Corvara in Badia, Italy – Day 1

We are here in Italy.  We just finished our first day of skiing here.  It was very nice. We will ski here for 6 days and then move on to Austria and ski there for 6 days.  Hard work, but someone has to do it.

It was cold, and overcast most of the day.  There was fog laying down on the mountains, and we kept going up through the fog and then skiing back down through it as we progressed around the Sella Ronda Green route. (that takes you around the Sella massive in a counter-clockwise direction).

No new snow, but we did find a few freshies here and there – but not much really.  Hope to get some new snow mid-week – but we will have to wait and see.

Here are few pictures from our day.

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Lake Tahoe Resorts Need More Snow

We had fun, but the Lake Tahoe Resorts need more snow.

Devon and I heading up at Kirkwood.

It is certainly clear that the Lake Tahoe resorts need more snow. Devon and I went to Kirkwood on 5 Dec and to Heavenly on 11 Dec. Heavenly just opened Stagecoach for the season, which makes access to the mountain very easy. A quick 25 minute drive from our house and we are there.  Too easy.

The resorts were remarkable the same, with the main open runs well covered and well groomed.  We bombed them with mad abandon, cruising down every run available several times. There were hardly any other skiers on the hill, so we flew and got right back on the lift. Sweet.

Pretty obvious that Lake Tahoe resorts need more snow

Heading up Stagecoach lift at Heavenly.

We tried a few un-groomed runs and escaped with our filings intact – barely.  They were HARD and icy, with a wide variety of obstacles to step over and avoid.  Made for a very eventful run – but needless to say – we did not take any one of those runs more than once.

Early season skiing is always a tease – just enough of the good stuff to get you panting for more – and then you get dumped on an icy, obstacle infested, bone jarring run. Sheeeiiit!!!  Relieve can not be found off piste either – so you just buck up and pray for more snow so you can satisfy the itch. Bummer man.

I took a few pictures to show the scene.  I would have taken a few more at Heavenly, but the battery on my camera ran out. That has NEVER happened before – right Bro?  Never!!

Main runs were good, but nothinng offf piste at all.

Kirkwood run looking good. Well covered and groomed.

Anyway, we had a lot of fun at each resort. We are searching high and low for the appropriate sacrifice to please the snow gods, as those Lake Tahoe resorts need more snow.  Doing snow dances and saying the right incantations, because the ski season is here and we must have powder. Deep powder, the deeper the better.

Early Season Kirkwood – Day 2

If one of your loves in life is avoiding obstacles and picking your way through mine fields, then you would probably love skiing early season Kirkwood. You would be in hog heaven as you headed down the slopes, avoiding rocks, mud patches and numerous bushes.  Yahoo!!

Early Season Kirkwood always has surprises galore in store for you.

The Three Amigos heading up Chair 5.

I am actually being a bit harsh on Kirkwood here.  Bro, my son Devon and I went there on Thanksgiving day to see what they had to offer.  Kirkwood had opened the day before with 4 lifts and 15 runs and therefore we had to go and check it out.  What we found is that they had pretty good coverage on the upper slopes, and pretty bad coverage on the lower slopes. It was very warm, and there were puddles near the bottom of the slopes,  Yikes!!

We first headed up chair number 5 and skied down.  It was all good except near the bottom, where the snow was sparse and you had to pick your way down carefully.

Early season Kirkwood requires you have rock skis available.

Mid mountain run off Chair 11. Yikes!

After doing a few runs there, we headed over to Chair 11 to see what it had to offer. The first run we took needed a bit more snow and had not been groomed. The next run we took off Chair 11 was one of the best on the hill – that is until you got to the bottom.  It was groomed and fast and fun.  We did a few laps on that chair and it was time for a break.

What we found is that Monty Wolves cafeteria was closed for renovations.  Really?? The main eatery was under construction right after opening day? What did they use the summer for?  I don’t get it.  If I was the manager at that establishment, there would be some sore butts around there.

We rested and headed back up on Chair 6. Top of Zachery was nice with spring like snow. Mid-way down we were “rockin’and rollin” through many rocks and bushes. Early season Kirkwood can be treacherous and requires you own rock skis! Some places shouldn’t have been open.

Can you slalom through small pine trees?

One of the open runs off of Chair 6. Oh my.

Headed out to Sentinal, and that was pretty nice actually.   The traverse out was soft and a bit rough, but the run was great.

We skied a few more runs and had skied everything available so it was time to head home. We had a great time, but if this place doesn’t get some snow fast, they will not be able to remain open for long.

Here are a few more pictures from our early season day at Kirkwood.  Enjoy.



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Heavenly In The Rain

Heavenly in the rain is a lot of things, but it’s not heavenly.  It’s wet and miserable. You need wipers on your goggles to see anything, as wiping with your glove only works for about 2 turns. The snow is sloppy and slow, and when you can’t see it because your goggles are blotted-out, it makes for a wonderland of joy (well, maybe not)

This was the scene when Bro and I went to Heavenly Monday 20 Nov.  We had to go because they were opening up the Dipper lift and the Orion run.  It was foggy and misty and lightly raining the whole time we were there. Sloppy snow and wet conditions – but hey – we were skiing – so we can’t complain too much. (well, I guess we can but who wants to hear it)

Not much else to say – so here are a few pictures to show you the scene.

Heavenly in the rain was really something.

Heading up the Dipper lift into the mist.

Heavenly in the rain will never stop us from skiing.

Bro is happy to be skiing again. Yahoo!







2017-18 Ski Season Has Begun

The 2017-18 Ski Season is underway. Bro and my son Devon went to Heavenly on Friday 17 Nov for opening day.  I unfortunately was not in attendance – (crap-o-la is what I say)

In typical Heavenly fashion – they had a great time waiting in line to get on the gondola (ya – right).  Once they got on and up to the top, they got to enjoy skiing Tamarack with many other people. Come on – opening day is opening day – one run open and 1 gabillion people trying to satisfy the overpowering itch to get back on the slopes.  I get it.  If I had been here, I would have gladly gone and braved the crowds to get in a few turns as well.  I would have loved it.  Instead I had to buck up and drown my sorrows because I have to wait to get back on the slopes. I’m tough – I can handle it (almost).

Anyway, here are a few pics of their day.  Lake Tahoe is still there and looks wonderful from the top of Heavenly.  You got to love it.

There it is – the 2017-18 ski season has launched.  This is going to be a great season. (why? because we WANT it) Bro and are going on a trip to Europe in January.   We are going to be skiing the Sellaronda area in Italy and the Kitzbuhel area in Austria. (man  is that going to be fun) Until then we need to do all the correct snow dances, chant the “let it snow” mantra and ski as much as we can so we get our ski legs in shape. (No amount of beer will cover up the pain from skiing everyday for two weeks if your legs are not in shape.)

Here is to a wonderful, deep snow season, full of lots of powder and joy!

2017-18 Ski Season

Heading up Tamarack lift to the top.


Lake Tahoe at the start of 2017-18 Ski Season.

Lake Tahoe is gorgeous- right?

Can't wait to get started on the 2017-18 Ski Season myself.

This is the Tamarack run that was open. Short but sweet.

Ski Seasons Final Days 2017

Man am I behind on my reporting here, but what else is new eh? I ‘m going to cover this ski seasons final days in this report, covering 3 or 4 actual days on the mountain. It’s very sad that the resorts are all closing, as the slopes are buried in snow. I mean, it is deep.  Directional signs that we usually use to get around the mountain at Heavenly are buried.  The dyn-no-mite storage shack at Heavenly is currently at least 6 feet under snow and not out in the open like during a normal winter.  Those mountains got snow baby – and yet here we are at the ski seasons final days – WHAT THE #$%@^&!!!!

Enough belly-achin’ – here’s the report. It’s going to be heavy on pictures and light on wordage – as my composition widgit is out of whack (or maybe I just be a lazy butt – you decide – but keep it to yourself eh?)

Several weeks ago, we went to Heavenly and had a great day.  Skied all over the mountain from one side to the other, heading down Gunbarrel on the California side and Killebrew canyon on the Nevada side.  Both were the first (and last ) times for the season.  Here are some pictures:

Lake Tahoe  is gorgeous from top of Heavenly.

Here I am in Retro gear on the California side.


Ski seasons final days always includes Killebrew Canyon.

Steve at the top of Killebrew Canyon.


Kirkwood Ski Seasons Final Days

On 14 Apr we headed to Kirkwood and had a great day.  New snow, bright sunshine, and hardly anyone on the mountain.  It was wonderful.  We skied some great snow on the face above the 7800′ Restaurant and then slipped in there for some much needed refreshment (best beer and food place on the mountain). We then did a zig while everyone else did a zag.  The backside opened and what crowds there were headed that way.  We headed to the Palisades – and what a great call that was.  The snow in our special gullies – Hamilton 2 and Hamilton 3 – was excellent!! Untouched and sweet.  Check out the pics! For the record, Kirkwood closed 16 April.

Hamilton gullies at ski seasons final days.

Check out our tracks in the powder!




Bluebird day and great powder at Kirkwood.

Big thumbs up for sure eh?

Heavenly Ski Seasons Final Days

Yesterday we headed up the Heavenly and experienced some very nice spring skiing. Once the snow loosened up, it was really good.  Heavenly had less then half their lifts running and really only the Nevada side open for skiing.  They are closing on 30 April, though they could probably stay open for another month at least with the snow they have. (more belly-achin’ going on here)

We had some really good runs in the Dipper Woods area, but once the snow started getting sticky around 1pm, we called it a season.  We did do our “toast the snow gods” ritual on top of mountain.  Got to keep the snow gods happy – right? They done us good this year for sure!! Here are the pictures.

Wonderful season that is over way too soon.

A little Schnapps keeps the snow gods happy.





Ski season is over and we are sad.

Got to give the snow gods their share – right?

Ski seasons final days have now come and gone.

Bro at the top on the final run of the season.












Here are some more pictures from the ski seasons final days.  Hard to believe it is already over, but it is.  Guess we will have to gear up to go camping and fishing and dream of the next season, hoping it will have as much snow as this one.

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Colorado Ski Resorts Whirlwind Tour

I am way behind on my reporting here. I’m going to be covering the last 5 resorts we visited in our Colorado Ski Resorts Whirlwind tour in one post. I have no real excuses for my lack or reporting, other than we visited 12 Colorado ski resorts in 15 days.  We would have done  more, but we had worn our sorry ole asses out.  TIRED, sore and whooped but good – we headed home – gladly. We had planned to do 4 or 5 other Colorado ski resorts on this tour – but couldn’t do it. Anyway, here is how the rest of our Colorado ski tour went.

Colorado Ski Resorts


Aspen is a great Colorado ski resort.

On our way up the gondola at Aspen.

We weren’t originally planning to go to Aspen when we set up this tour. Lisa has a high school friend, Ron Moorehead, that lives and works there.  We met him and went to lunch at a great place called Shlomo’s, right at the base of the gondola. We enjoyed talking to Ron as he is a very nice person to be around.  He gave us some discount passes for lift tickets, but unfortunately he could not ski with us due to work responsibilities.

We headed up the next day and skied a lot of Aspen. Caught a bus at an external parking lot and it took us almost to the base of the mountain.  Easy access.  What a great mountain!!  Wonderful lifts, fantastic terrain and awesome gnar.  We loved it. We saw evidence of the 14 inches of snow that we had missed out on, having missed it by a few days.  It was easy to see how great it would be to ski here with some fresh powder on the hill. We blazed down the slopes at just under mach speed as the runs were long and the grooming was smooth and nice.

After taking in most of the mountain we decided to head over to Snowmass and check it out. The bus we caught at the base of Aspen took us right there.  (Note: the lift tickets you buy allow you to ski 4 Colorado Ski resorts in that area – Aspen, Snowmass, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk. It is easy to catch a free bus trip that connects you to all the mountains.) I need to give you the ratings on Aspen.  Foo-foo is about a 5 – it is definitely there, but they have it blended in well and it is not so “in your face”.  Hoback was about a 1 the day we were there – great grooming, snow was loose and light and skiing was easy.  Gnar is a 7.  Lots of good stuff to ski and some very nice vertical.  This is a place we would love to come back to.


The view from up here is awesome.

Bro at the top, heading out to the Headwall.

Snowmass forces you to shuffle through a village to get to the lifts.  We hate that. It sucks. The mountain itself however, is very impressive.

Snowmass is a very large mountain, with an abundance of gnar.  We skied a few runs and then headed to the top, via one of the longest poma lifts I’ve ever ridden. We got into some nice powder by traversing across the top to a run called the Cirque Headwall. It looked good, but proved to be a bit treacherous, as there were rocks just below the snow surface. We hit a few, but made it out almost unscathed. Bro hit a small field of rocks and got ejected out of his skis. He whacked his right shoulder and one ski got a good sized tear in it, but all survived. Had to stop for lunch and a little liquid refreshment to recover after that.

Dropped into another awesome run called Buckskin that had enough gnar to pucker your pie hole for life. There are a number of these high gnar score runs off several ridge lines at Snowmass and it makes it an awesome resort.  This is another place we would love to come back to and hit on a  fresh snow day.  Foo-foo score here is an 8.  The village walk in and other such things cause this rating. Hoback score is a 1.  Snow was soft and nice and the grooming was very good. Gnar score is at least a 9.  This place has gnar, and lots of it, all over the mountain. More than enough terrain of a challenging level to satisfy the most gnar hungry among us.  Aspen and Snowmmass were among our favorite Colorado ski resorts for their terrain and we are going to have to return for more.


Sunlight is the only resort we went to but did not ski.  We heard about  it at our motel in Glenwood, when the the person at the desk asked us if we were going to ski the local resort – Sunlight. We had time before we headed on to Gunnison, so we went there to check it out.  On the way we talked about what these smaller resorts had to do to attract skiers. One of us mentioned a resort that offered a package where you could buy a custom made ski and get a lift ticket for a set price. It turns out that Sunlight is that resort.  You pay $700 and get a day pass, a day at a local spa and a custom ski made by Meier.   It is all in celebration of 50 years that Sunlight has been open.

This resort is a real old school, skier oriented resort – the kind we love.  It only has 3 lifts, but the terrain looks very nice. Plenty of glade skiing and some steeps that would be awesome with new snow. We checked out the whole place, talked to the friendly people and figured we were going to have to come back and ski this place some day.


Monarch is another wonderful Colorado ski resort.

Looking out over one bowl at Monarch.

Monarch is about 40 miles east of Gunnison.  It has a great mountain, with lots of gnar and a very comfortable atmosphere. There are 5 lifts, 4 of them fixed cable doubles and one a fixed cable quad.  Over fifty percent of the mountain is rated black diamond or double black diamond. Plus they have a whole other bowl called Mirkwood Bowl that you can hike to or take a cat to – and it has wide open bowl skiing and glade skiing that looks awesome.

This is a great little mountain and if we lived in Salida or Gunnison, this would be our mountain of choice. Great people, great slopes, great grooming and enough gnar to to keep it all interesting.

We skied a number of runs, and then went in and had lunch in the lodge. Our waitress was very friendly and the beer and food were excellent.

We went out and skied some more and admired the potential of this mountain. Wide bowls and wonderful glades were everywhere.  There are lots of little secret stashes at this place that would be a gas to find and ski if you had the time. This is an old school ski resort that is well worth skiing again. Foo-foo score is 1 – almost non-existent.  Hoback score is 1 the day we were there – and only this high as the powder had been cut up and then some of it had gotten crusty due to the warm days.  Gnar score is 7 due to the steepness of the slopes and the great glades and off piste bowls.

Crested Butte

Crested Butte was a disappointing Colorado ski resort.

Looking up Crested Butte slope from the “Mall”

This was the most disappointing of all the Colorado Ski resorts that we skied.  It does not live up to the hype that we had heard about it.  Whoever operates this mountain is far more interested in making money than in accommodating skiers.

First they force you to walk through their village to get to the slopes. That is a big strike against them right there.  Then there is no real lodge, but more of a mall sort of atmosphere at the base.  There are only three eating places on the hill.  Two of them are very small and not set up to service skiers.  The third is a high class restaurant mid-mountain, called Uley’s Cabin, that has crystal ware at sit down tables where you eat a five course meal.  Whoa! To get something to eat or drink you are almost forced to go to the main base area and walk through the “Mall”  (I can’t call it a lodge – because it isn’t.  You don’t have a Bank and a real estate office in a ski lodge like they do at Crested Butte)

Condominiums and large houses have been erected slope-side, and the emphasis seems to be making these land owners and $500 a night condo stayers happy, but ignoring the regular skier.  Really sad, as it seems that this used to be a great place to come and ski, but no longer.

The mountain has some good gnar for sure – but this gnar requires that after you have ski down you must hike up steep hills for at least 15 minutes to return to the main resort area. If you miss the mid point cut-off and ski the rest of  the way down, the hike is 45 minutes.  The main front side of the mountain is really almost all intermediate terrain, with less than optimum grooming.

A big disappointment really – we will not be going back.  Foo-foo score is a 9 – really bad.  Hoback score is a 2 due to poor grooming mostly.  Gnar score is 7 as they do have it, but once you got it, it requires hiking to get back to the resort.

We had a great trip visiting all of these Colorado ski resorts.  We skied our buns off and wore ourselves out – but we loved it. Have to recover some, and then we’ll get back out there for some more skiing.

Here are some more pictures from our trip. Enjoy!

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Arapahoe Basin Is Our New Kirkwood

Vail is great but Arapahoe Basin is awesome.

Looking out to Blue Sky Basin at Vail

Catching up again, and this post will cover our skiing Vail yesterday and Arapahoe Basin today. Had some good snow at Vail, but we had some great powder snow today at A-Basin.  Full data below – but first we need to wrap up our definitions of the terms we are using to rate these resorts – so on to the Foo-foo scale defined.

Foo-foo is something that Bro and I do not like. It is a trend that is taking over too many resorts and we hate it.  We far prefer the old school resorts with down home atmosphere. Foo-foo is most grandiosely exemplified by a resort that forces you to park far away from the lift and then walk through their gaudy, expensive village to get to the lifts.  They have gabillion dollar mansions or condos lining the slopes, or dominating the space near the lifts. You have to remove your leg to get a beer at the bar in the lodge and mortgage your house to buy a quinoa laced grass-fed beef hamburger.  All Foo-foo – and a resort that has all these is a 10 on the Foo-foo scale. Examples of resorts that rank high on the Foo-foo scale are Northstar, Vail, and Steamboat.

Vail is huge, but Arapahoe Basin has more Gnar.

Steve and Joe atop a bowl at Vail.

Whew – that’s out of the way so onto the reporting. We skied Vail yesterday with an ole army buddy of Steve’s named Joe.  Joe had skied the resort before and showed us how to get to the last bowl that we had not yet skied – the Blue Sky Basin. We skied a few runs in Tea Cup Bowl and in China Bowl and then headed to Blue Sky Basin. We did not find any new snow, but we did find some good snow to ski and we cut it up.  Had a great lunch and a beer or two at the Two Elks Lodge and skied a few more runs – then called it a day.  Humped our behinds through the village to the car and headed home.  Vail has already been scored in an earlier post – so I won’t do it again here.


Arapahoe Basin Scores High On The Gnar Scale

Old school Arapahoe Basin is a great place.

The lodge at the bottom of Arapahoe Basin.

Today we skied Arapahoe Basin and we had a great time. This is a small resort with only 6 lifts and it’s very old school. You park right next to the lift and the lodge.  The lodges are great.  The beer is great with 20 different varieties on tap.  The terrain is awesome, with great bowls and fantastic steeps in several bowls – all easily accessed. The Gnar score of this place is higher then any other resort we have been to yet. The food is great and cheap.  If we lived in this area, this would be our resort of choice – thus the title of this post. Kirkwood is our favorite resort back home – so this would be our “Kirkwood”  if we lived here.

There was about 5-6 inches of new snow and it was light and fun to ski. It snowed the entire time we were there and the clouds were down on the slopes making visibility a challenge, but we were up for it.

We first headed up the Pallavicini lift and jumped right onto the face there.  Great steep run, but it needed more snow on the slopes as we hit a few concealed rocks.

A-Basin is the highest elevaton ski resort in America.

Steve at the Snow Plume Refuge atop A-Basin.

We got out of there and headed to the Black Mountain Express lift.  We found some good powder on the intermediate runs there, and we cut it up.

Next we headed up the Lenawee lift to the top.  There was some nice uncut poo under the lift and in a few bowls that ran on each side of the lift. Gleefully we blasted through it and had a great time. Feeling the call of nature we stopped at the Snow Plume refuge at the top.  Once relieved I had to take a picture of the sign showing that the elevation was 12,456 feet.  We were certainly huffing and puffing anytime we had to exert ourselves at that altitude.

After a few runs we headed into the Black mountain lodge which is mid-mountain for some coffee to warm up and rejuvenate. Once fully fortified we headed back out and went to the backside – the Montezuma Bowl.

Arapahoe Basin has lots of great stuff to ski.

Bro showing his stuff in Elk Meadows.

What an awesome bowl.  We hooked up with a free resort tour guide there and he showed us a few powder stashes. When the tour was over, we found a few other great places to ski by ourselves and we were really impressed with the available runs in this place. We traversed the bowl and skied a run called Elk Meadows, which was wide open and uncut.

Having worked up an appetite by this time we headed back to the front side to get some lunch at the main lodge. We were cruising down the powder, about to drop off a ledge into a bowl when Steve took a sharp right.  I was right behind him, not anticipating his turn and made a sharp right to avoid him.  I failed and crashed right into him, knocking him headfirst off the ledge.  He landed hard, whacking his head and wrenching his back.  Shit!!!  He’s tough, so will be fine – but I will probably never hear the end of how I ran into him. (No big deal – that’s how he is. I’m used to it)

Araphoe Basin has a high degree of Gnar.

Part of the East Wall at A-Basin

We made it to the lodge and had some fantastic beer and pizza. I went out and did a few more runs, trying out Steve’s Nordica skis for the first time, while he recovered in the lodge. We had skied the whole place, so we were done.

Ranking this resort is easy.  The Hoback scale for the day was a 2 – as there was ice and crud under some of the new snow on a few runs. Made it a bit of a challenge at times.  The Foo-foo scale is a 1 – if that.  Very little Foo-foo – just old school charm and skier friendly atmosphere. The Gnar scale is an 8 or 9 – as the steep runs, awesome Montezuma bowl chutes and available East bowl face make this a gnarly place. Nice!

There you have it.  Our last few days of skiing – and now on to Aspen, Crested Butte and beyond.  Here are a few more pictures for you to enjoy.

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Keystone Impresses and Vail Bowls are Awesome

Keystone impresses but Vail Bowls are awesome.

Fluffied Bro at Keystone. That’s Breckenridge in the background.

Catching up again – due to the very slow internet here I have not been able to post daily.  Today we are taking a breather – after skiing 5 different resorts in 7 days.  We also traveled from Nevada to Colorado during this time, so we have been busy. Two days ago, we skied Keystone and yesterday we skied Vail – a first for both of us at both places. All I have to say is that Keystone impresses and the famous Vail bowls are awesome!

But first – we need to continue our clarification of the key terms we are using to rate the resorts we’re visiting. Today we’re going to cover the Gnar scale.  Gnar stands for gnarly, which per the urban dictionary means “you’ve gone beyond radical, beyond extreme, it’s balls out danger.” In terms of skiing a 1 on the Gnar scale is a slope that is almost flat, smooth, easy. If you look over the edge of a slope and you get a fluttering heart and slamming pie-hole puckering – it’s about an 8.  If you look over the edge and you uncontrollably scream “Are you frikken’ kidding me!!” – I think you have a 10.  Alright, with that out of the way, let’s move on.

The Keystone bowls are greaat looking.

One part of the Keystone bowls.

It has been colder then a well diggers butt here over the last few days.  We “fluffied-up” two days ago and headed to Keystone.  Even though we had so much on we could hardly put our arms to our sides – we froze. We tried hard not to whine like little 5 years olds – but we probably didn’t succeed.

Anyway,  Keystone is quite an amazing place. Good incline to most of it’s runs, really good grooming and some awesome looking bowls.  There are 4 or 5 different Cat trips you can take out to these bowls and these really open the resort up. We took a small hike at the top to get a taste of some of the bowl skiing available.  It was really good for the little amount of new snow they had – but would be absolutely awesome with some deep snow.  We decided not to take the Cat out further as it was not really worth the $10 you have to pay for the 2-3 inches of new snow.

We skied the whole place and enjoyed it immensely.  With the good grooming, the Hoback score was about a 1.  The Gnar score was a 5 – taking in the bowls that are available.  The Foo-foo score is a 5 – it is there, but not really all in your face.  Overall, Keystone is certainly a place we’d love to ski again – well worth skiing.

Vail Bowls Are Awesome

Let me get this out of the way right off the bat. Vail ranks very high on the Foo-foo scale – like an 8.  To get to the lifts, you are forced to walk through a winding village of high brow shops. That sucks.  That is not what skiing is all about and we hate it.

The Vail bowls are massive and go on and on!

Heading up Sun Up bowl lift. It’s cold!

That being said, once through the crap – the skiing and the lay out are awesome.  The place is huge.  It took us all day to cover only about 1/2 of the resort in our first day of skiing there.   We’re going back in a couple of days to take in the rest of the place.

Vails back bowls are off the charts for sure.

In the glades getting some knee lube.

Eager to get it going, we headed right to the the famous Vail bowls – and we were impressed.  They are big, expansive and a gas to ski.  The resort had about 5-6 inches of new powder and we proceeded to cut it up.  We skied the Sun Up bowl, and even with varying conditions, we had a gas.  We took to the glades in the China Bowl and found some great uncut powder.  Took a bit of a break in the trees to liberally apply some much needed knee lube. (Got to keep our joints working – right?)  Heading to the Siberia bowl we found some uncut poo and left our marks throughout. Man was it great.

It was time to refuel so we ate lunch at the Two Elk Lodge at the top of the China Bowl.  That place is a massive wood lodge, which serves hundreds of people at a time and they had great food. Once fully replenished, we skied some of the front side.

The front side is mostly intermediate skiing.  The few black diamond runs we skied there were really just glorified blue (intermediate) runs.  We skied about 1/3rd of the front side before we were done for the day.

I gave you the Foo-foo score above, so I will move on to the other scale rankings for Vail. The place ranked about a 2 on the Hoback scale, only because some of he varying conditions in the Sun Up bowl.   The resort ranks about a 4 on the Gnar scale. The Vail bowls are huge and impressive, but they are not really steep or hair raising.

Great couple of days on the slopes at Keystone and in the Vail bowls.  We are one week into our trip and we are having a great time.

Here are some more pictures from our days at Keystone and Vail.  Enjoy!

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Steamboat Sucks but Breckenridge Rocks

Billy Kidd is the Ski pro at Steamboat.

Steve by the Billy Kidd statue at Steamboat.

Have to catch up on the activities of the boys from Dover – so I am covering two resorts we have been to over the last few days.    We went to Steamboat two days ago – and frankly – Steamboat sucks.  Went to Breckenridge yesterday – and I have to say Breckenridge rocks.  Here is how this all went down.

Just a few things to clarify – some scales you need to be clued in on.  I am going to cover the Hoback scale here.  Will cover the Gnar scale in another post and the Foo-Foo scale later too.  I will give you the ranking of these resorts here, but the full definition later.

The Hoback scale – this is a scale that measures the degree of un-skiability of a slope. The top of this scale is measured against an incredibly horrendous run down “The Hobacks” at Jackson Hole several years ago.   Those that experienced this 4000 foot ride down the frozen torture chamber are amazed they lived to tell about it. Solid ice skating rink slope covered with up to small ice chest size blocks that did not move, but rather bounced you around like you were a pinball. The biggest fear was that one of these blocks would click your boot out of your binding and you would spend the rest of the run ricocheting off these blocks with your face – ouch!  Anyway – that level of horribleness is a “10” on the Hoback scale.

Now back to the report on the resorts.  Steamboat rated about 4 on the Hoback scale the day we were there.  It ranked about a 4 on the Gnar scale and about an 8 or 9 on the Foo-foo scale.

Breckenridge rocks sogo theere.

Lots of good advice here. Best follow it.

Steamboat probably has about the worst grooming we have ever run into ever – anywhere on planet. (and that is actually being kind)  The “Village” and development around the mountain with large gabillion dollar homes lining the slopes really exemplify all that we hate about the current ski resort scene.

They have not had any snow for sometime, but the hills were so poorly groomed that even the best groomed runs were a challenge to ski – while the un-groomed were not really skiable.

It sucked – all the way down to the $170.00 per day lift ticket price. Paying that much for crap just added insult to injury.  We will not be going back. They did have a great sign concerning moose, and of course I just had to get a picture of it.  One of the few redeeming things about the resort.

Breckenridge Rocks

Not many pictures due to thee weather but Breckenridge rocks.

The snow at Breckenridge was quite good.

Breckenridge rocks as a resort.  There was a lot of development of the Foo-foo variety lower down on the mountain – but overall the mountain ranks about a 4 on the Foo-foo scale.  You have to take a gondola up to where the ski lifts are – so this development is not as in your face as the Steamboat development. There is no parking up near the lifts, but we did not know that and drove up there.  We had a bit of an adventure where a women almost slid into us when she lost control of her car.  We had to back down the hill fast, with her coming right at us, but luckily she finally stopped sliding and we got the hell out of there.

Breckenridge rocks and would be even betteer with more snow.

Bro on the hill at Breckenridge.

The resort itself is spread out over 5 peaks with a number of bowls you can reach only by hiking. These bowls look to be very high on the Gnar scale, but we never got to them. It was snowing, blowing hard and the clouds were low down on the mountain – so we never made it to the highest lift, which goes up to almost 13,000 feet. We did make it to the second highest peak that went over 12,300 feet.  We had to get down the first couple hundred yards by brail due to the low cloud cover, but we made it.

Overall the resort is very large and we went from one boundary to the other, hitting almost all the lifts.  The grooming was excellent and runs were wide and fun to ski.  The lifts were top notch and the lodges were first class. Breckenridge rocks and is a great place to ski and we would love to go back sometime.  Due to the weather I did not get many pictures, as it was nasty out, but the skiing was great.  Just like we like it – snowing, new snow and not many people on the hill – wonderful to the crazy Hamilton boys.