Rejoice — or dread the crowds — We all know skimo is coming to the Olympics in 2026. Me, I hope to be in Cortina when it happens. An interesting aspect of this development: What will it do for the backcountry skiing business world? Article here.
It could be said that the Aspen ski mountains are the birthplace of North American resort uphilling. Yes, perhaps that’s a slug of the Aspen exceptionalism folks such as Telluridians are tired of hearing. But there’s some truth to it. Harken back to this newspaper article from 1961, or check out Fritz Stammberger. But the uphilling Aspen engendered, as with anything, grew up.
This winter, the Aspen Skiing Company will charge for uphilling, $69 for a season pass. I think that’s a pretty good deal for access to roughly 5,000 skiable acres of avalanche controlled snow, including baby-butt groomers that are not cheap to create and maintain. My only disappointment? That uphillers didn’t frequent the on-mountain restaurants enough to make pay-to-play unnecessary. Though honestly, $69 dollars won’t buy you many of the Aspen’s tony lunches. So in that respect the cost of the pass is a bargain — provided you brown bag it. So it goes. Newspaper report here. I know some of you out there are in vehement disagreement with ski areas charging for non-lift access to public land, something we’ve covered in the past. Your comments?
A public land access gate atop Park City ski resort has been a gnawed bone of contention for years now. Despite warning signs, it’s not uncommon for under-equipped, presumably clueless skiers to scoot through the door, tempted by fields of virginal Wasatch white, then get ‘lanched. The resort is sick of it. While I don’t like it, I don’t blame them for closing the gate, especially when those in the know can use another access point that requires a just a bit of walking. If it wasn’t for the alternate entry, I’d be yowling about this as public land access is practically my religion. Am I totally off base? Should this gate remain available? Locals, please help me out here. More.
Not too long ago, we covered the proposed Grand Targhee ski resort expansion efforts. Things are heating up. What’s happening there could be a good test of how anti-growth proponents might succeed in their initial policy influence, and as the years roll, whether their efforts will have any real influence on the march of progress. (Jury is still out on that around here, regarding Aspen.) While clearly biased on the side of the antis, this article gives an extensive overview.
Some of you more seasoned readers might recall how ski racer Franz Klammer electrified the world with his death defying plunge down the Kitzbuhel strafe during the 1976 winter Olympics. And if you’re younger, yet savvy enough to spin Queen on your Spotify now and then, I’ll guarantee you’ll appreciate Klammer as an icon of the seventies. At the risk of being racked on my skis, I’ll state his Kitz Olympic run was the most exciting skiing ever recorded on film. It looks like a Klammer biopic is happening, and I’m betting it’ll be worthy. “Chasing the Line” will premier in Zurich on September 27. More here.
Seattle skier alert: Our publishing partner Cripple Creek Backcountry is making its PNW debut among the brew pubs and barristas of the trendy Fremont neighborhood. It’ll be interesting to watch how CCBC’s business model — small, intimate shop — does in the face of REI and other established retailers. As I learned long ago while writing the Wild Snow history book, folks have their own ways up there in the north corner. Yet much has changed since the dawn of the internet, including the explosion in ski touring popularity. In light of that, I’m betting PNW skinners will enjoy having another retail option. I’ll visit the new shop soon, perhaps to enjoy their open house September 9. Watch this space. And locals, I think I’ve seen the troll, but is there really a statue of Vladimir Lenin?
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. For more about Lou, please see his personal website at https://www.loudawson.com/ (Blogger stats: 5 foot 10 inches (178 cm) tall, 160 lbs (72574.8 grams).