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Experts: Avalanche Danger High in ‘Outlier Year’

Experts: Avalanche Danger High in ‘Outlier Year’
Avalanche path
More experience skiers, not newbies, getting into trouble.

This winter’s unstable snowpack—built on sparse early snow—has lead to a “perfect storm” for treacherous avalanche conditions, avalanche forecasters say. Six experienced backcountry travelers died in the past week, two in Colorado and four in Washington. The dicey snow pack across the West has avalanche centers on high alert—the Colorado avalanche center issued a special warning last weekend— but forecasters say that human factors still play the biggest part in avalanche incidents.

Experts: avalanche danger high in rare outlier year

New twist: More experience skiers, not newbies, getting into trouble

This winter’s unstable snow pack—built on sparse early snow—has lead to a “perfect storm” for treacherous avalanche conditions, experts say. The dicey snow pack combined with easier access to back- and sidecountry terrain has created a “spooky,” combustible mixture this season, as avalanche centers are increasing their warnings to skiers and riders. We said it before, and we'll say it again: You can’t be too careful out there—inbounds and out.

Need to get in shape? Less just might be more.

Need to get in shape? Less just might be more.
getting even fitness thumb
Good news for procrastinators, the overworked and the overbooked—kind of.

We’re not sure if this helps or hurts us in our quest (ok, often a battle) to stay fit, but recent research seems to indicate that you don’t need to grind it out daily to get in shape—if you’re willing to pump up the intensity of your workouts. The magic, according to scientists, is in interval training, where you push yourself to max effort and heart rate for shorter bursts of time. Now, if you use this news as a handy excuse to cut back on your workout schedule but never follow through with the whole interval thing—yeah, that’s a trap we’re also trying to avoid.

Nothing Lame About This Olympic Downhill

Sochi downhill Olympics 2014
Sochi downhill Olympics 2014
Sochi downhill's character—plenty of vert, huge jumps—shines despite conservative course-set in initial test drive.

To our thinking, the downhill is, or should be, the marquee event of the Olympics—king of all events. Problem is, Olympic cities don’t always have big enough mountains to challenge the world’s best speed skiers, so the event is often cheapened.
By all accounts, there’s nothing cheap about the terrain and sheer vertical footage of the Sochi course at Krasnaya Polyana. World Cuppers got their first crack at the speed-event course over the weekend and were favorably impressed.

Aspen institutes three-drink policy at mid-mountain Cloud Nine Bistro

Aspen institutes three-drink policy at mid-mountain Cloud Nine Bistro
cloudnine Aspen
In other news, Ski Co. considers outlawing powder days.

The good news? You’ll have more time to ski in the afternoon. The bad news? The Aspen Skiing company has levied a three-drink maximum at its popular mid-mountain Cloud Nine bistro on Highlands, citing safety reasons with over-indulged patrons ski-stumbling down the mountain. The end result: probably shorter lunches, fewer hangovers and a concerted effort to indulge mid-day at another establishment. Just saying.

Free Tools To Keep You Safe From Avalanches

As we all rejoice about the recent storms that have brought snow to the Mountain West, The National Ski Patrol and Utah Avalanche Center are encouraging everyone who slides on snow to understand the risks.

After a somewhat slow start to the season across the western half of the country, the jet stream is finally delivering consistent snowfall to the mountains in Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado. Although that's good news for the ski industry, it's also worrisome. Avalanche conditions in the Mountain West are among the worst we've seen in years. And the dangers don't only apply to backcountry skiers. Already this season, slides have injured or killed skiers inside resort boundaries and countless avalanches have made uncontrolled side- and backcountry terrain extremely dangerous.

More Fun with Ted and the FIS

Ted Ligety at FIS world cup on new Head skis

"It's such a rarity that we get to train downhill before the first World Cup of the year. I think having this facility here in Copper is going to be huge for us. Early November is the most important time to train for us."

In which the three-time World Cup GS champ finds out he’s actually faster on the skis he’s been complaining about.

Ted Ligety continues to lead the conversation about—and bitter revolt against—the FIS’s mandate that, for safety reasons, the minimum allowable sidecut radius for GS skis will be 35 meters next year.
Ligety reports on his website that he’s had a chance in the past week to test Head’s second generation of 35-meter GS ski. The result is shocking—and as surprising to him as it is to us.
In his words: “I am faster! Significantly faster! HA! Ironic!?”

Live like a President in Beaver Creek

Live like a President in Beaver Creek
President Ford's Governor's Lodge, Beaver Creek
Gerard Ford was the longest living president. Maybe his sweet Beaver Creek mountain home helped. Now you can sleep there, too.

President Gerald Ford lived to the ripe age of 93, longer than any other president. Ford was an avid skier, so we like to think that his time on the slopes had a hand in his longevity. Or maybe it was just hanging out après in Governor’s Lodge, Ford’s palatial slopeside Beaver Creek home. You can be the judge, as Ford’s luxury chalet is now available for short-term rental.

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