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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old August 12th, 2006, 17:18 Thread Starter
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And in the Northern Hemisphere...

Five Best: Rocky Mountain Retreats

Published: 12 August 2006
Rainbow Ranch Lodge, Montana

Located in the heart of the rugged Big Sky region, Rainbow Ranch Lodge is an elegant hideaway on the banks of the Gallatin River. The 21 suites and cabins feature stone fireplaces, vaulted ceilings and wooden verandas. Life at the lodge invariably revolves around the great outdoors: skiing and dog sledding, in the winter, fly fishing, biking and horse-riding in summer. The hotel is also home to an award-winning collection of 8,500 bottles of wine, reportedly the largest in Montana.

Rainbow Ranch Lodge, Highway 191, Big Sky, Montana, US (001 406 995 4132; www.rainbowranch.com). Doubles from $204 (£120), room only

Sundance Resort, Utah

The world of movies may descend on Sundance Resort for the annual festival, but in style as well as location it is a million miles from Hollywood. When Robert Redford bought 5,000 acres of wilderness at the foot of Mount Timpanogos in 1969, his aim was to create a sustainable artistic community. Today, it hosts exhibitions, photographic workshops and food and wine festivals. But it is the setting that takes centre stage. Rustic cottages are simply furnished with roughly hewn beams, wood stoves and indigenous artefacts. The award-winning Tree Room provides fine cuisine by candlelight while the Native American-inspired spa offers treats such as a sage and sweet-grass rub.

Sundance Resort, Sundance, Utah, US (001 800 892 1600; www.sundanceresort.com). B&B starts at $256 (£151).


Emerald Lake Lodge, British Columbia

Discovered in 1882 by the guide Tom Wilson during the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, Emerald Lake is a serene spot in a wildly remote location. The lodge lies on a private island, encircled by the calm waters of the lake and the towering mountains. Hand-hewn timber, giant stone fireplaces and historical artefacts create a feeling of comfort and seclusion in the 85 guestrooms. Its Mount Burgess Dining Room serves Rocky Mountain cuisine reflecting the region's native Indian and Victorian legacy, with an emphasis on local wild game.

Emerald Lake Lodge, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada (001 403 410 7417; www.crmr.com). Doubles start at C$242 (£114), room only.

Fairmont Banff Springs, Alberta

Possessing a grandeur to rival the soaring mountains that surround it, the Fairmont Banff Springs doesn't do things by halves. The 19th-century chateau-style property is home to 770 guestrooms, award-winning golf courses and a spa that sprawls across 38,000 sq ft. But for all its opulence, the main focus lies in its location. Surrounded by the alpine forests that are home to grizzly bears, elk and bighorn sheep, the hotel sits alongside the Bow River in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. An afternoon-tea lounge, sushi bar, and wine store are among an array of places for guests to refresh themselves inside the hotel.

Fairmont Banff Springs, 405 Spray Avenue, Banff, Alberta, Canada (001 403 762 2211; www.fairmont.com/banffsprings). Doubles start at C$263 (£124), room only.

The Peaks Resort, Colorado

Among the lofty 14,000ft peaks of the Rocky Mountains is Telluride, a 19th-century mining town as quaint as it is remote. The Peaks Resort provides a classy refuge from the ski slopes - surrounding pistes cover 733 acres. The 174 guestrooms, cabins and penthouses share one common attraction: vast windows framing views of the dramatic landscape. Relaxation is elevated to an art form at the Golden Door Spa - where even canine guests are pampered in its "Doggie Spa".

The Peaks Resort & Golden Door Spa, 136 Country Club Drive, Telluride, Colorado, US (001 970 7286800; www.thepeaksresort.com). Doubles start at $159 (£94), room only.

Rainbow Ranch Lodge, Montana

Located in the heart of the rugged Big Sky region, Rainbow Ranch Lodge is an elegant hideaway on the banks of the Gallatin River. The 21 suites and cabins feature stone fireplaces, vaulted ceilings and wooden verandas. Life at the lodge invariably revolves around the great outdoors: skiing and dog sledding, in the winter, fly fishing, biking and horse-riding in summer. The hotel is also home to an award-winning collection of 8,500 bottles of wine, reportedly the largest in Montana.

Rainbow Ranch Lodge, Highway 191, Big Sky, Montana, US (001 406 995 4132; www.rainbowranch.com). Doubles from $204 (£120), room only

Sundance Resort, Utah

The world of movies may descend on Sundance Resort for the annual festival, but in style as well as location it is a million miles from Hollywood. When Robert Redford bought 5,000 acres of wilderness at the foot of Mount Timpanogos in 1969, his aim was to create a sustainable artistic community. Today, it hosts exhibitions, photographic workshops and food and wine festivals. But it is the setting that takes centre stage. Rustic cottages are simply furnished with roughly hewn beams, wood stoves and indigenous artefacts. The award-winning Tree Room provides fine cuisine by candlelight while the Native American-inspired spa offers treats such as a sage and sweet-grass rub.

Sundance Resort, Sundance, Utah, US (001 800 892 1600; www.sundanceresort.com). B&B starts at $256 (£151).

Emerald Lake Lodge, British Columbia

Discovered in 1882 by the guide Tom Wilson during the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, Emerald Lake is a serene spot in a wildly remote location. The lodge lies on a private island, encircled by the calm waters of the lake and the towering mountains. Hand-hewn timber, giant stone fireplaces and historical artefacts create a feeling of comfort and seclusion in the 85 guestrooms. Its Mount Burgess Dining Room serves Rocky Mountain cuisine reflecting the region's native Indian and Victorian legacy, with an emphasis on local wild game.
Emerald Lake Lodge, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada (001 403 410 7417; www.crmr.com). Doubles start at C$242 (£114), room only.

Fairmont Banff Springs, Alberta

Possessing a grandeur to rival the soaring mountains that surround it, the Fairmont Banff Springs doesn't do things by halves. The 19th-century chateau-style property is home to 770 guestrooms, award-winning golf courses and a spa that sprawls across 38,000 sq ft. But for all its opulence, the main focus lies in its location. Surrounded by the alpine forests that are home to grizzly bears, elk and bighorn sheep, the hotel sits alongside the Bow River in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. An afternoon-tea lounge, sushi bar, and wine store are among an array of places for guests to refresh themselves inside the hotel.

Fairmont Banff Springs, 405 Spray Avenue, Banff, Alberta, Canada (001 403 762 2211; www.fairmont.com/banffsprings). Doubles start at C$263 (£124), room only.

The Peaks Resort, Colorado

Among the lofty 14,000ft peaks of the Rocky Mountains is Telluride, a 19th-century mining town as quaint as it is remote. The Peaks Resort provides a classy refuge from the ski slopes - surrounding pistes cover 733 acres. The 174 guestrooms, cabins and penthouses share one common attraction: vast windows framing views of the dramatic landscape. Relaxation is elevated to an art form at the Golden Door Spa - where even canine guests are pampered in its "Doggie Spa".

The Peaks Resort & Golden Door Spa, 136 Country Club Drive, Telluride, Colorado, US (001 970 7286800; www.thepeaksresort.com). Doubles start at $159 (£94), room only.

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In all fairness...if Carson35 IS allowed to copy & paste here..So can I !!!!

Que la chupen., y la sigan chupando !!!!

National Champions. 83 87 89 91 and 2001

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old August 27th, 2006, 18:13 Thread Starter
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Park City, Utah..My Fav.....Faboulous !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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In all fairness...if Carson35 IS allowed to copy & paste here..So can I !!!!

Que la chupen., y la sigan chupando !!!!

National Champions. 83 87 89 91 and 2001

Xtratime is FULL of BULLIES, and not enough Indians.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old October 7th, 2006, 17:07 Thread Starter
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Already snowing up in Utah ....... But no SKIING yet !!!!!

Snow and Grooming Report

New Snow Last 24 Hours: 0" New Snow Last 48 Hours: 0" New Snow Last 72 Hours: 0"
Base Depth : 0" Year to Date Snow Total : 0" Additional Snow Info
Runs Open: 0 Lifts Open: 0 Bowls Open: 0
Groomed Runs: 0 Parks Open: 0 Pipes Open: 0
Conditions: Sunday - Breezy. Partly cloudy with a slight chance of rain showers in the morning...then mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Highs around 60. Southwest winds 15-25 mph. Chance of showers and thunderstorms 40 percent.
News and Events: > We are scheduled to open on November 17, 2006 (conditions permitting)


Updated: October 07, 2006 09:07 AM

Chairman of the BORED © !!!!!& MASTER BAITER ©

In all fairness...if Carson35 IS allowed to copy & paste here..So can I !!!!

Que la chupen., y la sigan chupando !!!!

National Champions. 83 87 89 91 and 2001

Xtratime is FULL of BULLIES, and not enough Indians.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old October 18th, 2006, 10:42 Thread Starter
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Lookinn Great !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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In all fairness...if Carson35 IS allowed to copy & paste here..So can I !!!!

Que la chupen., y la sigan chupando !!!!

National Champions. 83 87 89 91 and 2001

Xtratime is FULL of BULLIES, and not enough Indians.

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old October 19th, 2006, 10:31 Thread Starter
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Park City Resort .... Mountain Conditions
Temperature: 28‘ F0" Last 24 Hours0" Base Depth0" Year to Date

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In all fairness...if Carson35 IS allowed to copy & paste here..So can I !!!!

Que la chupen., y la sigan chupando !!!!

National Champions. 83 87 89 91 and 2001

Xtratime is FULL of BULLIES, and not enough Indians.

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old November 3rd, 2006, 00:46
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still nothing over here

ski now, apocalypse later
"César poursuivit les Gaulois jusqu'à Alésia, car Vercingétorix avait toujours la Gaule ... "
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old November 3rd, 2006, 09:57 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marmotte
still nothing over here

Snow and Grooming Report Park City, Ut ...

New Snow Last 24 Hours: 0" New Snow Last 48 Hours: 0" New Snow Last 72 Hours: 0"

Base Depth : 0" Year to Date Snow Total : 0" Additional Snow Info

Runs Open: 0 Lifts Open: 0 Bowls Open: 0

Groomed Runs: 0 Parks Open: 0 Pipes Open: 0

Conditions: Sunday - Breezy. Partly cloudy with a slight chance of rain showers in the morning...then mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Highs around 60. Southwest winds 15-25 mph. Chance of showers and thunderstorms 40 percent.

News and Events: > We are scheduled to open on November 17, 2006 (conditions permitting)


Updated: November 02, 2006 08:07 PM

Chairman of the BORED © !!!!!& MASTER BAITER ©

In all fairness...if Carson35 IS allowed to copy & paste here..So can I !!!!

Que la chupen., y la sigan chupando !!!!

National Champions. 83 87 89 91 and 2001

Xtratime is FULL of BULLIES, and not enough Indians.

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old November 5th, 2006, 12:09 Thread Starter
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It's frikken 28 degrees in Park City, Ut as I type .... but no powder yet ....

Chairman of the BORED © !!!!!& MASTER BAITER ©

In all fairness...if Carson35 IS allowed to copy & paste here..So can I !!!!

Que la chupen., y la sigan chupando !!!!

National Champions. 83 87 89 91 and 2001

Xtratime is FULL of BULLIES, and not enough Indians.

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old November 11th, 2006, 10:52 Thread Starter
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World Cup ski season opens in Finland

By STEPHAN NASSTROM, AP Sports Writer
November 9, 2006

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) -- Which Bode Miller will show up this season?

The outspoken Miller will be hoping to rebound from a less-than-stellar season to compete with defending overall champion Benjamin Raich.

The World Cup season opens this weekend with slalom races in Levi, Finland. The season was originally scheduled to begin two weeks ago in Soelden, Austria, but the races were canceled because of rain and warm weather. They will not be rescheduled.

Miller will head into the season hoping to improve from last year. The American went to the Turin Olympics hoping to medal in all five events, but left Italy with none.

"Everyone who knows Bode from 2004-05, can see he was different in 05-06," Miller's agent Lowell Taub said. "I think the Bode of 06-07 is a content, focused athlete who's going out there and competing because he loves it."

Raich, the Olympic slalom champion, won last year's overall title by more than 400 points. Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway was second, followed by 2005 champion Miller.

This season, Raich will be focusing more on the downhill.

"I have three year's experience in the downhill at this point and I want to use that," the Austrian said. "I'm still targeting the overall title but I have a lot of goals this year."

In February, Miller will go into the world championships in Are, Sweden, as the defending downhill and super-G world champion.

Miller leads a strong United States team with Olympic combined champion Ted Ligety and giant slalom gold medalist Julia Mancuso.

"This is one of our strongest teams in terms of talent and depth," U.S. alpine director Jesse Hunt said.

Daron Rahlves, the United States' all-time best downhiller, retired after finishing fourth in the overall standings last season. He also was the 2001 super-G world champion and a double medalist at the 2005 worlds.

"Having 'D' move on presents a challenge, but I'm confident we have the talent to help fill that gap," Hunt said. "One of our goals this season is to get closer to Austria in the Nations Cup."

The United States finished second in the Nations Cup the last two seasons.

On the women's side, Anja Paerson will have to find some new competition on the Alpine World Cup circuit.

The two-time overall champion from Sweden, who finished second last season behind Janica Kostelic, is favored this season because the Croat is taking a year off and Michaela Dorfmeister has retired.

Paerson expects tough competition even without Kostelic, the most successful female Alpine skier in Olympic history.

"Last season was one of the most even, when no skier won a lot of races," said Paerson, who beat Kostelic by three points in 2005. "This season I think there will be even better quality."

Kostelic announced last month that she will skip this season because of chronic back and knee pain.

"We will miss her because she will always mean a lot for the World Cup," said Paerson, who skied with pain in her left knee last season. "The sport will miss a big name."

Paerson had surgery on her knee after the World Cup finals and returned to skiing in July after four months of rehab.

"My knee feels good, really good," the Swede said. "But I'm not sure about my form. It's hard to tell because I haven't had the time I needed, but all training camps were great."

Dorfmeister, who was third overall last season and won the downhill and super-G titles, leaves behind a powerful Austrian team that includes Nicole Hosp, Kathrin Zettel and Marlies Schild.

AP Sports Writer Erica Bulman in Geneva contributed to this report.

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In all fairness...if Carson35 IS allowed to copy & paste here..So can I !!!!

Que la chupen., y la sigan chupando !!!!

National Champions. 83 87 89 91 and 2001

Xtratime is FULL of BULLIES, and not enough Indians.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old November 19th, 2006, 12:01 Thread Starter
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• Bjorndalen, Neumannova win cross country openers

• Raich dominates World Cup slalom opener

• Alpine skiers Raich, Schild share opening honors

• Raich wins World Cup slalom opener; Miller misses second run

• Schild leads Austrian sweep in first World Cup slalom

Chairman of the BORED © !!!!!& MASTER BAITER ©

In all fairness...if Carson35 IS allowed to copy & paste here..So can I !!!!

Que la chupen., y la sigan chupando !!!!

National Champions. 83 87 89 91 and 2001

Xtratime is FULL of BULLIES, and not enough Indians.

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old November 23rd, 2006, 13:06 Thread Starter
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Gruber sets pace in downhill training run

AFP
November 22, 2006

LAKE LOUISE, Canada (AFP) - Four-time Olympian Christoph Gruber set the early tone by posting the fastest time in training for the first downhill of the World Cup season.

The 30-year-old Austrian finished ahead of Italy's Kurt Sulzenbacher and Swiss Didier Cuche with a time of one minute, 54.27 seconds on the 3.13km Whitehorn Mountain course.

Sulzenbacher clocked 1:54.28 while Cuche finished right behind in 1:54.29.

Gruber, who has never reached the podium in Lake Louise, was one of three Austrians to place in the top ten.

He has four World Cup victories but never in the downhill. His most recent World Cup win was a Super-G race in January at Garmisch.

Two-time Olympic silver medalist Bode Miller finished fourth in 1:54.52, sneaking in ahead of American teammate Marco Sullivan (1:54.54).

Miller, who switched ski manufacturers this season to Head, boasted at the start of the 2006-07 season that he was looking to take a record number of wins on the circuit. He finished a disappointing fifth in the downhill at the Turin Olympics.

Olympic gold medalist Antoine Deneriaz of France clocked 1:55.90 to place 30th.

Temperatures reached minus seven degrees Celsius on Wednesday but the forecast is for much cooler weather for Saturday's downhill. A Super-G is scheduled here on Sunday.

One major change this year is that organizers have not had to make any snow for the World Cup races.

The start of the first training run was pushed back two hours Wednesday because of heavy snow which blanketted the course with 17 centimetres of powder overnight.

Lake Louise has been hit with 50 centimetres of snow in the past week making this one of the best early season snowfalls in memory.

Because of the heavy snow the racers had to begin about 200 metres lower than the official men's downhill start.

Course workers are hoping to have the top of the run ready for Thursday's training run.

Up for grabs is 23,000 US dollars in first-place prize money. The runner-up gets 15,000 dollars and third 11,500 dollars.


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In all fairness...if Carson35 IS allowed to copy & paste here..So can I !!!!

Que la chupen., y la sigan chupando !!!!

National Champions. 83 87 89 91 and 2001

Xtratime is FULL of BULLIES, and not enough Indians.

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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old November 26th, 2006, 12:33 Thread Starter
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• Buechel strikes blow for World Cup seniors

• Alpine skiing-Buechel strikes blow for World Cup seniors

• Tranquil Mancuso untroubled by hip twinges and travel travails

• Zettel wins giant slalom, maintains Austrian control

• Buechel shakes off broken rib, wins World Cup downhill

• Buechel wins World Cup downhill, top American 17th

• Zettel wins GS for first career World Cup win; Mancuso seventh

• Zettel claims first career World Cup win in Aspen giant slalom

• World Cup ski jumping canceled because of bad weather

• Alpine skiing-Aamodt delays World Cup return to January

Chairman of the BORED © !!!!!& MASTER BAITER ©

In all fairness...if Carson35 IS allowed to copy & paste here..So can I !!!!

Que la chupen., y la sigan chupando !!!!

National Champions. 83 87 89 91 and 2001

Xtratime is FULL of BULLIES, and not enough Indians.

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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old December 9th, 2006, 13:31 Thread Starter
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• Women's World Cup races at Val d'Isere canceled

• Goergl to miss World Cup season after damaging knee

• Val Gardena ski races tentatively confirmed

• Finnish police close case into suspected doping after World Cup events

• Kildow hopes to fill Dorfmeister's shoes

• U.S. men shut out of slalom but still have better week than Austrians

• Sweden's Myhrer captures first career World Cup win

• Kildow and Svindal set the ski standards

• Goetschl wins super-G at Lake Louise

• Sweden's Myhrer wins slalom; U.S. is way back

Chairman of the BORED © !!!!!& MASTER BAITER ©

In all fairness...if Carson35 IS allowed to copy & paste here..So can I !!!!

Que la chupen., y la sigan chupando !!!!

National Champions. 83 87 89 91 and 2001

Xtratime is FULL of BULLIES, and not enough Indians.

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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old December 30th, 2006, 13:49 Thread Starter
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Environmental report card for ski areas

By JESSE HARLAN ALDERMAN, Associated Press Writer
Tue Dec 26, 2006




BOISE, Idaho - The famed Sun Valley resort received low :thmbdown: marks on a report card grading ski areas for their impact on the environment, while rustic Bogus Basin near Boise ranked in the top 10 nationally.

The annual Ski Area Citizens' Coalition report rates 77 Western ski areas on a matrix of environmental policies, such as preservation of undeveloped areas, so-called "green building" practices and energy and water use.

Sun Valley received a "D" on the report card, notching 45.5 points on a 100-point scale.

The report is produced by Colorado Wild, an environmental group based in Durango, Colo., and endorsed by several similar groups in the West.

The environmental groups docked Sun Valley for its proposals to expand real estate, open 102 acres of new ski terrain on Baldy Mountain and expand snowmaking, which requires building underground pipes and draining nearby water, for several ski runs.

The central Idaho resort also lost points for its lack of recycling and green energy programs, said Ben Doon, the report's research director.

"If they had the kind of green programs of Aspen or Grand Targhee, they'd easily have a 'B,'" Doon said.

Jack Sibbach, Sun Valley's director of public relations, questioned the report's methodology. He said the resort has long resisted building the kind of sprawling base villages seen at many ski areas. Sun Valley has left most of its 2,600 developable acres untouched, he said.

The resort's computerized snowmaking system, the largest in the country, helps it compete with Colorado resorts that receive more natural snow, Sibbach said.

"I'd ask who uses more energy?" he said. "It's the other resorts who develop large condos and base villages. We don't have any of that."

Craig Barry, executive director of the Environmental Resource Center in Ketchum, one of the groups that endorsed the report, praised Sun Valley for limiting development.

But he agreed with the report's low score. He said Sun Valley has failed to ratify the "Sustainable Slopes" program, a list of environmentally friendly practices endorsed by the industry's trade group, The National Ski Areas Association.

"They really don't have any environmental initiative at Sun Valley," Barry said. "It'd be safe to say, it's completely absent."

Across the Northwest, Bogus Basin and Mount Bachelor, outside of Bend, Ore., both received "A" grades and were ranked in the top 10. Both areas benefited mostly from their lack of real estate and minimal ski area expansions.

"We don't take off any points for infrastructure improvements within the existing footprint," said Ryan Demmy Bidwell, the executive director of Colorado Wild. "But when they go outside the existing area for new buildings or ski terrain, they get dinged pretty hard."

Jackson Hole in Jackson, Wyo., received a "B" and earned points for its programs to monitor emissions, buy wind power and support skier carpools.

The resort's green programs offset its aggressive real estate plans and lax record on protecting endangered herds of Targhee bighorn sheep and wolverines, according to the report.

Silver Mountain in Kellogg, Idaho, scored in the bottom 10, with an "F," or 39.2 percent out of 100. White Pass Ski Area in eastern Washington fared the worst in the Northwest, also scoring an "F," or 37.4 out of 100.

In Montana, two areas near Bozeman — Big Sky, which is developing 5,000 acres it owns at the base of the mountain and Bridger Ski Bowl — both received "Ds" and were rated in the bottom 10.

The report gave the worst marks to Breckenridge, in Colorado, an "F" and a score of 35.0 out of 100.

Aspen Mountain in Colorado, a ritzy and heavily developed ski area, ranked the best with an "A" and a score of 92.8 out of 100. The report lauds Aspen for its strenuous environmental building codes.

"Aspen is a big resort," Bidwell said. "They've done a lot of development and a lot of expansion, but they've done it in an environmentally conscious way. It's definitely something that can be done." ___

On the Net:

The Ski Area Citizens' Coalition, http://www.skiareacitizens.com

___

The Ski Area Citizens' Coalition top 10 list in its environmental report card for ski areas was as follows:

Aspen Mountain, Aspen, Colo.; Buttermilk, Aspen, Colo.; Alpine Meadows, Tahoe City, Calif.; Sundance, Sundance, Utah ; Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colo.; Mount Bachelor, Bend, Ore.; Sierra-at-Tahoe, Twin Bridges, Calif.; Wolf Creek, Pagosa Springs, Colo.; Bogus Basin, Boise, Idaho; and Alta, Alta, Utah.

The Ski Area Citizens' Coalition bottom 10 list from the same report card was as follows:

Breckenridge, Breckenridge, Colo.; Copper Mountain, Copper Mountain, Colo.; Kirkwood Mountain, Kirkwood, Colo.; White Pass, White Pass, Wash.; Crested Butte, Crested Butte, Colo.; Winter Park, Winter Park, Colo.; Silver Mountain, Kellogg, Idaho; Bridger Bowl, Bozeman, Mont.; Big Sky, Big Sky, Mont.; (tied for last place) Crystal Mountain, Crystal Mountain, Wash., and Arapahoe Basin — Dillon, Colo.


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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old January 13th, 2007, 11:31 Thread Starter
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European ski resorts struggle with high temperatures and lack of snow

By ERICA BULMAN, AP Sports Writer
January 12, 2007

WENGEN, Switzerland (AP) -- At many ski resorts across Europe, there's more mud than snow. :thmbdown:

World Cup race courses are flanked by dead, brown grass. Tourists twirl umbrellas in the streets rather than clump around in ski boots.


The telephone hot lines at Europe's ski resorts have gone cold. Most of those who bother to call are greeted with depressing news of high temperatures and lack of snow.

"No winter sports are possible again today," is the recorded message on the "snowphone" for Oberhof -- a top German training area for ski jumping, bobsled and biathlon.

"With the current warm climate it's very clear that things have become completely crazy," says the Meteo France national weather service recording. "We're in winter and the temperature in the valleys is the equivalent of the end of March."

Tourism in the Alps is crucial for European economies, with up to 80 million tourists and 160 million ski days in Austria, France, Switzerland and Germany each year.

Though a few lucky areas have snow, the situation is bleak for the majority. Much of Europe has seen record-high temperatures in January.

In France, it's been raining at an altitude of 8,200 feet and most ski resorts are below that. Only a few high-altitude stations -- such as Tignes, Alpe d'Huez and La Plagne -- are escaping the depressing drizzle.

Tourist offices say February hotel bookings at French resorts are down, with only 40 percent to 60 percent of rooms reserved so far.

The French are booking ski holidays at the last minute. Many are opting instead for sunny destinations such as North Africa or the Antilles.

In Chamonix, France, one of the world's top ski destinations, the temperature this week reached 54 degrees. Only about 60 percent of the resort's slopes are open.

Lean on snow and unable to make more on its World Cup course because of mild temperatures, Chamonix was forced to hand over its races to another French resort, Val d'Isere, which itself lost races earlier in the season.

Hotel bookings at Swiss resorts have not been affected because tourists are lured by the sunny weather in the mountains, even if they can't ski, Swiss Tourism said. In fact, ski resort restaurants, bars and pubs are thriving. The food and dining industry in the ski-rich Graubunden canton enjoyed a 10 percent increase in sales.

However, daily lift ticket sales dipped slightly compared to last year.

"Tourists are still booking. They trust there will be snow soon," said Swiss Tourism spokesman Roger Waber. "Of course that could all change. Tourists could start canceling their reservations if there's still no snow the next two weeks."

Less than 40 percent of slopes were open at the posh resort of Gstaad, Switzerland -- known as "The Beverly Hills of the Alps" and a hot spot for celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor, Roger Moore and Paris Hilton.

At Wengen -- a World Cup host this week -- organizers scrapped a men's super-combination race Friday after the famous downhill course was damaged by rain. A fragile 2.8-mile white stripe that snakes down the Lauberhorn mountain, the course is flanked by endless blankets of grass and thick green moss on either side.

Ski, snowboard and toboggan rentals at the drizzly resort have dropped 25 percent to 30 percent the last couple of weeks, said Markus Zumbuehl, owner of the Alpia Sport shop.

"The hotels are full because of the races, but it's vital for the village that the races go ahead. They're an important commercial for us," Zumbuehl said.

Some World Cup venues can't decide where to make snow first. Economic logic says the recreational slopes, but races receive wide television coverage in Europe. Calling off the races can lead to a rash of ski vacation cancellations.

Low-altitude Kitzbuehel, Austria, home of the famous Hahnenkamm races, also is suffering. Mountain operators have banned public use of the race slope to preserve the snow there for the Jan. 26-28 races. The event is in danger of being moved to St. Moritz, Switzerland, where colder weather has allowed snowmaking.

At Spindleruv Mlyn in the Czech Republic, snow is almost nonexistent..

So Czech adventure outfit Yellow Point earlier this season came up with "No Snow passes" -- which it is now optimistically renaming "Apres-Ski Pass" -- offering non-winter pursuits such as zorbing (rolling down a slope inside an inflatable balloon) and bridging (crossing a 700-foot rope bridge over the village dam).

"There's no snow," Yellow Point director Ales Koca said. "Skiing is possible only on three slopes, but it's not good. So we needed to come up with something else for people to do."

In the Italian Alps, where dandelions were sprouting over the Christmas holiday, resorts are relying on artificial snow.

"We had very little snow in early December and since then it hasn't snowed," said Gianfranco Talamini, director of a Skipass office in Cortina d'Ampezzo, a popular ski resort in northeastern Italy.

Snowmaking cannons should allow the women's World Cup events there to go ahead Jan. 19-21. But the freestyle world championships in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy, scheduled for January, were postponed until March because there's no snow.

Associated Press Writers Thierry Boinet in Paris, Marta Falconi and Ariel David in Rome and David Risin in Berlin contributed to this report.


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Chairman of the BORED © !!!!!& MASTER BAITER ©

In all fairness...if Carson35 IS allowed to copy & paste here..So can I !!!!

Que la chupen., y la sigan chupando !!!!

National Champions. 83 87 89 91 and 2001

Xtratime is FULL of BULLIES, and not enough Indians.

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