Ski town news roundup: Crested Butte open ‘wall to wall,’ bookings solid |

Ski town news roundup: Crested Butte open ‘wall to wall,’ bookings solid

Compiled by Lauren Glendenning

CRESTED BUTTE — For the first time since the winter of 2010-11, Crested Butte Mountain Resort is open from rope to rope.

With Third Bowl opening Jan. 15 and the Front Side to Sunset Ridge opening Tuesday, Jan. 21, the resort is proud to announce a total skiable terrain of 1,163 acres.

“We’re currently open wall to wall, but not yet floor to ceiling,” said resort communications manager Erica Mueller. “The Peak is still closed, but with some more snow we will be looking to get it open.”

In celebration of the great season so far, and the season to come, the Crested Butte Ski Patrol will hold its Wall-to-Wall fundraiser party on Feb. 7 from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Butte 66.

“The 2010-11 season was the last time we had this much terrain open. This is all related to snowfall, and hopefully the storms will just keep coming as we head into the next few months of winter.”
Erica Mueller
Crested Butte communications manager

Along with the Peak, accessed from the High Lift, the only other official runs not yet open on the mountain are Panion’s and Cascade off of Goldlink, and Rambo off of the North Face Lift.

“The 2010-11 season was the last time we had this much terrain open,” Mueller said. “This is all related to snowfall, and hopefully the storms will just keep coming as we head into the next few months of winter.”

Regardless of what the future weather does, Crested Butte reports that bookings for February and March seem to have responded to the past storms.

The year-to-date numbers for February show a 21 percent increase from last year in booked room nights, and March is at a 36 percent increase.

This year’s Texas spring break starts on Saturday, March 8, with Oklahoma having its break a week later, and Mueller said many people wishing to visit from these locales have already booked their vacations.

“Things are looking great,” said Mueller. “Things still could change but with the current pace of bookings we’re trending super well, and within the travel industry we’re seeing a movement toward a lot more last-minute bookings.”

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Powdr Corp. executive, important figure in lawsuit, departs

PARK CITY, Utah — A high-ranking executive at Park City Mountain Resort parent Powdr Corp., an important figure in the lawsuit against Talisker Land Holdings LLC, departed in December, according to a Wednesday filing in 3rd District Court.

The filing, submitted by the Talisker side, did not provide details about the circumstances of the departure of Powdr Corp. chief financial officer Jennifer Botter. She became the CFO in August 2008 and had worked in finance and accounting jobs for 20 years, the filing said. She was one of the figures involved as Powdr Corp. attempted to renew its lease of Talisker acreage underlying much of Park City Mountain Resort’s terrain. The suit centers on PCMR’s lease.

The filing describes deposition testimony from Botter that “she thought the option to extend was ‘automatic.’” It says Botter did not talk about her understanding with attorneys.

“Nor, apparently, did she discuss her understanding with her CEO, Mr. John Cumming, who testified that he did not think the leases automatically renewed,” it says.

Cumming is the CEO of Powdr Corp.

The Talisker side has spent considerable time probing the final days and hours as PCMR attempted to renew the lease before a 2011 deadline, describing what it has called a “frantic” situation.

In a statement, Powdr Corp. spokeswoman Krista Parry praised Botter’s work.

“Jennifer Botter made significant contributions to Powdr and we appreciate her years of service.

She and Powdr agreed it was time for a change in the financial management of the company. We have a strong financial team in place and a search is underway to fill the position,” the statement said.

Parry in an interview said: “Jennifer’s departure did not have anything to do with the litigation.”

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Tahoe doctors head to Olympics

LAKE TAHOE — It appears Lake Tahoe will be well represented at the Winter Olympics this year, as two South Shore doctors join a handful of local athletes headed for Sochi, Russia.

Drs. Jonathan Finnoff and Terrence Orr will support two different U.S. ski teams at the games. They will help keep athletes safe and healthy about 7,000 miles from home.

“I’m very excited,” Finnoff said. “It’s quite an honor. I think it’s wonderful we have two physicians from here in Tahoe.”

Finnoff, the director of sports medicine at Barton Health, will be a team physician in Sochi for the U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team.

He will be available for medical advice if an athlete gets injured or has a medical emergency. However, he expects to spend most of his time performing preventative treatment — or keeping the skiers as healthy as possible, he said.

“They train really hard,” Finnoff said. “They’re kind of running on that edge between being overtrained and being sick, and being undertrained.”

This year will mark the second time Finnoff has served as a physician in the games. The doctor was the director of the Athlete’s Medical Clinic in the 2002 Winter Olympics, which were held in Salt Lake City.

There, Finnoff helped treat dislocated shoulders, lacerations and other relatively minor injuries, many of which occurred from various ski jumping accidents, he said.

Since then, the physician has been working with the U.S. ski team and has watched the athletes develop their talents.

“I think it’s great …” he said. “I see people’s careers evolve, and I see all the hard work they put into it.”

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Crews have replaced drive system of popular lift

TELLURIDE — Repairs to Lift 8 are wrapping up, and to the relief of many locals one of Telluride’s iconic chairs is expected to be back in service for the remainder of the season.

“We’re making a commitment to Chair 8 and the community,” said Telluride Ski & Golf Co. communications coordinator Pepper Raper. “We know it’s a major access point, and we really want to keep the chair up and running.”

Telski plans to reopen the lift to the public on Saturday. Ski company crews have been load-testing it throughout the week to get it ready.

The lift has been disabled for more than a month. It came to a halt at midday on Dec. 22 when its drive circuits failed. The lift was carrying 23 people at the time, but the ski area was able to use a backup diesel engine to get it moving long enough to offload the passengers.

The drive is a component that converts alternating current to direct current and is a major part of the lift. To fix the issue, Telski had to replace the entire drive unit, which was done.

But after conducting initial tests with the new drive unit this week, crews discovered that the lift’s cooling system was not working.

Because of that, Raper said, an entirely new drive had to be installed, which is part of the reason the repairs have taken more than a month to complete.

However, Raper said Telski hasn’t heard too many complaints about the lift being down, in part because she thinks there hasn’t been much new snow since it broke down.

Lift 8 is one of the resort’s older chairs. Raper said it was installed in the early 1970s and rebuilt in 1985. It is known as a fixed-grip two chair.

Lift 8 is popular with locals and services some of the mountain’s more challenging terrain directly from Telluride on Oak Street. The lift climbs up the north side of the mountain above the Mineshaft ski run and delivers skiers to the base of Lift 9.

With the lift down, skiers have had to take more circuitous routes from Telluride to the base of 9.

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