Step aside Gangnam Style, it’s time for the Harlem Shake

By Jerry Rice

Sorry, Psy, but Gangnam Style is so 2012. The dance of this moment is the Harlem Shake.

With tens of thousands of Harlem Shake videos on YouTube — including nearly 9,000 uploaded today alone — it’s safe to call it the latest craze that’s sweeping the nation. Students at campuses around the country, office workers, firefighters, grandmas, and a unit of the Norwegian Army are all busting a move to the techno beat.

Anderson Cooper (inset) watches a video of his staff doing the Harlem Shake.

One video asks whether Wolf Blitzer would do it. His CNN colleague, Anderson Cooper, apparently wouldn’t. When the “Anderson Live” crew interrupted a morning meeting to shake it, they couldn’t get Cooper to join in.

“I gotta say, I was horrified. It made me so uncomfortable,” he said on Tuesday’s show.

Many of the videos are called “original.” Perhaps the one with the best stake to that claim was posted by five bored Australian teens who were stuck indoors during a storm. Their version, “The Harlem Shake v1 (TSCS original),” has 6.3 million views (and counting) in its first week on YouTube. Their story was told by The Courier-Mail in Brisbane.

A quick search came up with several Harlem Shakers in the Inland Empire, so we featured them in a Daily Bulletin story.

Skiers and snowboarders at Mountain High also have gotten in on the act. Here’s their version:

Squaw Valley plans Super Bowl viewing party for 49er faithful

By Jerry Rice

Even while Colin Kaepernick and his teammates were still on the field in Atlanta celebrating the San Francisco 49ers’ return to the Super Bowl, the alert went out: Squaw Valley is planning a big party for the big game.

Anthony Dixon of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates the team’s win over the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship game. (Photo by Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

Bring the skis and snowboards along with San Francisco 49er jerseys, join the largest on-mountain Super Bowl party and celebrate “one of the greatest football teams in the country and of all time,” the resort said in a release.

OK, so while the resort’s PR department may have been showing a little 49er fanaticism — and this Jerry Rice has no problem with that — the viewing party will be a benefit for a great cause: the High Fives Foundation.

Founded by Roy Tuscany and based in Truckee, Calif., the High Fives Foundation is dedicated to raising money and awareness for athletes who have suffered a life-altering injury while pursuing their dream in the winter action sports community. Information: www.highfivesfoundation.org.

Squaw will show the Super Bowl on a 16-foot by 21-foot, 49-panel “diamond vision” screen at the KT Base Bar, located at the base of the KT-22 lift. There will be festivities planned throughout the day including giveaways and promotions before, during and after the game.

“We couldn’t pass up this opportunity to celebrate, in the biggest way possible, the success of a football team that our customers are wild about,” said Andy Wirth, president and CEO of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows.

After today’s 28-24 win over the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship game, the 49ers will be making their sixth appearance in the Super Bowl. The game will be played in New Orleans on Feb. 3.

For more information about the Super Bowl event at Squaw Valley, visit www.squaw.com or call 800-403-0206.

Learn how to make those cool ski flicks

By Jerry Rice

While it may not be as celebrated as the School of Cinematic Arts at USC, the Canadian Mountain Holidays Film School has put together some impressive productions.

The CMH Film School, in Revelstoke, British Columbia, is where nascent ski filmmakers come to sharpen their skills. The program is featured in the February issue of Ski Magazine.

“Our legs ache from a day spent blasting arcs in the high alpine, and now we watch as Guy Clarkson, a cinematographer who owns Raven HD, makers of award-winning documentaries, dices and splices clips as fluently as he skis,” writes Joe Cutts.

Clarkson comes with an impressive resume: besides film work, he’s a licensed pilot, sailor, rancher and military trainer. And he’s been to the top of the world, watching the sun rise on Mount Everest.

The film school’s courses aren’t cheap, but they come with lots of neat bonus features. The cost of the Feb. 4-9 session at CMH’s K2 Lodge is $6,080, and the March 28-April 1 course at Revelstoke is $4,038. Both include lodging, heli skiing, equipment and meals.

In the story, Cutts recalls a recent crash course on editing with Clarkson.

“We go through footage he shot on a professional-grade camera and stuff clients shot with their GoPros and his guidance,” Cutts writes. “We’re learning the techniques and decision making that make the magic happen — how to have the skier ski into the shot, how to fade out on a spray of snow, even how to ski for the camera ourselves.”

For information, visit www.canadianmountainholidays.com. Here’s a sample of their work:

They give Oscars to ski films, don’t they?

By Jerry Rice

The Academy Award nominations will be announced early Thursday morning. While there’s nary a snowflake in several of the leading best picture candidates — “Argo,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Zero Dark Thirty” — there are many prize-worthy films that have been released over the years about skiing and snowboarding.

We surveyed Taylor Rhoads, who listed his five favorites in his blog, at www.liftopia.com/blog/top-5-ski-flicks, and included some of his comments about each. His picks:

“All.I.Can” movie poster

1. “All.I.Can.” (2011), Sherpas Cinemas “‘All.I.Can’ has insane cinematography, a little bit of an artsy feel, and some gnarly shredding in super exotic places that you may or may not ever be able to afford to visit in real life.”

2. “Swift. Silent. Deep.” (2009), Teton Gravity Research  “These are skiers that, at the time, had not yet accepted their own mortality, which is a killer mentality to watch on screen.”

3. “The Dream Factory” (1997), Teton Gravity Research  “In typical TGR fashion, this film is all style/we’re better than you at this (real talk). We get some sweet perspective on the pioneers, as well as the new generation of free-skiers that are transforming the Alaska scene into the next decade.”

4. “Revolver” (2010), Salomon & Poor Boyz  “This film is basically the dream team of skiing on one DVD.”

5. “The Eighty Six” (2012), Stept Productions  “If you’re into urban shredding, this is your jam.”

Shopping for deals on the slopes

At Mountain High, the Express Pass opens the way to money savings on the slopes and several special features. (Mountain High photo)

By Jerry Rice

OK, everyone knows that skiing and snowboarding can be expensive – traveling to the resort, lodging, equipment rentals, lift tickets…

But there are many ways to save on costs without cutting cut corners on the fun. Some examples:

> Free rentals for first-timers, ages 8 to adult, when a beginner lesson package is purchased at Bear Mountain and Snow Summit during the month of January. It’s part of a Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month promotion in partnership with the National Ski Areas Association. Information: 909-866-5841, www.snowsummit.com

Mammoth Mountain’s January midweek pass is $249 – $50 less than last season. With regular adult lift tickets at the resort running $99 per day, the cost of the special midweek pass essentially means it more than pays for itself after three days on the slopes. Other price levels are $179 for youth, $69 for children and $199 for seniors. The pass is valid Monday-Friday through Feb. 1, but must be purchased by Monday. Information: 800-626-6684, www.mammothmountain.com

> At Mountain High, spend $10 on a rechargeable Express Pass, load it with almost any lift ticket and start saving – $10 on all flex ticket options – and enjoying other benefits. Those other benefits include guaranteed reservations in case of a sellout, a free eight-hour non-holiday ticket after every five visits, and the ability to track the number of runs you’ve completed, the total vertical feet and other individual stats. Information: 888-754-7878, www.mthigh.com 

Continue reading

Snow much fun for the holidays at Mammoth Mountain

By Jerry Rice

It was a merry Christmas and it’s shaping up to be a happy new year at Mammoth Mountain, where 224 inches of snow has fallen so far this season. Should Mother Nature continue her generous ways – more white stuff is in the forecast for today and Sunday – last winter’s total of 263 inches may be eclipsed sometime in January.

That’s great news for the resort that boasts the most open terrain in the country. And it couldn’t come at a better time than now, when many skiers and snowboarders are out of school and off work for the holidays.

“It’s a big part of our business, that Christmas to New Year’s break, because we can have high visitation over a seven or eight day period, instead of seeing that high visitation just on the weekends,” said Joani Lynch, spokeswoman for the Mammoth Mountain ski resort.

With that, here’s a look at some recent action at Mammoth, set to the music of Professor Kliq’s “The Most Beautiful Day.”

Santa sightings on the slopes

By Jerry Rice

Santa Claus has a big job to do come Dec. 24, so if the Big Guy wants to have some fun before the Big Day it’s probably best to cut him some slack — otherwise you may find coal in your stocking on Christmas morning. The Jolly Old Elf has been visiting several ski resorts during the last several days …

Santa offers a helping hand to the snow-making crew at Mountain High. (Mountain High photo)

One cameraman caught him making snow at Mountain High (www.mthigh.com). The Wrightwood getaway was in big need of the white stuff, as there was none of it on the slopes as recently as Dec. 12. That was just before a storm moved through and dumped 6-12 inches of snow, and also brought with it the below-freezing temps that were desperately needed for the resort to turn on its extensive snow-making system.

Santa carves up some fresh powder at Snow Summit. (Snow Summit photo)

Elsewhere in Southern California, Santa parked his sleigh for a fun outing at Snow Summit (www.snowsummit.com), where he pulled off a maneuver that yours truly has never attempted — at least not on purpose.

At that Big Bear Lake resort, St. Nick found favorable conditions — 12-18 inches of snow, with a surface that ranged from machine groomed packed powder to hard pack — to perform all sorts of acrobatics.

We’re not sure how Santa landed a second or two after this shot on the right was taken, but we would like to see how it scored with the judges.

We recall last winter when the ski/snowboard season got off to a disappointing start at resorts throughout California. Mammoth Mountain (www.mammothmountain.com), for example, didn’t receive its first significant snowfall until late January. By then, much of the lucrative ski/snowboard season was lost.

Santa jumps for joy at Homewood Mountain Resort. (Homewood Mountain Resort photo)

This winter, thankfully, has been different. Mammoth has a base of 7.5 feet, and since early November it has received nearly 13 feet of snow — with more on the way tonight and Saturday.

Snow also is in the weekend forecast at Lake Tahoe, where Homewood Mountain Resort (www.skihomewood.com) reports as much as 45 inches of it has fallen this winter on the slopes at the higher elevations. That news apparently has Mr. Claus, at left, really excited.

We figure there will be Santas galore at Whistler Blackcomb (www.whistlerblackcomb.com) on Saturday morning. That’s when the resort will be giving a free lift ticket to the first 75 people who arrive at the Garibaldi Lift Company in full Santa or Mrs. Claus attire. They will be invited to ride up the hill at 8 a.m., then board or ski to the bottom of the Emerald Express for a group photo.

At Whistler Blackcomb, lots of Santas will be checking their lists while riding the lifts. (Whistler Blackcomb photo)

It’s an annual tradition at the Canadian resort. A cameraman for the local Pique Newsmagazine captured last year’s festivities, and some of the highlights were edited into a cute 48-second YouTube video. It shows a sea of red suits and bushy white beards moving down the mountain, some more gracefully than others.

With that, we offer Santa this important reminder: There are only three more skiing/snowboarding days left until Christmas.

Out for a morning thrill in the chill on the hill at Mountain High

Snowboarders take the Blue Ridge Express chairlift to the top of Borderline at Mountain High’s West Resort on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012. (Photos by LaFonzo Carter)

By Jerry Rice

Our intrepid photographer, LaFonzo Carter, was out and about this morning riding the slopes at Mountain High, and he reports that it was “crowded, windy and cold.”

Snowboarders jam the Blue Ridge Express liftline.

That last part will continue to be true through the end of the week at the Wrightwood resort, where daytime highs are expected to be in the mid- to low-40s, according to The Weather Channel. Nighttime temps — 24 degrees tonight, 27 on Thursday and 30 on Friday — will be prime for making new snow.

Carter, a team rider for the apparel maker Virus, was getting in a few runs before an afternoon shift at The Sun in San Bernardino.

When it comes to handling a frigid morning on the hill, his advice is similar to what Mom might offer: “When you’re out there, you really have to bundle up — wear a face mask and everything,” he said.

Mountain High eager to get back in the snow business

Snow guns at Mountain High

Cold, dry air is expected to arrive with the incoming storms, and Mountain High has its snow guns all ready to go. (Mountain High photo)

By Jerry Rice

The excitement of little children as Christmas morning nears is often only exceeded by the excitement of skiers and snowboarders as a storm approaches. So, with a potential snow-maker dropping out of the Gulf of Alaska and heading toward California, this might as well be Christmas Eve.

“We’re crossing our fingers, doing the snow dances and praying – whatever we have to do,” said Kim Hermon, Mountain High spokeswoman.

Presents may be delivered by tonight in the form of 6 to 12 inches of the white stuff. Even better, the forecast calls for it to arrive with frigid conditions that will allow the Wrightwood resort to crank up its extensive snowmaking system.

This storm can’t arrive soon enough. After a promising start to the ski and snowboard season, it’s been rough sledding the last few weeks at Southern California mountain resorts.

Continue reading

Mammoth Mountain is all in for skiers, snowboarders

Four to 6 feet of new snow make for some spectacular conditions at Mammoth Mountain.
(Photo by Peter Morning/Mammoth Mountain)

By Jerry Rice

This is what winter is supposed to look like.

After an average start to the snow season, a series of storms slammed into the Sierra Nevada late last week and dumped up to 6 feet of snow at Mammoth Mountain. That bounty will allow the resort to open the entire hill — all 28 lifts and 150-plus trails — on Friday.

While the storms were too warm to do much good for resorts in Southern California, it was a different story elsewhere in the state. In the Lake Tahoe area, Squaw Valley reported 48 inches of snow and Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe welcomed 45 inches. Sugar Bowl received 44 inches, allowing the Donner Summit resort to re-open on Thursday.

Back at Mammoth, after receiving 113 inches of the white stuff since October, the resort is operating on a base of 50 to 70 inches. It’s a much improved story from last winter, when the resort didn’t see any significant snowfall until Jan. 20.

Continue reading