 pm)


Lindsey Vonn on her way to win the Super-G

AP photo

Vonn beat her closest competitor, Maria Riesch, by 0.05 seconds to win her second Super-G only a day after spraining her MCL during the Cortina Downhill race.

Riesch won the Downhill, during which Vonn lost control and narrowly avoided crashing.

I watched videos of both the Downhill and the Super-G and found her recovery from the near crash close to miraculous.

Vonn ascribes her ability to recover - and also her tendency to nearly crash — to being much stronger as a result of her training program.

Vonn trains 6 - 8 hours daily, 6 days per week, including 3 hours of cardio, often riding a bike uphill in the alps.

Her workout includes squats, deadlifts, and cleans.

AP photo of Vonn - Val-d’Isere Downhill

At 5′10″ and weighing 160 pounds, Vonn is also one of tallest and heaviest  female racers, and this size gives her an advantage in Downhill races.

Lindsey Vonn wins 2 out of 3 in Italy
Posted by sibylle in Italy, skiing, women, Europe (Sunday January 23, 2011 at 9:24 pm)


Julia Mancuso racing the Super-G

Photo from Getty images

Vonn  won the Super-G in Cortina, Italy on January 21, with  teammate Julia Mancuso in fourth place.

On Saturday, January 22, Maria Riesch won the Downhill, with Mancuso in second place and Vonn in third.

Most amazing was Vonn’s recovery after catching an edge and looking about to crash (see video).  Vonn said it was “the best recovery I’ve ever made.”

Her leg twisted severely  sideways after catching an edge left her with a sprained MCL in her knee.

A sprained MCL didn’t stop her from racing Sunday –  and Vonn won another Super-G!  Watch the video of the race - the reporter mentions how her angulation gives her more power.

Skiers  who’ve taken lessons with me will have heard me talk about angulation, and here you can hear about it at a world class level.

Also note in  the photo of Mancuso how forward she keeps her hands.


Mancuso placed 4th in this Super G

Photo, Getty Images

Blizzard dumps snow in Summit county, vail
Posted by sibylle in skiing, Colorado (Tuesday January 18, 2011 at 12:55 pm)

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Tenmile Range in clouds

Breckenridge and Vail scored in the latest storm to hit Colorado.
New snow:

Breckenridge           26″ last 24 hours

Copper Mountain     17 “  last 24 hours

Loveland                 16 ” last 24 hours

Vail                         16″ last 24 hours

With all this abundant snow centered on Breckenridge, you’d think nearby resorts would get a reasonable amount of snowfall.

But Beaver Creek reports only 4″; Steamboat 3″; and Wolf Creek, usually the epicenter of big snow, received no snow at all from this storm.

You know where to head now!

Vail Resorts business up for 2010/ 2011 season
Posted by sibylle in skiing (Friday January 14, 2011 at 2:18 pm)


Vail’s China Bowl with Gore Range

In December, I noted that our Colorado snowpack was 135%, or higher in places, and growing.

A-Basin opened Montezuma Bowl the earliest ever, and Vail opened Blue Sky Basin on December 3.

This winter, I was able to take my ski students over  Christmas  to ski China Bowl, as well every lift in Blue Sky Basin, for their first time ever in Blue sky Basin. Last Christmas, it had not yet opened.

Not surprisingly, Vail Resorts reported business was up.

skier visits are up over 10%

ski school lessons are up over 11%

lift ticket sales are up over 7%

Great snow …. lots of good skiing ….  I’m looking forward to many weeks more!

US Women ski Racers Rock!
Posted by sibylle in skiing, women, Europe (Monday January 10, 2011 at 1:06 pm)


AP photo of Lindsey Vonn winning the World Cup super-G

in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy

Lindsey Vonn, named 2010 AP female athlete of the year, continues winning races this year (second place female athlete was the horse Zenyatta).

In the 2010 Olympics, Vonn became the first US woman to win a gold in the Downhill, plus a bronze in the Super G.

In Zauchensee, she won the DH and came second in the Super G.


AP photo of  Julia Mancuso in Semmering, Austria

Mancuso came 5th in the Semmering,  Austria GS with  Vonn in 7th place. France’s Tessa Worley won  third consecutive GS for 2011.

Vonn placed 3rd in the Semmering Slalom, which Maria Riesch won.

Next will be a slalom race in Flachau, Austria on Tuesday night. Vonn and Mancuso both hope for podiums, though Vonn hasn’t been racing well in Slalom. She hopes that she’ll do well since it’s a night race, and she loves racing under the lights.

Marlies Schild  won every slalom but one so far this season  and Riesch has four 2nd places, so Vonn and Mancuso will face tough competition.

Watch either videos of the races on Universal sports, or see a slide show.

To skiers who take lessons with me, I’d like to point out some things in the photos above.

Note the high edge angle of Vonn’s skis. To achieve such a  high edge angle ( needed at high speed and on an icy, steep slope, the racers also use angulation, especially apparent in the photo of Mancuso.

Watch videos of these races and others to get an idea of skiing at its best!

Cold winter- Lake Dillon freezes over
Posted by sibylle in skiing, ice, Colorado (Thursday January 6, 2011 at 2:29 pm)

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Dec. 24 -Steam still rising from Lake Dillon

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sunrise Dec. 30 - Lake Dillon is partly frozen

Lake Dillon generally freezes over between Christmas and New Years, and is a few days behind schedule this year.  Apparently, this is the latest freeze in 10 years.
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Jan. 5 - Lake frozen and ice covered with snow

However, the arctic temperatures we endured the end of December made quick work of any remaining water, and by early January a coat of ice fully covered the the lake.

It’ll be a few more days before it’s safe for ice boating, ice fishing, and other recreation on the lake’s surface.

However, the lake in Georgetown freezes earlier (it’s smaller and not as deep), and is open not only to ice fishing, but to ice racing – that’s racing jeeps and other vehicles — on the lake ice.

The next races will take place in Georgetown on January 15th & 16th.

skiing Vail and Keystone
Posted by sibylle in Colorado (Tuesday January 4, 2011 at 10:50 am)

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Sunrise over Buffalo and the Gore Range

Snow has been falling steadily this winter, resulting in well above average snowpack and increased lodging reservations for January 2011.

We went KAT skiing (or CAT skiing) in Independence Bowl with  knee to thigh-deep powder before Christmas. A snowcat takes a number of skiers to the top of the bowls, at 12,000 feet. My trip was amazing -  on a “work” day as part of my job! We had training for ski instructors, and one of our runs was in  the back bowls.

Days like this I think I’ve got one of the best jobs around — I guess heli-ski guides could offer competition.

After Christmas, I took private clients to Vail’s Back Bowls. We skied freshly-groomed runs on China Bowl and every lift in Blue Sky Basin.

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The photo above shows China Bowl - right after Christmas - with great snow, and amazingly empty.

We were speculating why it was so uncrowded, and concluded that perhaps the storms in the east prevented people from flying to Colorado.

Today is another gorgeous bluebird day  - sunny, in the 20s.

Happy 2011!
Posted by sibylle in utah, skiing, Colorado, Idaho, Canada and PNW (Saturday January 1, 2011 at 6:07 pm)

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I hope you all had a great 2010, and wish you an even better 2011  



In March, Tristan and I drove to Moab to climb. It rained when we arrived, but the next day dawned sunny, so we headed for the Fisher Tower area, where we climbed  small towers (it was still quite cold, with snow on the ground).


Next we headed to Indian Creek and climbed Sunflower Tower in the Bridger Jack Mesa – a gorgeous day and wonderful climb.


In April, I headed to Indian Creek and met Andrew from South Africa. Andrew and I headed off to climb more towers. First, we had a perfect day on Thumbelina. Sunny, blue sky, warm, great views, good climbing and loads of fun.  Next, we headed for North Sixshooter. It was colder, and very windy, but still a great climb.


In May, Andrew, Niko, and Olek and I hiked in to Dark Angel in Arches, where a huge lightning storm engulfed us as we were near the top. When Andrew started rappelling, a blast of lightning “splash” slammed me on the helmet. Olek and Niko wisely rappelled from the top of the first pitch, foregoing the summit! Olek and I next climbed the Nuns in Castle Valley, while Niko and Andrew climbed a route on the Priest.


We squeezed in a short trip to City of Rocks, Idaho with Andrew and Lauren.

In July, I hooked up in the Sawtooths with Ryan. We hiked in to the Elephant’s Perch and climbed two excellent routes.


From Idaho, I drove to Squamish Chief, one of my favorite places in the world. Jon and I climbed a few short routes; June and I climbed on the Apron; and Ian and I climbed Angel’s Crest.


Andy Cairns from N. Vancouver and I climbed a different short routes and hiked, with June, the most beautiful trail in to Elfin Lakes.


On the way return home I squeezed in a few days at City of Rocks; then flew to San Francisco to help my mother. In October I enjoyed a quick trip to Indian Creek.

 Meanwhile, Tristan decided to take a leave of absence from college in order to ski race with Team Summit.

In Moab, I got a message from Tristan’s ski race coach that he’d broken his leg and was in the hospital.

I drove really fast and arrived as he was waking after surgery to place a titanium rod in his tibia, from the knee to the ankle. Sadly, his ski-racing career is done for the season.


He’s now walking – slowly, and not far. The surgeon says he will recover completely. We’re waiting to hear whether or not he can race next year.


I’m planning to meet June in April and we’ll go on a climbing trip to Moab, Red Rocks, and more. I’m meeting Andy in late July, and we plan to climb on the Elephant’s Perch.


Enjoy your 2011 as much as I know we will!




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