Legends of freeride. The 1960s were a time long ago, but much of what we skiers enjoy as modern “freeride” skiing began with certain key individuals way back in those classic days. One such guy was Stein Eriksen. He could angulate like nobody else, nail flawless inverted aerials, and simply look so much the part with his un-hatted head and strong Norwegian visage that women swooned and men tried to imitate, often miserably.
The latter was especially true when guys attempted to rock The Sweater, which once wet from a fall or two would drape around the derriere like a dress, as the hapless fashion victim shivered like a hypothermic dog and desperately searched for a hat in the lost-and-found. Ear frostbite is painful.
Stein lived in Park City, Utah for many years. The town is having a “Stein Day” once a year. In my opinion they should have an angulation contest. Hatless. See International Skiing History Association
Guns in the Rockies. We live in a somewhat populous area of Colorado, with a variety of cultures that often surprises those who think we’re just a bunch of pale skinned over privileged sons and daughters living off our WASP parent’s money. We’ve got everything from our own town being about 50% Latino all the way to gun toting meth cooking “folks” (I use that word kindly) back in the hills who could guest star in the TV series Justified. For an example of the firearm action, check out this land dispute involving guns with U.S. Forest service as reluctant referee.
Shelter. Continuing my focus on news happening near WildSnow HQ here in Colorado, we’ve always been interested in our government subsidized “affordable” housing. We were skeptics when the movement began many years ago, but have come to realize that when the money is there, as it is in the Aspen area, you can extract funds from the wealthy and help people of lesser means buy or rent. Thus building a functional system. In fact, the town of Aspen would be virtually dead if it wasn’t for 1,600 affordable housing units that keep core skiers living in the area instead of migrating to more financially friendly climes.
Nonetheless, as a homeowner and amateur economics buff, I happen to know that houses are expensive not just because they get inflated, but because the laws of entropy dictate human structures will gradually melt into the ground if due maintenance is not practiced — and paid for. Problem is, with resale price caps and strapped owners, apparently the required maintenance on subsidized housing in the Aspen area is being dangerously deferred due to lack of incentive. Yep, that housing isn’t quite as “affordable” as buyers were led to believe. Or is it? Key is for the owners to get local government to give them cash in a “peeling paint bailout.” Recent proposal is for a $16 million gift. Econo 101 to the Aspen area government: “Watch out what you pay for, paint peels, and you might need to keep paying, forever.” More here.
Colorado Ski Hall of Fame. The Hall will induct six new members. Most are not related to backcountry ski touring, exception being 10th Mountain Division vet Hugh Evans. Awarded the Silver Star for valor in WWII, Evans went on as a pioneer of modern Colorado skiing. His greatest contribution, in my opinion, leadership during the growth years of the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association.
Snowmobile skiing. You want news? Alaska never fails. Want adventure too? Sign up for the Arctic Man. Click into your skis on top of mountain, ski like a comet down about 2,000 vert and grab a snowmobile tow rope. Hang on. Tight. Winners get a bundle of cash. This year Olympic ski racer Daron Rahlves and X-Games sled champ Levi LaVallee hauled in $61,000 for their overall victory. Check out the video below. Your thighs will feel it. Oh, and getting serious, the Denali climbing season is ramping up.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.