January 2001

Features
Author:
Publish date:

Politics, Politics

Thank you, Warren Miller, for pointing out how the Clintons have pigged out at the public trough for eight years ("The $5.7 Million Ski Trip," Warren's World, November 2000). They shamelessly exploited all the perks and privileges of the office of the President for personal use and pleasure. Clinton's travels make past emperors look like paupers.

S. Mester

Birmingham, Ala.

I was also in Salt Lake when President Clinton elected to land at SLC International Airport instead of a nearby Air Force base. The airport shut down for over an hour, completely disrupting the flight schedules and travel plans of thousands of other citizens all over the West. But I read SKI for coverage of winter sports, not political commentary. Warren Miller's right-wing diatribe against Bill and Hillary Clinton was such an obvious election-season plant by Miller's Republican friends that I laughed out loud. Interesting that he didn't mention the taxpayer subsidies that were showered upon his Vail Valley friend, Jerry Ford, when Ford was president and he and his family skied in Colorado in the Seventies. Of course, Ford is a Republican, so it's OK.
Christopher Broderick
Portland, Ore.

As a former Air Force Two pilot, I'd like to point out that the call signs "Air Force One" and "Air Force Two" never refer to a specific aircraft but to any U.S. Air Force aircraft on which the president or vice president, respectively, is aboard and only at the time they are aboard ("The $5.7 Million Ski Trip," Warren's World, November 2000). When I flew then-vice president Dan Quayle, I used SAM (Special Air Mission) with the aircraft tail number until such time that he was aboard the jet, at which point we switched to Air Force Two. What I also know is that you're right in stating that a large number of aircraft are used to transport a White House entourage. The cost to the taxpayers has been greatly exacerbated by the Clinton Administration's tendency to take exorbitant trips.
Lt. Col., J. Steven Ely, USAF
Port Tobacco, Md.

I can't believe SKI allowed Warren Miller to write a cheap shot political column even though it was based on a ski story. The shrill invective employed has a place-on Rush Limbaugh. Printed a couple of weeks before an election? Disgraceful. A shabby piece of work, SKI.
Geoff Smith
Redmond, Wash.

Right Of Way
I must take exception to Rich Packard's point (Liftlines, November 2000) about the conflicting statements of right of way, as well as the editor's note, "Always yield to downhill skiers." According to the Skier's Responsibility Code, skiers ahead of you have the right of way, and it is your job to avoid them, but when starting downhill or merging into another trail, you should look uphill and yield to others. I've learned to always look over my shoulder-who the hell knows what's coming down the slopes?
Les Cahn
Cherry Hills, N.J

Best-Kept Secrets
Mr. Shelton, I could not agree with you more that "The Survey is Wrong," (Mountain Chronicle, November 2000). I live just outside of Washington, D.C., and am fortunate enough to ski in the West two to three times a year. I have skied all the major resorts, and I will not go back to the "Big Uglies." They are too big, too impersonal and, as far as I'm concerned, just places to see and be seen. To all those who insist on skiing the "Big Uglies," I say, open your eyes. But, not too wide-I don't want to see you all at Alta.
John Barbagallo
Alexandria, Va.

Helmet Testimonial
In response to "A Heady Debate" (Healthy Skier, October 2000), I need to share a story. Last season we bought helmets for our 12- and 14-year-old sons who were becoming more aggressive ski racers. The 14-year-old wouldn't wear his helmet because he thought it made him look stupid. My 12-year-old, Neal, always wore his. At the last re of the season, they were freeskiing until lunch. On Neal's last run, he was blindsided by an assistant coach and knocked unconscious for about 45 minutes. He had to be airlifted to a Level One trauma center and was in and out of consciousness for the next day. The doctors didn't know he had been wearing a helmet, since it had been removed on the hill by the ski patrol. They were amazed he had been wearing one judging from the severity of his injury. I am convinced the helmet saved his life.
Don Peterson
Shoreview, Minn.

Hermann The Hero
John Fry's perspective ("Killy vs. Maier: Who's Best?" Forum, November 2000) that Jean-Claude was a superior skier to Hermann Maier is a joke. Must I remind him that Killy was practically handed his third gold medal? Austrian Karl Schranz was ahead after the first run of the slalom and a gatekeeper ran onto the racecourse in his second run, forcing him to bail out. The jury agreed to let Schranz start again, and once more he had a better time and was celebrated the victor. But the mostly French jury decided otherwise, disqualifying him for no apparent reason. To put Killy on that high a pedestal is ridiculous. Hermann is a much more complete skier than Killy ever was.
Rudolf Doeller
Essington, Penn.

Fuzzy Math
It's shameful to read sloppy journalism from writers who slept through math and economics in school. ("Best Bargains: Going Up" November 2000) doesn't factor inflation into the cost of skiing. Skiing is not exorbitantly more expensive today than in 1960. The $10 lift ticket at Killington in 1950 would cost $67.97 in 1999 dollars-considerably more than the $41 they charge (and that doesn't include discounts). Blistex, at 39 cents in 1950, would cost $2.65 in "real" dollars-instead, it's a bargain at a mere $1.59. And top-drawer Rossignol Skis at $79.50? They'd be $540 today-about what you should expect to pay with the steep discounts offered by ski retailers. About the only really bad value is SKI Magazine-the "real" newsstand price in 1950 was $2.38, compared to $3.99 today.
Gavin Ehringer
Colorado Springs, Colo.

Deer Valley Writes Back
You have done it again, describing the dream that Polly and I have had for Deer Valley for so many years, so briefly and so elegantly ("The Deer Valley Way," September 2000). Reading your article makes me glow with pride and makes any worries I may have about the continuation of the resort fade into the distance. I just returned from Deer Valley. Although we have been improving a tremendous snowmaking system, it appears we may have a robust snow season and probably won't need it. Nevertheless, it will be there for future seasons when the elements do not look upon us with favor. Thank you for noting our efforts. It's an inspiration to do even better.
Edgar B. Stern, Jr.
Owner, Deer Valley, Utah

Going For Gold
I read your profile on Earl Holding and his development woes at Snowbasin ("Earl Holding Speaks," November 2000) with great interest. I'm sympathetic to environmental issues, and it seems like the plans he proposes for the base of the resort fit with the U.S. Forest Service's goal of containing development in areas that make sense. Surely the thousands of acres he helped add to the nearby Wasatch Cache National Forest are worth their weight in gold medals!
Scott McCormick
Denver, Colo.

The Brothers Mahre
I was psyched to see Phil and Steve Mahre demonstrating the instruction series ("Balancing Act," December 2000) in your November issue. Seeing two ski icons who are still so involved in the sport got me pumped up for this season! And we can all use some inside tips from the best that ever raced.
Josh Nelson
New York, N.Y.

In Bad Taste
I find your choice of back cover advertisement in poor taste. The Budget ad reads "Close encounters with immovable objects are not fun. Unless it happens to somebody else. Then it's hilarious." Neither the verbage nor the image of a skier intertwined in a tree is hilarious. I hope, in the future, your decisions in advertising will be more responsible.
Ann Nelson
Beaver Creek, Colo.

Editor's note: The ad has been pulled. Remember The Groomers

I was a groomer at Jackson Hole, Wyo., last winter, and it's true, we don't get enough credit, especially at a mountain as steep and difficult to groom as Jackson ("Don't Fence Me In," November 2000). We work hard out there all night long, and there are rarely optimal conditions. So, the next time you're admiring your mountain at night and you see those little lights crawling all over the hill, just remember us up there in our snowcats, precariously primping the snow for your early morning enjoyment.
Elisha McArthur
Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Snowboard-Free Taos
One thing is obviously different about Taos today ("Taos: Skiing's Brigadoon," November 2000). It used to be defined by Ernie Blake's vision, by its terrain, its snow and its warm welcome to anyone with the skills and a passion for snow. Taos is now defined by its ban on snowboarding-and eager to be defined in this way. In a recent Wintersports Business article, Chris Stagg, the vice president of marketing, stated that the ban is the primary way by which Taos can differentiate itself from other ski areas. A potentially great mountain has reduced itself to touting discrimination to the sad and dwindling few that actually find exclusion appealing. Do you really believe Ernie would approve?
Matt Kreitman
Coordinator Free The Snow / Open Mind Open Mountains Campaign

Editor's Note: As far as allowing snowboarders on the mountain, Ernie said, and we quote, "That won't happen as long as I'm around."

Whole Lotta Hype
Global warming, as it is commonly described, is the biggest crock since astrology ("Global Warning," Ski Life, October 2000). The earth has been warming-but not for the reasons cited by the doomsayers. The climate began warming long before the automobile or the industrial revolution. However, it seems that a lot of people have significant financial or professional interests in crying wolf because if the problem doesn't exist, the game is over and a lot of careers and research budgets will wither away.
Joseph A. Cassizzi
Ellicott City, Md.

For The Record
In "Great Deals" (November 2000), the Ski & Spa Lovers Retreat at Chateau Whistler should have stated that the rate is priced at $178 per person, per night, based on double occupancy.able objects are not fun. Unless it happens to somebody else. Then it's hilarious." Neither the verbage nor the image of a skier intertwined in a tree is hilarious. I hope, in the future, your decisions in advertising will be more responsible.
Ann Nelson
Beaver Creek, Colo.

Editor's note: The ad has been pulled. Remember The Groomers

I was a groomer at Jackson Hole, Wyo., last winter, and it's true, we don't get enough credit, especially at a mountain as steep and difficult to groom as Jackson ("Don't Fence Me In," November 2000). We work hard out there all night long, and there are rarely optimal conditions. So, the next time you're admiring your mountain at night and you see those little lights crawling all over the hill, just remember us up there in our snowcats, precariously primping the snow for your early morning enjoyment.
Elisha McArthur
Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Snowboard-Free Taos
One thing is obviously different about Taos today ("Taos: Skiing's Brigadoon," November 2000). It used to be defined by Ernie Blake's vision, by its terrain, its snow and its warm welcome to anyone with the skills and a passion for snow. Taos is now defined by its ban on snowboarding-and eager to be defined in this way. In a recent Wintersports Business article, Chris Stagg, the vice president of marketing, stated that the ban is the primary way by which Taos can differentiate itself from other ski areas. A potentially great mountain has reduced itself to touting discrimination to the sad and dwindling few that actually find exclusion appealing. Do you really believe Ernie would approve?
Matt Kreitman
Coordinator Free The Snow / Open Mind Open Mountains Campaign

Editor's Note: As far as allowing snowboarders on the mountain, Ernie said, and we quote, "That won't happen as long as I'm around."

Whole Lotta Hype
Global warming, as it is commonly described, is the biggest crock since astrology ("Global Warning," Ski Life, October 2000). The earth has been warming-but not for the reasons cited by the doomsayers. The climate began warming long before the automobile or the industrial revolution. However, it seems that a lot of people have significant financial or professional interests in crying wolf because if the problem doesn't exist, the game is over and a lot of careers and research budgets will wither away.
Joseph A. Cassizzi
Ellicott City, Md.

For The Record
In "Great Deals" (November 2000), the Ski & Spa Lovers Retreat at Chateau Whistler should have stated that the rate is priced at $178 per person, per night, based on double occupancy.

Related