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Rope Tow Misfortune

April 8, 2010 1 comment

With such an emphasis on being cool when you’re on the slopes, it’s inevitable that someone out there can’t live up to the standards.

I’m one of them.  I don’t have the brightest coat or the gnarliest skis.  I understand that inferior feeling as “the cool kids” do flips off jumps and land gracefully without extra effort.

But, hey, we can always take solace in someone else’s misfortune.  Right?

Here’s a guy that makes the rest of us look good.  Soak it up fellow outcasts.

The Goat has a great point: “For a moment I thought this was a staged joke, but no conventional male human would subject themselves to that type of pain.”

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3AM is the new noon

February 27, 2010 2 comments

It’s hard to find time to get outside.  Most of us have jobs and other responsibilities that take precedence when we’re making our calendars and to-do lists.

But every once in a while, you just can’t pass up an opportunity to go have some fun – even if every one else is going to think you’re crazy.

Last Friday, I was convinced by two friends to go cross-country skiing… at 4:00 in the morning.

I woke up around 3:15, picked up one of my fellow skiers and headed to Coopers Rock, a local recreation area that has been pounded this winter by unrelenting snow storms.

We skied toward the overlook area (about 3 miles) and enjoy a view that few get to see.  The lights of Morgantown glowed beneath us as we stood (or sunk) into the impressive snow base.

After enjoying the view, we made some hot drinks and relaxed while the sun pushed its way into the sky.  Eventually, we hit the trails again and made a small loop through the main recreation area in the park before pushing the additional three miles back to the car.

After getting home I was able to realize the importance of making time for the outdoors (even if it means sacrificing some sleep).  I was able to experience something that (literally) no one else did.

That amazing experience we’re all looking for is always waiting just outside the door – so go ahead and open it up.

Green is a Color

February 14, 2010 Leave a comment

The “Green Revolution” is happening and no one will be left behind!

Especially not the marketing departments for skiing and snowboarding companies worldwide.

It seems like every company this year has come out with some kind of “green” gear, but is it really that green?

Let’s think about it.  After buying a new, shiny board or skis from your local gear shop you then gas up your SUV and bound through the snow for a couple hours.  After that you are pulled up the slopes on a lift that runs off of electricity generated by some kind of fossil fuel, and then you slide down a mountain on artificially made snow.

So… is a green board really going to help and how green is it anyway?

Greenest of Green

I think Omatic Snowboards probably have it right.  They came out with the EXTR-ECO (with BS technology).  This board completely throws the idea of a green company on its head with satirical graphics and an acknowledgement that this sport isn’t environmentally friendly.

Sure, there are companies who are legitimately making progress when it comes to green boards but progress is a relative term.

If skiers and snowboarders really want to make a difference, buying green products isn’t the way to go.  It can be a piece of the solution but it isn’t the solution in itself.

There needs to be a commitment from buyers, companies and resorts if we really want to make a difference.

That being said, I’m not holding my breath.

Olympic Snow (or lack thereof) Update…

February 11, 2010 Leave a comment

The Winter Olympics are right around the corner and the heat is on (that’s a literal statement).

It was 39 F (4 C) at Cypress Mountain when this was published and Olympic officials are now packing the snow with dry ice.  The wet ice is just getting too wet.

In an attempt to keep the moguls intact, Cypress Mountain is inserting a tube of dry ice into each one.  In addition to the new untested dry ice tubes, Cypress Mountain has also been forced to truck in snow to add to the melting base.

With the opening ceremony right around the corner, let’s hope we don’t have to watch downhill water skiing the next few weeks.

2018 Olympics in West Virginia?

February 7, 2010 1 comment

Imagine this…

I’m actually able to make an argument for having the winter Olympics in West Virginia.

Right now, Olympic officials are trucking snow into rainy Cypress Mountain, the official venue for the freestyle skiing and snowboarding in Vancouver.

That’s right, the winter Olympics doesn’t have enough snow.

So let’s compare some numbers.

Cypress Mountain has received about 177 inches of snow this season, which is pretty impressive, but Snowshoe Mountain, WV has received about 145 inches.

That’s a 32 inch difference, but come on, it’s cool to even be comparing West Virginia to the Olympic venue.

Hey, that's pretty close when you think about how much more snow they should have.

As far as I can tell, we can truck snow in with the best of them, so that has to put us in the running for 2018, right?

Okay, I really doubt that I’ll be driving to Snowshoe in 2018 to watch the competition, but I’m just excited that I can brag about our snow when comparing it to Canada.

We’re having an awesome winter and it looks like more snow is on the way this week.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed for closed schools and open trails.

Warm weather is no fun

February 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Well today the Morgantown area received about 1 foot to 10 feet of snow (OK maybe more like 1 – 2, but it felt like 10 sometimes).  A lot of people stayed inside and watched TV or sat on a bearskin rug in front of a fireplace but the outdoor community was out in full force.

I was able to get my hands on some cross-country skis and see what was going on around town.  There was surprisingly a lot of people out too.

Other than xc skiiers, there were alpine skiiers, snowboarders, snowball militias, sledders (if riding pool chairs and cardboard counts) and of course the snowmen builders (I saw one that was at least 7 feet tall).

I’m glad there were so many people out though.  Driving wasn’t the best idea but there were plenty of people who braved the weather to make the best of it. 

And I don’t blame them.

Winter is one of the best times of year to enjoy the outdoors and I’m not the only one to think so.  Sitting inside, while much warmer and probably much smarter, keeps you away from an entirely different world that only appears a few times a year. 

There’s nothing like seeing a town where people have forsaken their cars and have to walk and ski everywhere.  Something about it appeals to me.

Well, hopefully I will have some pictures and even video to update the site with tomorrow but until then, get outside and enjoy yourself before the snow melts!

White Grass

February 4, 2010 Leave a comment

Grass Nordic Ski Touring Center is located in Canaan Valley, a popular ski and recreation area in West Virginia.  Tucked away between two alpine ski resorts (Timberline and Canaan Valley), White Grass gives visitors a chance to test out their cross-country skills.

But there’s more to the small cross-country ski resort than meets the eye.

Since 1979, when Chip Chase and Laurie Little started developing the area now known as White Grass, it has grown into a Canaan Valley fixture.  With over 50 km of trails and 1200 vertical feet to ski, White Grass can easily compete with ski resorts in the valley.

Many hail the resort as one of the best in the world because of the unique but inviting atmosphere and dedication to quality.  Without making man-made snow, White Grass compensates by using “snow farm” techniques which make the most of the natural snowfall.

The interior of the lodge isn’t like any other run-of-the-mill resort either.  You feel like you’re at home in a sometimes crowded and uniquely decorated, but cozy area.

Part of the appeal also comes from the restaurant portion of the resort.  The food is all-natural with an emphasis on great ingredients and is known locally as one of the best places to eat.  Many patrons even come primarily for the food (I recommend the chili).

All in all, White Grass isn’t your typical ski resort.  If you aren’t looking for the cookie cutter industrial experience you often have at larger downhill resorts this might be the place for you.

Check out a multimedia piece put together during the West Virginia Uncovered immersion weekend in Canaan Valley.  Credits go to myself and Ben Hancock.