Archive | November 2011

Park Report: Northstar 11/30/2011

Today I got a chance to head up to Northstar for some morning riding and it was awesome. Altough it was a little windy up top, there was hardly anyone there and the snow was really good. Since my last park report, Northstar has done a good job at switching up the set-up and putting in some bigger sized features.

The only park they currently have is still located on Pinball. The beginning of the run starts with the same 4 foot flat box. Following this, is a triple barrel 4 foot flat rail which flows into an eight foot down box. The down box is perfect for trying 270’s on if you have never done one before. The next feature in the park is a square 10 foot flat bar. This is a fun rail, but I just wish it was a little bit longer. After this, comes a 15 foot flat box that is set-up skate style, with no jump on, and then the top section of the park concludes with an eight foot step-down jump.

The middle section of the park begins with a 10 foot down box. Once again, this feature is fun, but could be a little longer. Following this, is a ten foot up box and a 20 foot down circle rail. The down rail is currently one of my favorite features in the park and is set-up really well.

The bottom section of the park features a down flat box, follwed by a 10 foot slightly up lift tower tube. The lift tower tube is extremely smooth to the point where it doesn’t even feel like you are on metal. The next feature is an option of a barrel bonk or a flat rail stall. Finally, the park ends with a 10 foot dance floor box, followed by a small square down rail.

Overall, I am very happy with the changes Northstar did with thier park. The new features that they added make this park a lot more fun than it was before. Now if only we could get a real sized jump up then I would be stoked! So let’s all do our snow dances and pray for some precipitation to come to Tahoe!

The Skiing Lifestyle

To some people, skiing is just a hobby that they enjoy doing every now and then when they have free-time. Others, like myself, have embraced skiing as much more than a hobby and more of a lifestyle. 

The reason that I say skiing is more of a lifestyle for me is because it has impacted my life in so many different ways. It has been the deciding factor in where I went to college, where I live today, the people that I hang out with, the music I listen to, and so many more different parts of my life.

I am originally from the the East coast  where I was born and raised for the first eighteen years of my life. When I graduated high school my passion for freestyle skiing caused me to pack up all my belongings and move 3,000 miles across the country to a place I had never been in my life. I had heard that the skiing in Lake Tahoe was amazing, and with the Univeristy of Nevada, Reno only being  thirty minutes away, I was sold. 

When I arrived in Reno I didn’t know a single person. Luckily for me, I was able to find others that shared the same love for freestyle skiing and we were able to relate to one another even though we were from completely different parts of the country. After attending the University for four years, most of my closest friends are the people that I ski with on a regular basis. 

If it were not for skiing, I have no idea where or what I would be doing with my life today. I know that you probably aren’t supposed to make the decision of where you attend college based on what the skiing is like, but I’m glad that I did. Skiing gives me so much joy and excitement that I couldn’t imagine life without it. I plan on skiing for the rest of my life and I couldn’t be happier that I ended up in such an amazing place like Lake Tahoe.

Please feel free to share your story of how skiing has impacted your life!

 

 

Park Report for Northstar 11/19/2011

This past Saturday I got a chance to make it out to Northstar and check out their new park set-up. Northstar did a great job with the snow that they had to work with and put up tons of features. The set-up was decent but some of the features were a little too small for my liking.

The park is on pinball which normally has medium to advanced features but currently has a variety of beginner to medium features. The first feature of the park is a 3 foot flat box followed by a  2 foot triple barrel flat rail. Following this comes a pretty fun small rainbow box into an extra wide 8-10 foot down box. That concludes the top rail section which then flows into a small 5 foot step-down table.

The middle section of the park starts with a smooth down box that is about 8-10 feet long. Next, there is a 10 foot up box followed by a square 7 foot down rail. The subsequent feature is my favorite in the park, an up-down box. I like this one the most because it is the longest feature so you actually have some time to do some tricks on it. After this, there is a 2 foot round flat bar that I had more fun tapping then actually trying to slide. Finally the bottom of the park ends with a 10 foot true table into an 8 foot wide slanted box.

Overall, the park at Northstar is good because it’s long but I wish they would’ve thrown in some bigger features. I understand that they are working with a very limited amount of snow, still I feel that if they took out a couple smaller features then they could’ve used that snow to create less but more quality features. That being said, lets all pray for snow so Northstar can bring back the quality park that we all know and love!

 

Freestyle Skiing in 2014 Olympics: Good or Bad?

If you haven’t already heard, Skiing slopestyle and halfpipe has been admitted into the 2014 Olympics. This will allow for our sport to be showcased to a broader audience but many fear that it may change our beloved sport for the worse.

For those that are against freestyle skiing joining the Olympics, the main fear is that skiing will become another standardized sport with rules and regulations on who is the best and what is considered proper. Many freestyle skiers joined this sport to escape the conformity of ski racing and moguls in order to do their own thing. Freestyle skiing is all about being creative and using the mountain and terrain park in your own unique way. Now that both slopestyle and halfpipe have been admitted into the Olympics, many fear that these events will be judged by someone who doesn’t really understand the sport and creativity will be destroyed. Furthermore, skiers opposed to the Olympics fear the sport will sell-out and athletes will start to ski solely for the money and the publicity, as opposed to simply the love of being outside and doing something outside the norm. I asked my good friend and fellow skier, Jacob Swartz, what he felt about this issue and he was against skiing being in the Olympics as well. He said, ” My main worry is that skiing is going to become another commercialized sport. Skiing has always been sort of underground and that is part of the appeal to it.” Clearly there are some skiers worried about the negative impact that the Olympics will have on freestyle skiing but what about the positive side of things?

Advocates for freestyle skiing joining the Olympics feel that this will do great things for our sport. First of all, it will allow freestyle skiing to be showcased to a broader audience. This added exposure could help create new opportunities for our sport such as greater income and rewards for athletes, more competitions, and other possibilities like new off-slope training facilities. Another good thing that the Olympics will do for freestyle skiing is increase the international participant base. Due to the fact that the Olympics is an international event, the addition of freestyle skiing will create more interest world-wide in our sport. This is a good thing because the bigger playing field will create increased competition which will hopefully result in greater progression of the sport.

Overall, with skiing halfpipe and slopestyle scheduled to be in the 2014 Olympics, the sport is sure to increase in popularity. I just hope that people don’t forget where our sport came from and what the essence of skiing is all about.

How do you feel about skiing halfpipe and slopestyle being admitted into the 2014 Olympics?

New Change in the Set-up at Boreal

Today I got a chance to ski for a few hours at Boreal in the morning before my heal piece broke. Even with the little snow that Boreal is working with, they were able to change the park set-up. I have to give credit to Boreal for really working hard this pre-season at keeping their park set-up fresh and maintained well before any of the other mountains in Tahoe have even opened. It is crucial that resorts keep changing their parks so that their customers don’t get bored with the old set-up and Boreal is doing a great job at this.

The set-up  has changed on the upper-section of the park only. They got rid of the wrecking ball on the skiers right and moved the lift tower tube up in it’s place. The lift tower tube is set-up really nicely now because it is out of the snow and has a good lip on. After this feature, you have the option of hitting the small down flat circle rail or a flat down box. Next they moved the 25 foot round down rail up and placed it is a flat rail. I like this rail as a flat, but if you clean the whole rail it is really easy to clear the landing which can be painful on the knees. The bottom section still remains the same with the option of a 10 foot jump, which they have improved, or my favorite feature, the round down flat down rail. After this, there is a slanted-box wall ride and the half dome with a flat top for taps and bonks.

On the skiers left hand, the park begins with the same option of an up box or a square down rail. After this they added a new tire tap followed by a really unique set-up of the dog house with a pole jam option. I like the way that they have the dog-house set-up now because there are so many different ways that you can approach it allowing you to get creative. Following this feature, there is a metal corrugated quarter-pipe spine that flows into a feature that I cannot put into words. After this, you can either gain speed for the jump or head right towards the down-flat-down rail.

Also in addition to the new set-up, Boreal has added in a beginner park. Therefore, if you are just learning how to ride park then Boreal has something that you can have fun on as well. Overall, I am glad to see Boreal is really working hard this year at creating the best park possible with the little amount of snow they are working with. Lucky for us, snow is in the forecast for the weekend so keep your fingers crossed and pray to the snow gods!

Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments on the new set-up!

Urban Skiing: Is it a crime?

First of all, let me start by introducing the concept of urban skiing for those that have never heard of such a thing before. Urban skiing is when skiers take their skis off the mountain or resort in order to test their skills on rails, ledges, drops, and other unique urban features. One of the greatest parts about urban skiing is hitting features that have never been done before and using your creativity in an urban setting to use a man made feature in a way that it wasn’t intended for. Urban is usually more risky than skiing at a resort because of the extreme terrain such as concrete stairs and pavement as opposed to normal snow landings that can be found at resorts. As a result, urban gives skiers a chance to really test their ability in an environment that they are not normally used to.

(Me hitting an urban rail)

Now that you have a general idea of what urban skiing is, this brings me to my question of should this be illegal? Skiers have been given tickets and been kicked out of urban areas because of liability factors and accusations of vandalism. Urban skiing is seen as a reckless and juvenile act, but in reality what are they really hurting? The most damage that has probably ever done by a skier trying to hit a urban rail is to themselves. I know this brings up the issue of liability but I feel that this is something that is a problem with our court system. If someone gets hurt on your property and they were doing it without your consent, then I do not feel that you should be held liable. It is like the case of the robber that broke into a house and got cut by a knife during entry then ended up suing and won. Clearly, there is something flawed with this justice. Furthermore, I feel that the skiing community understands this risk is inherent with the sport and would not attempt to file a lawsuit. I realize that trust in the skiing communities ethics is not enough to justify urban skiing when a property owner could be facing a liability, but I do not feel that urban skiing should be considered a crime.

Skiers attempting to hit urban features are simply trying to get outside and have a good time. I feel that it is better that they are out in the city trying to ski as opposed to some other type of real crime like doing drugs or actual vandalism such as graffiti. Some urban skiers such as myself, even do others a good service by shoveling off public stairs and walk-ways. Therefore, I feel that people need to change their outlook of urban skiing and stop viewing it as a crime. If a property owner has a problem with someone hitting their rails, then they can simply ask that skier to leave instead of calling the cops. After all, their are a lot worse things that kids could be doing than skiing in a unique environment.

How do you guys feel about urban skiing? Please feel free to share your comments about this issue.

Top 3 Terrain Parks In North Lake Tahoe

#1 Northstar At Tahoe: One of the best parts about Northstar’s terrain park is the fact that it is so long. You can hit rails, jumps, taps, wall-rides, hips, quarter pipes, and the half-pipe all in one smooth run. The park crew at Northstar does an excellent job at keeping the set-up fresh so that the park never gets old. They are always changing things and adding new unique features that are different from any other mountain. Northstar also offers a wide variety of difficulty in their features from the Burton Progression Park for beginners just learning to jib, to the DC straits where experts can test their skills on perfectly sculpted jumps and well-maintained rails. As a result, Northstar is truly a terrain park enthusiasts dream come true. 

#2 Alpine Meadows: My favorite part about Alpine Meadows is definitely their jumps. The current terrain park manager really knows what he is doing when it comes to building perfectly manicured jumps. In my eyes, these are the best jumps in Tahoe because they have smooth take-offs and massive landings that you can take as big or as small as you please. The jibs at alpine are fun but don’t have as much variety as Northstar and are not changed as much either. The downside to Alpine is that they moved the terrain park away from the Kangaroo chair to a less optimal location and they don’t have a half-pipe. However, I still feel that Alpine has the second best park in  North Lake Tahoe simply because their jumps are hard to beat. 

#3 Boreal: Boreal is a smaller mountain but always has a really fun terrain park. There are multiple parks all over the mountain that feature a wide variety of jibs and a good range of jump sizes. One of the best parts about Boreal is their half-pipe. This pipe is my favorite in Tahoe, and even though I’m not a huge half-pipe skier, I still love dropping into Boreal’s because it’s so smooth. Boreal does a great job at opening up before any of the other resorts in Tahoe and always has a really fun pre-season set-up. Another thing that you may want to try at Boreal is their air-bag. This new features allows skiers and riders to try their new tricks safely before taking them to the snow. Although Boreal’s park runs are a little shorter so you don’t get as much variety as other resorts, they still have many good things to offer.