Liftlines: December 2001

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

Resort Raves
As a member of the Seven Springs Ski Patrol, I want to thank the readers who voted for Seven Springs as one of the best resorts in the East (Reader Resort Survey, October 2001). Our vertical may not be great, but everything else about this resort is, especially my fellow patrollers! To address the concern from the reader about the resort being crowded, check out the Seven Springs website (www.7springs.com) on all the improvements that are in the works, beginning with the new high-speed six-pack lift this winter.
Michelle Guy
Hopwood, Pa.

How can SKI Magazine rate Deer Valley No. 1? How can 1,750 acres of terrain possibly compete with, much less exceed, Vail's 5,289 acres or Whistler/Blackcomb's 7,071 acres-or the true ski challenges found at both of those places? I could understand Whistler/Blackcomb or Steamboat beating out Vail, but Deer Valley? Deer Valley isn't even the best ski area in Utah. Alta is better, and so is Snowbird. This, from a faithful SKI Magazine reader who has been skiing since 1927 and owns a condo in Vail.
John A. Harper
Vail, Colo.

Whistler/Blackcomb, B.C., ranked No. 3? Do you people ski? Or just pretend? Can't stand a little rain on the way up to untracked powder and clear skies? With more than 7,500 acres of amazing terrain (soon to be 10,000), there is no competition. And the reason our grooming is not up to par is because it doesn't stop snowing. The reason the weather is poor is because it doesn't stop snowing. The reason it's not the easiest place to access is because it is in the mountains-where a winter resort should be.
Richard Laumaillet
Vancouver, B.C.

If your readers have selected Deer Valley as No. 1, I am obviously reading the wrong ski magazine. Skiing that place is easier than chewing gum. How about they let me take my skis off my own car and add about 1,000 feet of chutes up at the top? Nope, not gonna happen.
Matt Jones
Hanover, N.H.

Utah Rules
Your article on Deer Valley ("The Real Deal," Mountain Chronicle, October 2001) made some very valid points, but you missed some, too. You mentioned that Deer Valley does not get as much snow as Little or Big Cottonwood canyons, but that's still much more than falls in the mountains of other Western states. Deer Valley also has bump trails that blow away anything in either canyon. And you can bet the typical Deer Valley tourist never heads into the Daly Chute 4 trees, so the powder lasts forever. You're right: The resort is pricey, it's not as big as those in the other canyons, the tourists are intermediate skiers and the focus is on service and grooming. But for the few in the know, that just means it's one of Utah's best-kept secrets.
Bob Sullivan
Park City, Utah

For two years in a row, Peter Shelton has chided your readers for their misguided priorities in rating ski areas. Peter, I'm begging you to stop. I like to have fresh tracks at Alta and Solitude after a leisurely lunch, as well as in the morning, and your annual scolding is a threat to my untrammeled afternoon powder experiences at these easily accessed mountains.
Tom Conroy
Gilford, Conn.

Loving Loveland
I'm in agreement with "True Love And Devotion" (October 2001). I live in Denver and have skied Loveland for the past nine years. I refuse to get sucked into the Summit County scene. Why would I want to battle the Eisenhower Tunnel and an extra half-hour of traffic when Loveland provides some of the best steeps in the state? You really captured the feel of Loveland's no-nonsense skiing and great terrain.
Greta Henkle
Denver, Colo.

No Disney For Us
We just received the October 2001 SKI Magazine, and as a Floridian, I can still concur with the idea that a week of skiing with the family is much better and still cheaper than a week in the "land of the mouse" ("The Mouse That Bored," Ski Family, October 2001).
Dave Clayton
Vero Beach, Fla.

In her article, "The Mouse That Bored," Moira McCarthy compared Telluride, Colo., vacation with one spent at Disney. While I can relate to her experiential comparisons, her math is fuzzy. Per her analysis, an all-inclusive six-day ski trip to Telluride was more than $1,300 cheaper than a comparable Disney vacation-and that's fine. But what she forgot to include were some bottom-line costs, such as up-front equipment expenditures or rental fees, which would have to be considered for a true comparison. I think it should be the goal of the entire ski industry to make skiing so affordable that families and individuals can make "several" trips to an area or resort each season-not just one a year.
Richard Thompson
Amarillo, Texas

When Locals Were Locals
I loved reading about Red Lodge, Mont. ("A Fortuitous Dilemma," Ski Towns, October 2001). I've been living in Jackson and thinking about moving to a new ski town-someplace more low-key-but it seems like they've all been saturated (with people just like me, I guess), losing their charm and authenticity to expansion, tourists and transients. Red Lodge seems like it's still hanging on to its roots-relatively speaking. But keep that low or else it won't matter that "locals prefer you leave your cell phone at home"-locals won't be locals anymore.
Megan Griffith
Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Two-Way Street
What? I've been skiing for 72 years, pumping thousands of dollars into the ski industry, and you're telling me there should be no kickback? ("Should Seniors Ski Free?" Forum, November 2001). Where's the love? Can't you take pity on a retiree? Or better yet, can't you reward me for staying at it? I feel fortunate that I'm still able to ski at my ripe age of 79; I'd feel even better if I could do it for free.
John Lander
Minturn, Colo.

Of course seniors should ski free. If I'm still hitting the slopes at 70 (which is hard to imagine), I'll expect to ski free, too. Now, can we talk about 22-year-old dishwashers trying to live on eight bucks an hour-in Aspen?
Eli Hamlin
Aspen, Colo.

Guilt Trip, Now Boarding
Easy on the righteous guilt trip unless you're biking to work and living in an earthship ("Should Skiers Drive SUVs?" Forum, October 2001). I prefer to arrive at the mountain in my car, not in the cab of a tow truck-which is what happened to me last year when I spun out on the Stratton access road and landed in a ditch. When my then roller-skate of a car was declared "totaled," I bought an SUV. And I haven't regretted it once. Not even after the guilt trip you tried to lay on me.
Annie Craig
Boston, Mass

I have about a dozen friends and acquaintances who work for various environmental organizations. Roughly half of them fight ski-area expansions. Almost all of them drive SUVs. And, guess what? All of them ski.
Mike Morris
Washington, D.C.