The Happen-Ens; A Sportube Blog
The Happen-Ens; #OptOutside
For many years now Black Friday has been considered the
official kick off of the holiday shopping season. In the past few years, retailers have become more and more aggressive pushing their openings from Black
Friday to Thanksgiving Day. Many of the stores are also keeping their doors
open the entire night for consumers. Thanksgiving itself seems to be getting
swallowed up by Black Friday.
REI is going the opposite route and deciding, for the third
year in a row, to Opt Outside. REI decided in 2015 that they were not only
going to stay closed all of Thanksgiving, but Black Friday too. As well as
closing down every single location they do not process any online purchases
either. REI gives all of its employees Thanksgiving and Black Friday off and also pays them for Friday as a thank you for all of their hard work. CEO Jerry Stritzke realizes how important it
is take a beat: “This is going to sound New Agey, but I think it’s a time for
people to pause and be intentional about, How do I spend my time? Who am I
with? Where am I going? Am I in the places that matter most to me? Or am I just
going with the flow?”. Over 700
organizations have joined REI and support #OptOutside in some form. This year
Lyft will be offering rides to parks free of charge in 10 major US cities. Millions
of people share their stories about how they are spending their Black Friday
using the #OptOutside hashtag on social media.
Here at Sportube we are also choosing to Opt Out! Rather
than joining in on the hustle and bustle of the retail world we too are going
to be using the long weekend for stuffing ourselves silly and relaxing with
friends and family. With our local resorts opening as well a dusting of fresh
snow yesterday there are plenty of opportunities to get outside and do what we
Happy Holidays from the Sportube Team!!
The Happen-Ens; The Art of Snowmaking
Nothing truly beats a run of thick fresh powder. Unfortunately resorts cannot rely on fresh
and real snow alone and still be able to give us the long ski seasons that we
are used to. Thankfully, we have the tools to cover for Mother Nature’s absence.
Snowmaking has been a season-saver for many resorts. There is a lot of science,
work, and money that goes into being able to make artificial snow.
The key elements needed when coming to making snow are cold
temperatures, low humidity, compressed air, water, snow guns, and snowmakers
and groomers. Snow making requires a very large amount of water to be able to
cover as much ground needed at any resort. To cover an area of 200 ft x 200 ft
with 6 inches of snow you would need 20,000 cubic feet of snow which requires
74,600 gallons of water. Many resorts have the ability to be able to convert
over 5000 gallons of water per minute into snow, this ends up being 20 tons of snow
Snowmaking helps to get winter on its way but there are
still certain conditions that need to be met.
The relationship between temperature and humidity needs to be just right
in order for the snowmaking to work. This is called the wet bulb temperature.
The temperature can still be below freezing but if the humidity is too high the
snowmaking will not work. At the beginning of the season the snowmakers are
programed to make heavy wetter snow to build a nice base off of.
Looking out the office window today there is little to no
snow in sight. But thanks to the snowmaking abilities our home mountain Vail is
able to be having their opening day on Thanksgiving (fingers crossed) as well
as many surrounding resorts already into their 2017-2018 season.
The Happen-Ens; (impatiently)
Waiting For Snow
The first snow fall of the year can be quite the tease
getting skiers and snowboarders eager to ride. Once that first dusting comes
around it can make waiting for the good stuff unbearable. You can only check
the weather and walk around the house breaking in your new ski boots so many
times. Fortunately, some of the best resorts are located at higher elevations
allowing for an “early season”. Early ski season is when the mountains are
partially open but still working on acquiring enough snow for the season.
Lucky for us cooler temperatures have allowed many resorts
to begin their snowmaking process and allowing for early opening dates.
Although early season skiing is incomparable to peak season it’s hard to pass
up the opportunity to be able to get on the mountain as early as mid-October.
Currently there are three resorts open in the United States with many others on
track to opening in the next month.
Arapahoe Basin, Colorado
Base Elevation: 10,780 ft.
Opening Day: October 13th
Snow Depth: 18”
Runs Open: 2/107
Lifts Open: 1/9
Loveland Ski Area, Colorado
Base Elevation: 10,800 ft.
Opening Day: October 20th
Snow Depth: 18”
Runs Open: 1/94
Lifts Open: 1/10
Timberline Lodge, Oregon
Base Elevation: 6,000 ft.
Opening Day: October 8th
Snow Depth: 11”
Runs Open: 1/41
Lifts Open: 1/5
Early season riding is a great time to get out on the
mountain to brush the dust off and get back into the groove of skiing and
snowboarding. One thing to remember with the early season is that everyone is
just as excited as you are. With all of the skiers and snowboarders flocking to
get their first runs in of the season the limited trail space can become
extremely congested. Always be aware of other riders around you and be
respectful of beginners.
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The Happen-ens- The Perfect Powder Day 1/20/2015
Many have asked what the biological make up of a perfect
powder day is. Of course the answer has multiple variables that have to be
considered. Since its dumping in the Rockies this week, Sportube has analyzed those variables and drawn
a conclusion of our perfect Powder day.
it being 5pm on a crisp, cool Friday night. The quitting bell rings and it is
weekend time. Plans are pre-set to hit the local watering hole for a quick
Friday destress with your friends. As you step outside the office you are
greeted with a few snowflakes which are a welcoming sign as you are set for a
ski day in the morning. Fast forward 3 hours, and you have replenished the
tanks with some calorie intake and a couple micro brews to wash down dinner. As
you step out of the pub you are greeted with an even more beautiful sight than
that lamb Gyro that was just inhaled by seeing a fresh 7.5 cm of light snow on
the windshield of your car…. It’s on!
evening progresses there are a variety of things one must accomplish to prepare
for the day ahead. Pack the boot bags, brush a touch up coat of cold wax on the
sticks, monitor the forecast, dessert, night cap (if that’s your thing), check
the weather again and hit the sack so you are well rested for the day ahead.
Through the night, Mountain OPS completely gives up and bags the grooming
operation for the following day. It’s dumping at this point 2.54 cm per hour-
Primed for something Epic.
alarm goes off at 0600 as the sun is rising and you take a quick peak out the
window. Madness- greeted with a remarkable 46 cm (18”) of fresh champagne
powder which makes you consider getting out the skins so you can absolutely
ensure first tracks. Better judgement kicks in however and it’s time for a
breakfast that will sustain through the day and some coffee to get the mind
moving. All of a sudden your phone buzzes and Christmas just came early. (The
pass is closed- Locals Only this morning) There’s no question now; this will be
a full day of skiing keeping your secret stashes in your back pocket till the
rest of the hill gets tracked out. Time can’t go fast enough at this point, it’s
time to SKI!
arrive at the base you are greeted with the other powder hounds yipping and yelling
in anticipation of getting on the first chair. The temp is right around the -10
C mark which will make for light, fast snow. As if it wasn’t already magical,
the perfect storm culminates when you buddy informs you that the snow only has
8% water content... Brilliant! At this point the skies have opened up and we
are looking at a blue bird day with a fresh foot and a half of snow. 0830
FINALLY rolls around you load onto the first chair while picking your first
line on the way up. As you move up the hill you crank the tunes up, check the
phone one last time and prep yourself for a day to remember. As you unload you
take are hard right turn, skate as fast as you can and….. Well you should be
able to take it from there!
Christmas Special: 12/23/2015
It is that time of year again- Tis
the season for family, friends, traditions, Christmas dinners, spiked egg nog,
Christmas shopping, crazy Uncle Jerry and stretchy pants…especially stretchy
pants. So what are your Christmas traditions? Personally, I always have had
fond memories of this winter holiday that is all about giving, skiing, holiday
parties and cheer. Mix in some family time, appetizers, libations, prime rib
dinners, winter activities, and the occasional cousin that hits Grandpa’s cough
syrup a little too hard and you have one memorable holiday. Regardless of your
traditions and memories, Christmas gives us as Americans the opportunity to
reflect on our past, be thankful for the opportunities and freedoms that we
have and look towards the future. Oh, and of course shop… Because what is
holiday shopping without battling someone else’s Grandma for the last pair of
tube socks listed at 50% off? Hey, it’s a great deal right? Jokes aside-
Christmas is a time for family, happiness and over indulgence. A time where
elastic pants, online shopping and splurging on that Sportube that you have had
your eye on over the past few months are 100% acceptable.
to a joyful Christmas to all,
The Snowbird Season: 11/19/15
does that Zac Brown band song go again? “I got my
toes in the water, ass in the sand, not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my
hand, Life is good today. Life is good today.” – Ahh the glorious life of a
snowbird. With steady snow in the forecast and one of the largest predicted
winters ahead airlines are fueling up the birds to accommodate the old timers
as they flock south. Heading to warmer climates for the winter seems to be a fairly
common trend as individuals get older. It makes sense to me- why be cold when
you could be warm? This especially makes sense if you aren’t partaking in
winter activities on a regular basis anymore. The question then in-lies, what
do you have to look forward to during winter? Well… Zac hit the nail on the
head- Toes in the water? Ass in the sand? Beer in your hand? - Life sure does
sound good today.
If you are a snowbird, future snowbird or pondering
the idea of whether you want to go down that road or not, then another logical
question will pop into your head. What happens when I get board of sitting in
the sand with a beer in my hand? Well, luckily the southern communities have
done a great job accommodating and providing activities for just about everyone.
Perhaps its golf, shopping, sunbathing, swimming, walking, running, hiking,
paddle boarding, sipping Mai Tai’s, snorkeling, diving, or who knows- you could
even be the next pickle ball phoneme coming straight out of 34 degrees
latitude… Whatever you choose, it will surely beat chattering your teeth in 34
degree weather right? Simply put- Tis the season all you snowbirds. Pack the
bags, stuff the sportube cases with your snorkels and diving gear, plane, train
or motor home automobile, you better get moving because winter is here!
Ski Towns in North America Continued- (#5-#1): 11/4/15
Well Folks, it’s that time of week
again- welcome back to the Happen-ens where we will hash out Sportube’s Top
picks (#5-#1) best ski towns in North America. This week features some truly
phenomenal destinations that are worth checking out for any seasoned skier or
5- Park City, UT- Any resort and town that has the capability of
hosting an Olympics speaks for itself. Park city is a staple in the ski
community. With one of the largest grooming operations in North America, Park
city caters to skiers of any level. With major infrastructure changes in the
works and a future gondola that will connect both Park City and Canyons, this
is a resort that has to be in the top 5. Throw in all the usual’s (and more)
that ski towns have to offer and Park City makes for one epic ski destination.
Of course with the relatively recent influx of cash flow from the Vail Resorts,
Park City is expected to bump up a notch of two in the coming years.
4- Telluride, CO- This little city located at the base of several
surrounding mountains is not just a visual spectacle but rather a force to be
reckoned with in the ski community. Incredible steeps, elevation change, cold
light Pow and great access makes Telluride a ski vacation to remember. Offering
up some of the best skiing in North America is just the start of what Telluride
brings to the table. With lists after list of attractions, activities,
festivals, eateries, parties and events Telluride has something to offer any
time of the year. Mix in Heli and cat skiing and Telluride brews the perfect
storm that is definitely top 4 worthy on the countdown of North Americas greatest
3-Jackson Hole, WY- Do you like Backcountry, chutes, steeps, cliffs,
and adrenaline? Jackson Hole Wyoming is the spot to be. Jackson in nestled deep
in the Grand Teton National park making this world class resort one of the
greatest in the ski community. Culminate all of that with incredible snow
storms, friendly locals, a party scene unlike any other and accommodations that
will knock your socks off and you have the second greatest ski town in North
America. If you plan accordingly, have a little bit of luck and pack the powder
skis, Jackson has the big play potential to offer up some of the steepest and
greatest powder skiing on the planet. This number 3 is not only a bucket lister
for all you ski/snowboard junkies- it is a must!Co #1- Vail Valley, CO- You can’t mention top 10 North American ski towns without throwing the Vail Valley into the mix at one of the top spots. Although, I as the author have never skied the mountains in the Vail Valley I would be remised not to put this gem as a Co-top lister. Vail has been home to Sportube’s headquarters for the last 20 years so there may be just a bit of El-Hefe bias in this review. On the other hand, I like and want to keep my job. The Valley offers two world class ski resorts in Vail and Beaver Creek as well as the towns of Vail, Eagle Vail, Avon and Edwards all within a few miles of one another. After a day floating in waist deep powder or ripping a world class groomer there are a variety of activities to indulge in after a day on the slopes. Both Vail and Beaver Creek offer a wide array of Après ski destinations to wind down a day on the slopes as well as ice rinks, fine dining, beautiful lodging and nightlife options for every generation that visits the resorts. Vail and Beaver Creek are also famous for their winter time events such as the World Cup, Snowdaze™ and Spring Back to Vail™ which offer winter events any time of the year.
Co#1-Whistler, BC- With an extensive mountain range that sprawls for as far as the eye can see it makes one feel as if they are in the European Alps. This extraordinary mountain operation allows one to shred a vertical mile worth of terrain that descends into a vibrant ski-tropolis at the base. The incredible Peak to Peak gondola allows vacationers to ski not one but two world class mountains in a timely and efficient manner. This feat of engineering has opened up the future of big mountain skiing and makes for an experience that one will never forget. It allows you to spend the morning on Whistler Mountain before heading over to the Blackcomb bowls in the afternoon to find your secret stashes away from the masses. After a full day of skiing one can easily access the village at the bottom which plays host to patrons from around the globe. One cannot forget the fine dining, world class accommodations, incredibly friendly locals and the vibrant nightlife which inevitably tips the scales in favor of Whistler Resort coming in as our #1 ski town in North America. Whistler is truly an experience of a lifetime.
week we will take an inside look behind the psychology and beauty of the
Top 10 North American Ski Towns (#10-#6)
Sportube’s Editor’s Picks: 10/28/2015
Choosing the top 10 North American ski towns- Sounds like a relatively simple
task right? Wrong… North America is chocked full of big mountains, epic lines
and ski towns that offer a little “somthin-somthin” for everyone. This year, Sportube took on the daunting task
of choosing our editor’s pick of the top 10 ski towns in North America.
10- Bend, OR- The small community of Bend, OR has a lot to boast about.
Great food, fantastic microbrew, friendly people, stunning views, premier
lodging, a river that flows through downtown and did I mention great beer? Yes-
Bend seems to have it all. With Mt. Bachelor sitting only 22 miles west of Bend
there is easy mountain access for both locals and tourist making Bend, OR a
popular destination to spend some time in the winter months.
9- Stowe, VT- This little hidden gem is nestled deep in the mountains
and is called home to only 5,000 full time residents. With that, Stowe relies
heavily on the tourism industry but with good reason. Not only does the
mountain offer great skiing that can challenge even the most advanced skiers
but the town of Stowe offers a wide variety of food, beverage and entertainment
for the whole family. Kids clubs, shopping, fine dining, excellent restaurants,
and a combination of both summer and winter activities make this a resort town
worth looking into.
8- Heavenly, CA- Clearly this is a place that makes the top ten list
with a name like Heavenly. With good reason too- Heavenly is the place to go
for non-stop fun and entertainment. (It’s not for the faint at heart). When
visiting South Lake Tahoe one better be prepared to rise for first chair, ski
their butt off, but still maintain the stamina to enjoy the exuberant nightlife
that Heavenly, CA has to offer. This is a non-stop spot for high octane
adrenaline junkies and will surely offer a trip to remember with the buddies or
7- Aspen, CO- Simply put, it’s a place where the beer flows like wine!
Aspen, CO is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the ski and snowboard
community. With Snowmass also located just down the road this little slice of
heaven is a town that should be on your bucket list to visit for a vacation. Expect
to see and experience mind blowing real estate, luxurious lodging, fine dining,
stellar nightlife, four exceptional mountains and the high mountain air that
truly makes this place electric. Tucked high into the Rocky Mountains, Aspen,
CO sees an abundance of champagne powder day’s as well tightly groomed corduroy
cruisers which make for a phenomenal winter vacation any time of the winter. Of
course be on the lookout for famous movie and rock stars while visiting Aspen
as it often plays host to the rich and famous.6- Banff, Alberta- If you crave big mountain skiing, epic views, northern latitudes and a town literally in the middle of the mountains, Banff is the destination for you. The combination of great local accommodation’s, outgoing Canadians and the sheer beauty and vastness of the surrounding landscape will leave you in pure awe. Mix in beer, great food, a lively culture and the fact you are deep in the Canadian Rockies makes this experience second to none. Sounds pretty great eh? One quick google search will leave you salivating and chomping at the bit to schedule your next winter trip there.
Stay tuned for Sportube’s #5-#1 greatest ski towns in North
America coming next week.
The First Chair Outlook: 10/21/2015
winter quickly approaching many of you have questions on your mind for this
year’s 2015/16 snow index. Questions will arise like: Is El-Niño really just
Spanish for The-Niño? The answer is yes, and it is showing promising signs of
an epic winter ahead. The first chair outlook for the Rocky Mountains is, in
fact looking positive. Although there have been years in the past where there
has been a solid snowpack by the middle of October, this is not one of those
years. On the other hand, there has been significant moisture in the air and
the overnight temperatures have been steadily dropping which is a tell-tale
sign for snow flurries ahead. In fact, the week of October 21-28 shows steady
overnight snowfall in the forecast with a high pressure influx of anxious
skiers and snowboards indulging in various local microbrews after their leg
workouts. So what does this all mean?
If you are
a meteorologist or trust their judgement, the consensus seems to be fairly
consistent for the upcoming winter. With one of the largest predicted El-Niño’s
in history approaching from the Pacific Ocean the questions is not IF there
will be snow but rather how much snow there will be this year. Regardless, El
Grande Niño or The Large Niño for you non-Spanish speaking folks is coming and it’s
coming quickly! This means one thing for all you skiers and riders. Its time to
get out the shred sticks, tune them up, give them a wax and prepare yourself
for several epic champagne Pow days this winter as the forecast for the 15/16
winter is shaping up to be one for the record books. Simply put- Call your
buddies, buy your plane tickets, dust off your Sportube cases, prep your
equipment and get ready for bicep curls and après-ski sessions when the snow starts