Well, guys and gals, we are officially halfway done with the season, so if you haven't landed this season's highlight trick yet, it's time to get going! Luckily you'll have plenty of options to ski or ride in the Midwest as we are now officially 100% open. On top of that - most resorts across the Midwest have all of their terrain open, including moguls fields, which have been spotted at Welch Village and Buck Hill.
Weather Is Trending Cold
What isn't hot is the weather. The past couple of weeks has been pretty dam cold - in fact, so cold that some ski areas have even had to close due to the colder temps. The extended forecast looks like we will remain on the colder side of things over the next ten days. That said, make sure to bundle up before you get out there and always check in with resorts to make sure they're open before you go.
Alex Hall Spins Into The Future
The X-Games were held this past weekend, and there's only one thing you need to know, and that's Alex Hall is an absolute beast. The term future spin has been around the industry for some time, basically meaning a skier spins more rotation than the current year. Still, we've never actually seen one done in competition. But that changed this past weekend.
Alex Hall was able to pull off a super clean 2160, which is six complete rotations making it a proper future spin. Crazy, and this begs the question: Will we see this trick pulled out by Alex during the Olympics? I guess we are going to have to wait and see.
X-Games Could Be Soon Under New Ownership
And Speaking of the X-Games, it has been reported that Disney is working on a deal to sell the extreme sports event to an investment group. The move comes as ESPN and Disney are looking to evaluate their cable services as streaming traffic rises.
The Investment group looking to purchase the X-Games is no stranger to the sports industry as they currently have investments with The Suns, McLaren, StubHub, & several Soccer teams. Overall I think this will be a good move for the X-Games as they have become a little stale over the years, and bringing some new blood in will re-energize the event.
A Granite Peak Legend
Granite Peak posted an excellent video from one of their local legend's Les Schwartz. Les has been skiing at Granite Peak for over 70 years! A couple of years ago, I had the chance to chat with Les, and we spent over three hours swapping skiing stories with him. Les is such a great guy and a prime example of what makes all of our hills so special, the people who ski them.
Benny Milan: Made In The Midwest
Speaking of special Midwesterners, Benny Milam and Redbull Snow posted a great video highlighting Benny's start as a snowboarder right here in Minnesota. It is worth a watch - click here to view the full video.
Buck Hill Could Offer Uphill Access
Buck Hill is seeking some feedback on possibly adding uphill access hours to their operation. Uphill Access would allow skiers and riders to skin or split board up the hill before standard lift hours and could even lead to classes, instruction, or even just groups getting together before starting their day to get a workout in.
We have seen some resorts in the Midwest allow this, but typically it's just a few locals, and it's not very publicized. These are just the early stages, and they are gathering some interest. Still, I think it would be awesome to have an option like this at more of our local resorts, especially using it as an educational tool to introduce someone to that element of our sport. So if you are interested or have any feedback, click here to fill out that survey.
Midwest Tele Fest
Speaking of freeing the heel, The Midwest Tele fest is only a couple of weeks away. This festival is a yearly event at the Porkies and is always a lot of fun. It includes their iconic Uphill-Downhill race, chili cookoff, acoustic jam, and much more.
Freeheel Life and Telemarkdown will also be on-site offering up some demos, so if you're a telemark skier or are looking to become one, you will want to mark your calendar because you won't want to miss this event.
Boyne Hosting Crazy Big Air Event
Another event that you won't want to miss if you're a Michigander is the Wicked Air and Apres at Boyne Mountain on February 26th. This big air event is sponsored by Sam Adams and combines some of the best skiers and riders alongside 3D projection mapping, lighting fireworks, and of course, beer.
Crystal Mountain Icon Passes Away
Unfortunately, we have some sad news to share coming from Crystal Mountain in Michigan. Keith Van Duzen, Crystal Mountain's first mountain manager, passed away at the age of 92.
Keith was one of the original founders of Buck Hills Ski Area - which was Crystal Mountains' original name. Keith was a crucial part of making Crystal what it is today, and this week, Cyrstal honored Keith by laying a wreath at Eden Hill run, which was named after the road he lived on.
Our deepest condolences and thank you, Keith, for all you have done for Crystal Mountain and the Midwest ski scene.
Midwesterners In The Olympics
The US Olympic team was officially announced this week for the 2022 winter Olympics, and we have quite a few Midwest members on both the skiing and snowboarding teams. Paula Moltzan, Nick Goepper, Nick Baumgartner, and Courtney Rummel.
The Skiing and Snowboarding events kick off next Thursday, February 3rd, and click here to view the Olympic schedule.
The Midwest Mogul Tour
Speaking of Thursday, February 3rd, Midwestskiers.com will be making a major announcement that day regarding the Midwest Mogul Tour. So make sure you keep an eye on our pages late next week.
Staff Shortages Are Still Here
And I want to wrap up with just a friendly reminder and something that we touched on in the last episode and that resorts are still working through being short staff this season. And this is especially true with Covid taking a toll on the workforce.
That said, over the next few weeks, you may see resorts begin shift services to maintain regular hours and lift operations, so take a few extra minutes to check in with your resort before arriving for the day.
If possible, make sure to come prepared and do everything you can to streamline the process. And lastly, be patient with resorts as they work through these challenges.
But there you have it, your fix of Midwest ski news from the past couple of weeks. If you want to check out last week's episode, we will drop a link below. But until next time, I hope all of you have a great week, pray for snow, and I'll see you guys out there!