December 2000

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Features

Email us at liftlines@skimag.com. Or write us at SKI, Liftlines, 929 Pearl Street, Suite 200, Boulder, CO 80302.

Tipping the Scales
I couldn't believe my eyes when I read "The Art of Tipping" by Everett Potter (Savvy Traveler, October 2000). Sure, tipping is nice, but if I followed the writer's advice I would add at least 20 percent to the cost of a ski trip, which is already so expensive. Granted, the economy is great now and people work at slave wages in most ski areas, but shouldn't tipping be reserved for outstanding service and not just because it's the thing to do?
Sam Marks
Fernandina Beach, Fla.

All these years of staying at hotels, and I didn't know I was supposed to give money to those who cleaned the room. Gee, I always thought that it was part of the room fee. I guess you add up the costs of a ski trip, plus 15 percent for tax and 15 more for tips. Then add in a few grand for gear and presto! It's no longer affordable. We love skiing, but we have a problem with giving money away to people who seem to think of the customer as an inconvenience. After 25 years of being a good ski customer, I'm about ready to say "forget it."
Barry McIntyre
Calgary, Alberta

Hot Topic
In response to Andy Bigford's article "Global Warning" (Ski Life, October 2000), there is one important aspect of the whole global warming phenomenon that he neglected to mention: Because of the nature of CO2 in the atmosphere, the largest expected rise in average temperatures will occur during winter nights. This is due to the strengthening greenhouse gas layer, which will work to decrease the effects of radiative cooling on clear nights. In other words, when ski areas need cold weather the most (for snowmaking), the effects of global warming will be at their maximum.
Evan Osler
Middlebury, Vt.

Global warming is for real. Birds are nesting and hatching eggs earlier; other animals are migrating farther north of the equator and to higher elevations, to name a few indicators. Personally, I've made 52 trips around the sun and from what I see I still have to say that winters (at least here in Ohio) aren't what they used to be.
Jeffrey R. Smith
Sandusky, Ohio

Global warming is all a political hoax slanted to scare people and please the environmental wackos out there. In fact, the longer this earth is around, the colder it's going to get. The reason: The sun is decreasing in size the more it burns. How is that going to increase the heat on earth? And the thing about too much carbon dioxide and too little oxygen: Ha! Scientists say that termites alone give off more carbon dioxide than all the exhaust pipes, smokestacks, fireplaces and factory pipes in the world.
Eric Rosten
Hometown withheld

Making It Happen
In 1987, as a single parent with three teenagers, I faced the same high-cost-of-skiing dilemma as Carl Anderson (Liftlines, October 2000). The answer for me was a the purchase of a timeshare at Smugglers' Notch, Vt. I could put my family on the slopes for a week for less than it would cost for a weekend if I paid regular prices. With a kitchen in the unit, we didn't have to eat out. It's one of the best investments I've made. Even more important to me, it's provided great family times, especially this year when my granddaughter took her first ski lesson.
Janet Winey
Fanwood, N.J.

No Two Alike
After reading "Is Bigger Better?" (Ski Life Forum, October 2000), I take issue with Nathaniel Reade's premise that the "McSkiing" resorts are like McDonald's franchises. Say what you want about the dining, the shopping, the lodging-the real product is still the mountain, the terrain. While the products at every McDonald's on the planet are basically the same, to say that the McSkiing resort products are the same is unfair, untrue and just plain laughable.
Phil Bobrow
Warr, Vt.

Family Ties
Lee Cohen's "Better than Powder" (Ski Life Essay, October 2000) reminded me of my dad and me, but in reverse. We started skiing at the same time, but I accelerated a bit quicker and eventually got ahead of him by a long stretch. Just last season, my dad actually kept up with me on a couple runs. Even though he may not ski those "scary trees," as he might put it, I look forward to skiing with him this coming season.
Eddie Shoemaker
Kennewick, Wash.

Cover Up
My only concern with "A Heady Debate" (Healthy Skier, October 2000) is that readers might forgo the use of a helmet due to a statistic indicating that 69 percent of skiing head injuries are deemed mild. As the spouse of a "mild" brain-injury recipient, I can tell you that there is no such thing as an acceptable brain injury. My husband and I are lucky enough to continue skiing, but we now have a collection of helmets. Remember, you've only got one brain.
Eileen Wilwers
McHenry, Ill.

The single most compelling reason to wear a helmet is warmth. It's like skiing with a Thermos on your head. On the nastiest winter days, my helmet keeps me toasty. It's impervious to wind, and on a snowy day, my head stays dry. Do I look like a dork? Did you ever notice that no one asks the Hell's Angel dude on his Harley that question?
Paul Bilsky
Manchester Center, Vt.

Let It Be
As much as I enjoy Warren Miller's movies and columns, I take issue with "Where's the Spirit?" (Warren's World, October 2000), especially the statement about the proposed new ski area near Mammoth Mountain, Calif. That's not Tom Dempsey's ski hill. It's land that belongs to the people of the United States, and it's held in trust for the people by the U.S. Forest Service. The fact that Dempsey has spent $8 million doesn't justify building lifts. Also, I find it hard to believe that our hard-nosed capitalist entrepreneurs have allowed their spirits to be destroyed by the "people who chain themselves to trees." At best, that's an oversimplification of the situation. At worst, it's shameless shilling for an industry that is now focused more on real estate than on skiing.
Bob Berwyn
Silverthorne, Colo.

Warren, do we really need any new ski areas? Skier-day growth rates have been flat for 20 to 25 years. Every year, existing ski areas close. Why is that? People do the majority of their skiing in their late teens and 20s, demographic groups that have been declining in numbers for years. The baby boomers swept through the ski industry in the Sixties and Seventies (when your entrepreneurs saw a market and went after it) and are now moving into more sedate sports like golf. We survivors of the sport should support the ski areas we have now rather than build new ones.
David Howe
Issaquah, Wash.

Vail Vs. Alta
I enjoyed "The Survey is Wrong" by Peter Shelton (Mountain Chronicle, October 2000), but I think he misses the mark. Alta is for hardcore, young adult skiers who are looking for a value-priced, noncorporate ski experience. It's more of a day-trip or weekend area than a destination resort for families. The lifts are antiquated, and the lack of safety bars is scary for small children. There is no children's lift ticket; they must pay full price. I don't think Vail is perfect, but I would return there with my family: It has a massive amount of terrain to choose from, including the bowls, great lifts and plenty of choices for dining, partying and lodging. You just need to bring your platinum card.
Joel D. Lafleur
Auburn, Maine

I loved Peter Shelton's column, especially the part about the employees with "a certain gruff honesty, born of living with avalanches and skiing a legend every day." I believe I know some of those people.
Todd Collins
General Manager
Alta Peruvian Lodge

I was surprised to see that Alta didn't make the cut in your Reader Resort Survey (October 2000). On every other page, your sidebars proclaimed the truth about Alta: Terrain, Snow Quality, Access, Value. What else is germane? Yes, it's decidedly inadequate, since you can't get a Swedish massage while you nibble on beluga caviar as you ski your last run (down perfect corduroy) to make that 6 p.m. sleigh ride to the spa to work out the kinks that four hours of shopping can create. What a bunch of poodles my fellow readers are becoming. Amen, brother Shelton!
Jeff Lemon
Orlando, Fla.

Your October issue seems skewed toward pushing the small, family, out-of-the-way hills that were not voted to the top by the readers. I understand that writing stories about the character of Alta is much more interesting than another rehashing of the colossal size of Whistler. That said, people like Vail and Whistler. We want huge terrain, lots of options and tons of soft snow. We want as much of a sure thing as possible. We voted for Vail because that's where we've been in the last two years. You like it small and "real." We like it big and fun-get over it.
D. Brian Stern
Los Angeles, Calif.

For The Record

The Reader Resort Survey chart in our October 2000 issue gave the incorrect figure for annual snowfall in Taos, N.M. The correct number is 312 inches.

The chart also contained incorrect information on our top 10 Midwest Resorts. For resort information, call: Big Powderhorn, Mich., 906-932-4838; Boyne Highlands, Mich., 800-462-6963; Boyne Mountain, Mich., 800-462-6963; Chestnut Mountain, Ill., 800-397-1320; Crystal Mountain, Mich., 800-968-7686; Lutsen Mountains, Minn., 218-663-7281; Nub's Knob, Mich., 231-526-2131; Shanty Creek, Mich., 800-678-4111; Welch Village, Minn., 651-258-4567; and Whitecap Mountains, Wis., 751-561-2227. For the complete chart, with category rankings and mountain stats, visit www.skimag.com/resortguide/table.cfm.e that Alta didn't make the cut in your Reader Resort Survey (October 2000). On every other page, your sidebars proclaimed the truth about Alta: Terrain, Snow Quality, Access, Value. What else is germane? Yes, it's decidedly inadequate, since you can't get a Swedish massage while you nibble on beluga caviar as you ski your last run (down perfect corduroy) to make that 6 p.m. sleigh ride to the spa to work out the kinks that four hours of shopping can create. What a bunch of poodles my fellow readers are becoming. Amen, brother Shelton!
Jeff Lemon
Orlando, Fla. Your October issue seems skewed toward pushing the small, family, out-of-the-way hills that were not voted to the top by the readers. I understand that writing stories about the character of Alta is much more interesting than another rehashing of the colossal size of Whistler. That said, people like Vail and Whistler. We want huge terrain, lots of options and tons of soft snow. We want as much of a sure thing as possible. We voted for Vail because that's where we've been in the last two years. You like it small and "real." We like it big and fun-get over it.
D. Brian Stern
Los Angeles, Calif. For The Record

The Reader Resort Survey chart in our October 2000 issue gave the incorrect figure for annual snowfall in Taos, N.M. The correct number is 312 inches.

The chart also contained incorrect information on our top 10 Midwest Resorts. For resort information, call: Big Powderhorn, Mich., 906-932-4838; Boyne Highlands, Mich., 800-462-6963; Boyne Mountain, Mich., 800-462-6963; Chestnut Mountain, Ill., 800-397-1320; Crystal Mountain, Mich., 800-968-7686; Lutsen Mountains, Minn., 218-663-7281; Nub's Knob, Mich., 231-526-2131; Shanty Creek, Mich., 800-678-4111; Welch Village, Minn., 651-258-4567; and Whitecap Mountains, Wis., 751-561-2227. For the complete chart, with category rankings and mountain stats, visit www.skimag.com/resortguide/table.cfm.