Ezakimak promises to be one crazy 5k under a pink moon

EZAKIMAK 11,053′ FULL MOON CHALLENGE

Date / Time
Apr 04 / 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Location
Category
Winter Events, Family Fun, Entertainment, Cross Country Ski, Après
Challenge yourself.  Race from the base of Mammoth Mountain to the top of Eleven53 on cross country skis, snowshoes or by foot.  The Ezakimak will bring participants from 9,000ft to 11,053ft in a winter trial featuring both competitive and novice classes.

Spectators and family can take an evening gondola ride to witness the spring Pink Moon from atop the Sierra and cheer on their participant.  The top of the mountain will be buzzing with indoor/outdoor fun for the whole family including the Ezakimak finish line, music, food and drinks, kids activities and more.

5K | 2,000ft of Elevation Gain

Dates: Saturday, April 4, 2015
Time: 4pm-10pm 

Ezakimak_SkiSnowRun_Image

About Ezakimak

Ezakimak is Kamikaze spelled backwards.  Our legendary Kamikaze mountain bike trail spans from Mammoth Mountain’s peak, weaving through the “backside” of the mountain and finishing at our Main Lodge.  We’re bringing summer fun to the snow with a backwards race, we’re sending you uphill.  Participants can cross country ski, snowshoe or run their way up the Kamikaze trail under the light of a spring full moon.

Event Registration

11,053 Ezakimak Ski/Run/Show Challenge | $40*

Entry fee includes race, finishers beer, bag check at registration, gondola ride down

after race, food & water stations, on-course DJ’s and bag check delivery to the top.
Race classes:
–Open Run (Male/Female)
–Open Ski (Male/Female)
–Open Snowshoe (Male/Female)
–Novice Run
–Novice Ski
–Novice Snowshoe

Register Today on Active.com

Event Schedule**

  • 4pm-6:30pm – On-site registration and bib pick up in the Main Lodge Ticket Office
  • 5-6:30pm – Ezakimak Practice on Lower Minaret Mile (Chair 11)
  • 6:30pm – Panorama Gondola Opens and Activities Begin at Eleven53
  • 7pm – Ezakimak Challenge Starts at Broadway Express (waves)
  • 8:20pm – Ezakimak Awards at Eleven53
  • 9:45 pm – Activities at Eleven53 close
  • 10pm – Panorama Gondola closes

– See more at: http://www.mammothmountain.com/winter/events/event-detail?url=11-053-ezakimak-ski-run-show-challenge-mammoth-pink-moon#sthash.A3dIIiAt.dpuf

Cold temps help Diamond Peak get back in the snow business

Little help from Mother Nature? No problem at Diamond Peak, where crews have been busy making as much as 5 feet of new snow since Saturday night thanks to an abundance of chilly temperatures.

The Incline Village resort currently has nearly half of its trails open (59 percent in trail acreage) with top-to-bottom skiing on runs that drop 1,840 vertical feet. Open terrain includes two major trails off Crystal Quad Express – Flume and Crystal Ridge (voted one of the world’s top 100 best ski trails by CNN Travel).

“Our mixture of snow-making technologies allow us to maximize our ability to make snow across the resort,” said Brad Wilson, the resort’s general manager.

Information: www.diamondpeak.com

Here’s a video that shows the snow-making team in action:

Durango businessman buys Purgatory ski resort

Last fall, James Coleman, a local Durango businessman and avid skier said he would be purchasing 100% of Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort. The sale of the resort to James has been finalized.James Coleman

James is passionate about skiing in the southwest, having lived in Durango for nearly a decade and growing up skiing at Purgatory.

When the ski area was first founded in 1965, it was called Purgatory, and James believes that this name and all it represents hold a special place in the hearts of passholders and guests; in addition, next winter is the resort’s 50th anniversary.

So as the new owner, James’ first order of business is to change the name of Durango Mountain Resort back to “Purgatory” Resort and use the ski area’s popular “retro” logo with the red and white inverted triangles.

James is eager to put his passion for skiing and knowledge of resort operations and development to work at Purgatory. He is committed to expediting the approved projects in the resort’s Master Development Plan, including adding new terrain and making lift improvements while maintaining a focus on value and the family-friendly nature of Purgatory.

Since 2000, James has been the managing partner at Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort near Taos, NM. Last year, James entered into a strategic partnership with Los Alamos County and is in the process of acquiring Pajarito Mountain Ski Area in Los Alamos, NM. James is also in the process of acquiring Arizona Snowbowl, in Flagstaff, AZ, which is expected to be finalized by the end of the ski season.

Collectively, these four southwestern resorts, Purgatory, Snowbowl, Pajarito, and Sipapu, form the largest collective ski experience in the Southwest, totaling over 3000 skiable acres, more than 200 trails, 26 lifts, and 13 terrain parks, all within a convenient drive of each other.

Guests will be able to have unlimited access to all four mountains on one season pass, the Purgatory Power Pass, which is slated to go on sale next month. Additional Power Pass products will also be available at the Arizona and New Mexico ski areas.

The Chuck Cobb and Duncan ownership group will continue to retain ownership of Durango Mountain Realty and the remaining community real estate holdings surrounding the resort.

There are five other villages in the resort’s master plan where the real estate would remain under the ownership and development responsibility of Cobb and the existing shareholders, including the Duncan family.

These areas include Engineer and Tacoma Village, which are currently under active development, and Boyce Lake, Greyrock and Base Camp Villages, which will be developed in the future.

Superb snow at Squaw Valley despite warm temps

By Bob Goligoski, Correspondent

I could have been playing 18 holes along the Pacific. Or biking around the bay. Or just working on a tan at the nearby beach.

But as a dedicated ski writer for 45 years, none of that would work for me. I just had to get to the Sierra to see if we still had a ski season. Recent temperatures in the 60’s on the slopes had left the perception that maybe the season was melting away in February.

It was 64 degrees on Feb 18 when I arrived in Truckee, some 10 miles from Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. But on my next day at Squaw Valley, it had probably cooled down about five degrees.

I was quite amazed at the scene at Squaw. Some 23 of the 29 lifts were operating and the snow was in superb shape.

Keeping mostly to the north-facing slopes and looking for runs where the trees protected the runs from the sun, I skied for about five hours before I noticed the first signs of soft, slushy spring-like snow. In all that time, I only scraped across one rock.

The next day at Alpine Meadows, 10 of 13 lifts were humming along but a number of runs that I favor were closed because of thin snow cover. There was plenty of skiing, some of the runs had a boiler-plate like surface while others had loose snow or were turning quite soft about noon. There were a few rocks but they were easy to avoid.

Mid-week, walk-up adult lift tickets were $119 at both resorts but Squaw was a much better buy. The two resorts are owned by the same corporation.

Melissa Matheney, public relations coordinator for the resorts, smiled as she looked at the large crowds of skiers and snowboarders. It was a semi-holiday week as there was no school for many children.

“We are still counting on more snow,” she said, “as we get about half of our annual snowfall in February and March. Business has been strong recently and the great weather here is one of our main attractions.”

Unfortunately, Squaw Valley has had to cancel a week of World Cup skicross and snowboardercross races set for March 4 – 8 because of the scarcity of snow. This was the first World Cup-level event scheduled for Squaw Valley since 1969.

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association Hole Shot NorAm and U.S. Revolution Tour skicross and snowboardcross events planned for March 9 – 13 at Squaw Valley also have been cancelled.

I asked Matheney about the rumors that Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows will be merged into one huge resort with the erection of a lift between the two resorts. She responded that talks are on-going about that possibility “and we hope to make an announcement in the future.”

Snow alert! With lots of fresh powder, Mountain High is set to reopen Tuesday

Lots of new snow fell in the past 24 hours at Mountain High, allowing the resort to reopen on Tuesday. (Mountain High photo)

Several inches of new snow fell in the past 24 hours at Mountain High, allowing the resort to reopen on Tuesday. (Mountain High photo)

Mountain High will be back in business for skiers and snowboarders starting Tuesday thanks to a healthy dose of new snow.

As many as 10 inches of fresh powder fell on Sunday and early this morning at the Wrightwood resort, which was closed for the better part of a week. The forecast was calling for another inch or two of snow today, giving way to sunny skies through at least Friday when another storm was expected to roll through.

The resort has discounted its lift tickets to $45 for adults and young riders, a $24 savings off the regular price.

Night operations on the slopes and daytime activities at the North Pole Tubing Park are being evaluated for reopening later this week, according to a resort spokesman.

“Forecasters are calling for a snowier than normal March,” said John McColly, Mountain High spokesman. “Winter isn’t over yet in Southern California.”

Information: www.mthigh.com

— Jerry Rice

Snowboarders flock to Air+Style at Rose Bowl

Snow boarders practice on the Big Air ramp prior to the start of the Shaun White's Air + Style: Los Angeles.

Snow boarders practice on the Big Air ramp prior to the start of the Shaun White’s Air + Style: Los Angeles.

By Brian Day, Staff Writer

The North American debut of Shaun White’s Air+Style extreme sports and music festival at the Rose Bowl on Saturday offered an eclectic mix of activities and attractions to delight the senses of guests.

In between the main attractions of a 150-foot-tall snow-covered ramp which snowboarders lunched from to perform high-flying acrobatics and two stages providing a full day of concerts, there was no shortage of ways to keep busy.

For the first time in its 22-year history, the event took a festival format, rather than assigned seating, organizers said. Guests were invited to peruse the grounds outside of the Rose Bowl as they watched their favorite athletes and listened to their favorite bands.

“I really like the set up,” said Rebecca Velasco, 21, of Santa Barbara. “You can turn this way and see the state, and you can turn that way and see the ramp.”

She and two friends sat in the grass with friends between the massive snow ramp and the venue’s main stage, where the band Bad Things performed. Olympian snowboarder Shaun White, who runs the event, plays guitar with the band.

While she was enjoying the snowboarding, Velasco and her friends said it was primarily the music that attracted them to Air+Style. In particular, the group was looking forward to performances by Phantogram and Diplo.

“I like the roaming atmosphere,” 21-year-old Brandon Pineda of Santa Barbara added. “There’s a lot to explore.”

In addition to sampling the wares of a host of food trucks and booths, guests watched artists work, tried their hand and carnival games, relaxed in a tented arcade and had free custom T-shirts made. More adventurous guests were invited to jump from a tall platform onto a giant airbag.

Read more in Brian Day’s story SNOW

Quebec’s Hotel de Glass dazzles with its fanciful frozen decor

The Hotel de Glace in Quebec features guestrooms with elaborate carved walls and a bed made of ice. Some, like this one, come with a fireplace, though it's only for looks - no heat enters the room. (Photo courtesy Hotel de Glace)

The Hotel de Glace in Quebec features guestrooms with elaborate carved walls and a bed made of ice. Some, like this one, come with a fireplace, though it’s only for looks – no heat enters the room. (Photo courtesy Hotel de Glace)

By Marlene Greer, Correspondent

The bed is made of ice, the walls and floor made of snow, and the ambient temperature is a brisk 24 degrees F. Sound like a place you’d like to spend the night? Surprisingly, many people do.

The Hotel de Glace (Ice Hotel), located a few miles from downtown Quebec, is an imaginative creation of snow and ice, reconstructed every winter in a matter of six or so weeks. From the grand entrance, complete with check-in counter, to the guestrooms, the walls of every room are intricately carved into masterpieces of art, and some of the beds feature massive ice canopies and elaborate headboards.

The hotel is open for overnight stays and to tourists from Jan. 5 to March 22. With 44 rooms, a vaulted hall with an amazing ice chandelier, chapel, bar, disco, and ice slide, there’s a lot to see. Visitors can walk around on their own or sign up for a tour.  We opted for the tour, which included a drink at the ice bar.

Like any hotel, the guestrooms range from the small and simple to elaborate suites with fireplaces, which are for ambience only as no heat enters the room. Most rooms come with an ice chair and ice table (can’t imagine spending much time there!) and have one to three beds. But all feature amazing sculpted decor, every one different from the last.

This year’s theme is “Space-Time,” and as visitors wander from room to room, they journey from ancient times into the future. On our tour, we saw one room depicting humankind’s space exploration with a relief of the Space Shuttle and a full-height sculpted astronaut, and another showcasing automobiles, complete with an ice car bed.

Our guide Sara explained that in the evening, the guestroom areas are closed to the public, cleaned and prepared for those staying overnight. A mattress and an isolating bed sheet are placed on the bed to keep the cold from seeping in, and each person is given an arctic sleeping bag. “We advise guests to take a warm shower before bed to increase the body temperature. This will help you stay warm throughout the night,” she said.

After visiting the entrance hall, several rooms, the chapel and disco, the tour ends at the ice bar – a popular stop apparently from the size of the crowd. Sara explained the beer, wine and alcohol are stored in refrigerators not to keep them cold but to keep them from freezing. Everything from the bar counter to the lounge chairs and tables are made of ice. Even the drinks are served in an ice glass, a bulky square block of ice with a hole in the center to hold the liquid.

The first ice hotel went up in 2001, and it’s been a popular winter attraction ever since. With the outside temperature only in the single digits, standing at a table in an ice bar enjoying a vodka and cranberry juice cocktail out of a frozen glass in an ice hotel at 24 degrees feels downright warm.

The ice bar at the Hotel de Glace. (Photo by Marlene Greer)

The ice bar at the Hotel de Glace. (Photo by Marlene Greer)

Keystone to host Burton Mountain Festival Feb. 20-22

Keystone Resort will host the final stop of the 2015 Burton Mountain Festival, an on-snow community snowboarding festival for families, friends and riders of all ages to enjoy.

From Friday, Feb. 20 to Sunday, Feb. 22, the three-day event will feature free snowboard demos, contests, and après entertainment. Based in Keystone’s Mountain House Base area, the 2015 Burton demo fleet featuring boards, boots and bindings will be available for free trials from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday through Sunday. All events are free and open to the public.

For the youngest of shredders, the Keystone Burton Riglet Park offers riders as young as three-years-old the opportunity to enjoy snowboarding. The innovative Riglet program gives young children an introduction to snowboarding in a learning park built specifically for them.

Burton will provide free snowboards, boots and bindings for the tykes to use, with free access to Keystone’s Riglet park where kids can utilize mini-features such as boxes, ramps and rails from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

Riglet lessons are also available daily throughout the season at Keystone’s Ski&Ride School.

On Saturday, Keystone’s A51 Terrain Park will host a stop on Burton’s 2nd annual Party in Your Park snowboard contest series, a grassroots tour celebrating the fun in contest snowboarding.

Featuring a unique setup in A51 designed specifically for Party in Your Park, riders will be added to one of three teams who will work together during the event.

Prizes will be awarded to the winning team, while the best individual riders will be invited to compete in the West Coast and East Coast finals. The contest takes place from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. and there is no registration fee for riders. Registration takes place from 9-10 a.m. on Saturday in the Burton Lounge Tent at Mountain House Base area.

Keystone’s Last Lift Bar, located in the Mountain House base area, will host après entertainment from 4-6 p.m. on Saturday, featuring live music from “The Swing Crew” as well as tons of free prizes.

As one of the closest ski resorts to Denver, Keystone is the ultimate location for families to enjoy the allure of the mountains; be it on snowboards, skis, ice skates, snow tubes or horse-drawn sleigh rides – Keystone is truly a mountain of possibilities.

To purchase lodging, lift tickets, rental equipment, or for more information about Keystone, visit keystoneresort.com or call (877) 204-7889. Follow the resort at @KeystoneMtn on Twitter or at www.Facebook.com/Keystone.

For more information on the 2015 Burton Mountain Festival, visit burton.com/bmf or facebook.com/BurtonSnowboards and follow #burtonmtnfest and #PartyInYourPark.

Racing canoes on ice-covered St. Lawrence River among events at Quebec’s Winter Carnival

Two crews in the elite male class compete in the ice canoe race on the St. Lawrence River during Quebec's Winter Carnival. (Photo by Marlene Greer)

Two crews in the elite male class compete in the ice canoe race on the St. Lawrence River during Quebec’s Winter Carnival. (Photo by Marlene Greer)

By Marlene Greer, Correspondent

Standing on the edge of the St. Lawrence River watching a group of five women power their canoe over the ice-crusted surface, all I could think of was, “You go, ladies!”

The women are among the 10 teams of elite female crews competing in the ice canoe race, one of many events and competitions at the Winter Carnival in Quebec City. In addition to the women, there are 10 teams in the elite male class, and a whole lot of brave souls in the amateur sport class. (I stopped counting at 25 boats.)

From where we stand near the starting line, we can hear the canoes coming before we see them. We hear the voices of the crew, but mostly we hear the scraping of boats over ice. The ice on the river is broken up in huge blocks, and navigating them takes great physical effort and group coordination.

Wearing spiked shoes, holding on to the gunwale, and kneeling on one knee in the boat with the other leg dangling over the edge, the crews propel their canoes up and over the chunks of ice. The crews do this for half a mile up river before reaching flowing water where they jump in and start paddling.

For today’s race, the temperature is in the single digits, sinking into sub-zero with the fierce wind blowing across the river. But the cold weather doesn’t keep bundled-up spectators from lining the riverbank, four and five deep. Nor, apparently, does it bother the racers.

When I marvel at the utter craziness of it all, a native Quebecer standing next to me counters, “I’ve done it once; it’s a lot of fun!”

The ice canoe race is a carnival staple. It’s been held every year since the carnival’s inception in 1955. The first women’s team participated in the race in 1966. The race begins in Quebec City, and teams navigate a course across the river to Levis and back. The elite male class must complete the circuit twice.

So why a canoe race on a frozen river? According to the Quebec City Tourism website, carnival competitions were created to represent Quebec winter traditions. The canoe, dogsled and sleigh are traditional modes of transportation and were important to the settlement and history of Quebec.

Quebec’s winter carnival ends today with the sleigh races and the closing ceremonies.

A crew in the elite female class work to get their canoe across the ice. (Photo by Marlene Greer)

A crew in the elite female class work to get their canoe across the ice. (Photo by Marlene Greer)

Manufactured snow keeps SoCal resorts in the game with skiers, snowboarders

(File photo from Bear Mountain Resorts)

While natural snow has been lacking this winter at places like Bear Mountain, Southern California resorts still have something to offer snowboarders and skiers thanks to the ability to manufacture snow. (File photo from Bear Mountain Resorts)

Editor’s note: A version of this story appeared in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin on Feb. 11.

By Art Bentley

As mid-February approached, the best ski conditions in California remained right here in the land of the endless summer.

To find better, Inland Empire skiers and snowboarders would have had to drive about 400 miles to Brian Head, Utah, which claimed a 38-inch base of what the Beehive State bills as the greatest snow on earth. It may well be, but unlike the resorts here in the Southland, Brian Head and other Utah ski areas depend exclusively on natural forces.

And if the local talent craved a stiffer challenge than the 1,400-foot vertical rise Brian Head offers, Park City and the Cottonwood canyons, home to Snowbird, Alta and Solitude, are some 250 miles farther north. Not that they’re wallowing in snow either. Measurements in Little Cottonwood Canyon showed bases of about 70 inches at the powder meccas of Snowbird and Alta, which are stops on a Salt Lake City municipal bus line. That’s not a lot, not enough to justify a journey of at least 650 miles.

It’s also not enough to permit a rational practitioner to put equipment in peril by venturing off the groomed runs and into the really outstanding steep terrain at both. One doesn’t go lightly to the trouble or expense of traveling to Snowbird or Alta to ski only groomers. One goes primarily to ski off piste in two feet of feather-light, untracked, legendary Utah powder on outrageous steeps.

Nor at first glance would the 8-to-24-inch base depths advertised at Snow Summit and Bear Mountain at Big Bear Lake, the Southern California pacesetters, seem to indicate a lot of cover either. But there’s been more than enough snow since late December to blanket nearly every open run sufficiently, including the steepest at each. One need not worry about hitting rocks or other obstacles.

The reason? Manufactured snow, which represents an overwhelming majority of the flakes on the ski runs in another extraordinarily dry California winter, tends to be appreciably denser than the natural variety and therefore packs into a more solid base. The result is very good pavement for skiing that holds up day after day, regardless of what nature throws at it.

The two other resorts operating in Southern California, Mountain High near Wrightwood and Snow Valley near Running Springs, are advertising bases of 6 to 10 inches. Like Summit and Bear, almost all of their snow is manufactured as well.

By comparison, Mammoth Mountain, which is in the process of acquiring Summit and Bear, reported a snow depth on Feb. 13 of 24 to 48 inches, far from enough for adequate coverage of many of the slopes, especially the steeper ones. Why leave Southern California for that?

The same question applied to the Lake Tahoe resorts, where rain fell recently on lower slopes. Alpine Meadows on the north shore reported 18 to 42 inches. On the south shore, Heavenly confessed to 35 inches.

And while we’re at it, winter has not been especially kind so far to Colorado or New Mexico.

But as long as the water supply holds out, there’ll be decent ski conditions in Southern California. Water is the primary ingredient in the manufacturing process that, when combined under pressure, yields snow. And when the source of water is Big Bear Lake, rather than wells on which many ski areas are forced to depend, the supply is unlimited.

“We can’t do it without water,” said Chris Riddle, marketing vice president for both resorts. “And the lake is a game changer for us. In weather like this, people tend to forget about us. But we’ve known for a long time that we’re going to have dry years in Southern California, and we’ve built a system that lets us have good years whether we have natural snow or not.”