Ah, yes. Spring Break in the Rockies. For those of you not headed to the beach, chances are the slopes may be your destination next week. My first ski experience was in college during Spring Break. It’s been in my blood ever since.
It looks as if the late winter/early spring weather patterns are putting up some serious snowfall in Colorado and New Mexico, so if you’re headed to resorts out that way you can expect prime ski conditions. If you are going to do any backcountry skiing, please be careful. Huge snowfall totals make for great powder and excellent conditions, but they also bring about considerable avalanche danger that isn’t present on the groomed slopes of the resorts.
Without further delay, some links to the Rocky Mountain ski reports:
New Mexico: http://www.skireport.com/newmexico/
Recently got this from the state Tourism Department. It’s about an interesting sounding event at Little Sahara State Park. Read on:
Fifteen thousand off-road sand enthusiasts are expected to flock to the Flight Path for Vintage War Birds Fly-Over. The fly-over event is taking place to honor the 250,000 motorized recreational tourists who travel to Woods County each year.
More than 75 percent of these sand enthusiasts travel up to 1,000 miles across country to enjoy the dunes at the Little Sahara State Park each year during “Snake Hunt” week.
At 5 p.m. April 10, the fly-over event will commence in Waynoka in a joint effort between Dan Delasantos of the Tek-One Corporation; Classic Communications; Bob Baker, aircraft owner and pilot; and Reed Helicopters.
Helicopter and off-road services will be on hand to transport media into the park. Classic Communications will broadcast the event throughout northwest Oklahoma via live radio remote beginning at 3 p.m. Thousands of recreationists and their vehicles will line the tops of the many towering sand dunes along the flight path in anticipation for the fly-over. Reed Helicopters will be on hand providing park guests the opportunity to explore the 1,500-acre sand dune park from the air.
Receiving the highest volume of motorized recreational traffic in the state, the Little Sahara State Park supports more than 250,000 guests annually.
Awhile back, I mentioned a movie called “North Face,” about a pioneering ascent of the north face of the Eiger in the Alps. As it turns out, the film is showing in Tulsa March 12-18 at the Circle Cinema. The movie is in German, but does have English subtitles.
Here’s a summary of the film provided by its producers:
“Based on a true story, ‘North Face’ is a suspenseful adventure film about a competition to climb the most dangerous rock face in the Alps. Set in 1936, as Nazi propaganda urges the nation’s alpinists to conquer the unclimbed north face of the Swiss massif — the Eiger — two reluctant German climbers begin their daring ascent.”
The Circle Cinema is at 12 S Lewis in Tulsa. If you’re looking for show times, click here: http://www.circlecinema.com/films.htm
And just for grins, here’s the movie trailer again. Thanks goes to Out There reader Trent Riley for bringing this to my attention.
BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
SEATTLE — The call came at 1 a.m., New York time. His girlfriend said Jason Mielcarek and his friend Taylor Cameron hadn’t come home from a ski trip to Crystal Mountain.
Patti Mielcarek said she thought about all her son’s strengths: He runs marathons, rock climbs and has skied since he was 3 years old.
And then she looked up Crystal Mountain on the Internet. She saw a panorama of mountains, a vast expanse of mountains.
“We had confidence in him, but we started to worry about the elements. How cold it was going to get, wolves, avalanches.”
“We didn’t sleep at all,” said his father, Daniel Mielcarek.
The story ends happily.
Mielcarek and Cameron walked into the Ohanapecosh Ranger Station in Mount Rainier National Park Faeuro” about 26 miles from where they’d started Faeuro” before noon Friday. The pair sounded sheepish about the search they’d touched off but also grateful to would-be rescuers.
“We just want to thank everyone who was looking out for us. They did a really fine job,” Mielcarek told KING-TV after the pair was flown by helicopter from the campground back to Crystal Mountain.
The two men, both 27, had met at the University of Vermont, where they both graduated in 2005, Mielcarek’s parents said. Cameron was originally from Pennsylvania; Mielcarek grew up in New York.
Mielcarek moved to Seattle in November, his parents said, drawn here by a number of friends and by the prospect of a job in the out-of-doors. Patti Mielcarek said her son had just landed work with the Redmond Parks Department.
After they were found, the two men told rangers that they hadn’t realized they were straying out of bounds from the ski area into the Norse Peak Wilderness. When they discovered they were lost, they followed the Morse Creek drainage about 3 miles down to Highway 410, which is closed for the winter.
They skied and snowboarded 6 miles to Chinook Pass and another 3 to Cayuse Pass, where they hit Highway 123, said Uwe Nehring, acting chief ranger at Mount Rainier.
The two men said they asked a passing motorist for directions and were told it was about 5 miles back to Crystal. Although it was getting dark, they figured they could hike to the ski area and their car and get home.
“We definitely wouldn’t have gone if it wasn’t for the 5-mile estimation,” Cameron told KING-TV.
But instead of heading up Highway 123 to Crystal, they turned left, heading in exactly the wrong direction.
Nehring, the Mount Rainier ranger, said that in summer, signs would have shown the way to Crystal Mountain. But signs were removed at the start of winter so they wouldn’t be destroyed by snow or snow-removal equipment.
“There probably weren’t any signs to tell them which way to go,” he said.
When the two skiers didn’t return home to Seattle by 9 p.m., their girlfriends reported them missing. Pierce County Search and Rescue started looking for them early Friday. Ski Patrol members found their empty car in the Crystal Mountain parking lot.
Searchers found tracks leading out of the ski area and down Morse Creek into Yakima County. The Yakima County sheriff’s search-and-rescue unit joined the hunt on snowmobiles.
Nehring said the pair had hiked for an additional 13 miles through the night, Mielcarek wearing ski boots, Cameron in snowboard boots.
“It couldn’t have been too pleasant,” Nehring said. “Fortunately they were both in pretty good shape.”
By the time their overnight trek ended, they had re-entered Pierce County and then crossed into Lewis County, near the southeast edge of the national park.
As the dark hours crawled by in New York with no word of their son, Mielcarek’s parents booked airplane tickets to Seattle.
His mother said she calmed herself by thinking about all her son’s experience, how he’d worked for five years at a ski resort in Stowe, Vt., how he skied some 85 days each season, how he often worked nights driving snow-making and grooming machines.
When Mielcarek called his parents about 3 p.m. their time, he said his feet were blistered but that otherwise he was OK.
His parents saw their son from the Crystal Mountain parking lot in a TV interview via the Internet.
His father said, “You could see him, his shyness, his quietness.”
“He walked all night,” his mother said.
Looks like the weather has slowed down a bit, mostly packed powder in the Rockies. Still, most places have a decent base now. For those of you looking into places close to Denver, Loveland and Winter Park got 12 to 17 inches over the past few days. Here’s the weekly Rocky Mountain ski reports:
New Mexico: http://www.skireport.com/newmexico/
Had a friend send me this movie trailer. Looks pretty interesting. Check out the trailer, and then check out the movie.
In addition to climbing all of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks, he’s climbed several hundred peaks over 13,000 feet, every North American peak over 16,000 feet and the fabled “Seven Summits,” the high points of the world’s seven continents. Yep, that would include Everest, back in 1983, before guiding companies turned the world’s highest peak into a conga-line of well-to-do adventurers.
Here’s the link. I like his insights.