Preparing for the slopes: Local skiers tune up equipment, await first big snowfall

PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER TOMLINSON—Powerhorn Resort on the Grand Mesa.Sent as SPT SKI 11-8 1.


Colorado Ski Resorts

Here is a list of Colorado ski resorts and tentative opening dates:

Arapahoe Basin: Open

Aspen Highlands: Dec. 12

Aspen Mountain: Nov. 26

Beaver Creek: Nov. 25

Breckenridge: Nov. 12

Buttermilk: Dec. 12

Copper Mountain: Open

Crested Butte: Nov. 25

Echo Mountain: Dec. 2

Eldora: Nov. 20

Howelsen: December, date TBD

Keystone: Open

Monarch: Nov. 25

Loveland: Open

Powderhorn: Dec. 17

Purgatory (Durango): Nov. 27

Silverton: Dec. 5

Snowmass: Nov. 26

Sol Vista Basin: December

Steamboat: Nov. 25

Telluride: Nov. 26

Vail: Nov. 20

Winter Park: Nov. 18

Wolf Creek: Open

Ski conditions:

Nick Stubler broke his back during a summer ski camp.

Recently cleared by his doctor to ski again, the Grand Junction 15-year-old can’t wait for the snow to fly.

“It’s all I can think about,” he said. “When I get home (from school), I check the on-line Web cam videos.”

Last weekend, Stubler and a couple of his friends drove to Powderhorn Ski Area after a storm passed through the state and hiked up the mountain.

“We hiked up to two feet of powder and built a jump,” he said. “We found some black sewer tubes and built a rail out of that.”

Stubler spends most of his free time preparing his equipment for the upcoming season.

He sanded and painted his poles and has even cut the buckle off his goggles, then sewed the strap together.

“I did it so it would be more comfortable,” Stubler said. “I wear my goggles underneath my helmet.”

He’s decorated his helmet with stickers, anything from ski brands to places he’s skied.

Board & Buckle owner Davis Findley said you don’t have to go to that extent to be ready for the ski season, but did recommend a couple of things.

“Right now everybody brings skis and boards in for a tune-up,” he said.

Here’s a list:

1) Bindings: Findley says bindings should be checked and set properly.

2) Skis/Snowboards: Get them waxed and edges sharpened.

3) Boots: Make sure boots fit comfortably, if not, get them adjusted.

A simple tune-up of the skis usually costs $25, Davis Findley of Board and Buckle said. For the entire package, including boots, a customer is looking at spending $50 to $60, but Findley said it’s worth it for a more enjoyable experience this winter.

“It’s smart to make sure your bindings are working,” he said. “It’s not something that needs done every week, but every now and then. A lot people get bindings checked once a year. The hard snow dulls edges. Some people come in to get them waxed frequently.”

There are only five ski areas open today. Powderhorn Resort is scheduled to open Dec. 17, but could open as early as Dec. 1 with the right conditions.

Its annual Ski Patrol Ski Swap took place Saturday at Two Rivers Convention Center, and the resort is hosting a job fair from 9 a.m. to noon on Nov. 14 at the Powderhorn Base Lodge.

“We’re usually scraping like crazy to find workers, but this year I have a feeling we’ll be turning people away,” said Sarah Allen, Powderhorn’s public relations director.

R-5 High School is hosting its annual Ski Swap from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 21 at the Lincoln Park Barn. Admission is $1 (children 12-under are free).

Skis, boots, snowboards, bindings, helmets and clothing are at discounted prices with a portion of the proceeds funding scholarships and activities for R-5 high school students.

Powderhorn Facts

Base Elevation: 8,200 feet

Summit Elevation: 9.850 feet

Vertical Drop: 1,650 feet

Skiable acres: 1,600 (600 groomed), 20 percent beginners, 50 percent intermediate, 30 percent advanced

Average snowfall: 250 inches

Lifts: 4 (1 quad, 2 doubles, 1 surface)

Lift tickets: $53 adults; $43 youth for full day; $46 adults; $36 youth for half day

Season passes: $539 adults (ages 19-59); $449 children/senior citizens

Special deals: Buy 1, get 1 free ticket voucher with $10 purchase of fuel at Shell Gas Stations beginning in January. Tickets are good Monday through Friday with no blackout dates. Beginning in January, men get $10 off a lift ticket on Wednesdays and women get $10 off a lift ticket on Thursdays through the rest of the season.

Grand Valley Transit is offering rides to Powderhorn and back to town for $8 round trip. The bus departs from the Lincoln Park Barn at 7:45 a.m. and returns at 4:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at Traz Snow & Skate.

Powderhorn has a new restaurant this year: Skiers Union Cafe & Bar. It replaces the Inn at Wildewood.


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