Thursday, October 30, 2008

Review Matchstick Productions Claim

For the last 3 years I've attended the annual stop of Matchstick Productions when they come through town. I've found their films to be some of the most entertaining on a consistent basis. The shots are always amazing. The locales always add to the fun. The humor they've interjected to the movie is always appreciated. This year's film, Claim was highly anticipated by me.

Once again, the venue they selected this year was awful. The sound system didn't help either, it had an overly tinny sound to everything making it difficult to hear the voice over portions. But more importantly, I found the film to be... eh. There were some great shots and the film certainly opens up with an amazing landing. But after that, it just kind of fell apart to me. I think the big reason for this was the mix of HD and non-HD film footage.

All the shots in HD had this effect of appearing fake on the projected screen because the resolution looked too good. When moving from a close in zoom on standard film to an HD long shot, it just felt off.

It felt good to see Saucer Boy back though.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Arizona SnowBowl

Received the latest edition of Skiing Magazine and flipped through the pages.  I'm still not sure how/why I get the magazine, but whatever the reason it still makes an awesome bathroom reader.  Flipping through the pages I found an article on the Arizona Snowbowl debates that Justin at Ski-blog has been covering pretty extensively.  While the article doesn't appear to be online (Skiing Magazine's online version is, well, awful to non-existent), it does state that the courts have finally sided with SnowBowl to allow the use of reclaimed water for snow making.  

I'm not sure if the article went to print before or after the Oct 9th posting from Justin (here), but it does sound positive.

(EDIT: fixing the link to Justin's Oct 9th post.  Blogger still doesn't like Track backs it seems)

Economic Slow Down Part 2

In a previous post, Economic Slow Down, I spoke about the impact of the economy on the destination versus local resort questions.  

It seems that CNN has also picked up on this vibe recently, with the "Ski resorts hope plenty of snow beats weak economy" article.  Interestingly enough they mention a few smaller resorts (Monarch and Mission Ridge) and what they are doing to help remove the pressures for locals.

What I have yet to see though is mention of who has the most expensive single day ticket.  In years (2?) gone past this was bragged about as a mark of pride by resorts.  I see no mention of it anywhere this season.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Abasin open

The WROD is now open for your riding pleasure. How is that for some October turns?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ski Patrol on TruTV

While surfing around today on the TheFutonCritic, I came across an entry for a show titled "Ski Patrol". Out of curiosity, I went and found the website, watched the online video clips, and am a little concerned about the show.

Already there seems to be a strong focus on avalanche patrolling, and the dangers of avalanches. While these do exist in bounds, I certainly hope they show the early hours rides up in the snocat to set off charges setting the stage for no such problem later. Most of the details seem to suggest the show is filmed primarily in Crystal Mountain Washington, but a few side posts state Blue Mountain in Pennsylvania. Having skied both (Blue more than Crystal), I think the show is going to (at the very least) show the drastic difference between resort injuries and coastal skiing in general.

From the conversations on the TruTV boards, it appears the pilot was shot at Mt Bachelor in Oregon (wonder if we'll get to see that). The shooting of Blue Mountain may be limited to the NSP Nationals conference, it doesn't seem terribly clear from the show listing. There are claims of things being overdramatized already on the forums. I'll most likely check out the first episodes but I'm not sure after that.

Looks like the first episode is Oct 20th, so if you're curious to see last season re-capped for you. Now is your chance.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Economic Slow Down

Like most folks in this world, I've been watching the stock markets and their current roller coaster of a ride. I've got some money invested in stocks and have felt the pain of losing a significant portion to the giant suck that has appeared in a very short period of time. (Note: This doesn't mean it hasn't been building, it just means the reaction hasn't been seen until recently.) So I did what I always do when the world seems to be too overwhelming, I went to look at the new crop of equipment for the season.

Since I bother these guys a lot, they all know me pretty well. I spent a little time in the shop helping with the growing number of eager snow fanatics who have sent their gear for a tune up. The interesting part was really listening to some of the conversations that erupted with customers regarding life as well. Several discussions turned back to what we expected this winter to be like for us (FYI we always expect it to be amazing, especially when our livelihood depends upon it).

Most of the customers stated that they were thinking of pairing back their season for financial reasons. Destination resorts seemed to be big losers, with the following reasons:
  1. Cost of airline tickets has gone up significantly
  2. Cost of flying with gear has gone up
  3. Most resorts have pushed their pass prices up again
  4. Their stock portfolios have sunk radically
Which brought a renewed interest in the local resorts. Several folks were asking if it was worth buying a season pass, and just driving up. How long the snow stays fresh, etc. It's been interesting. Could this year see the rise/return of the local resort vs the destination resort?

I'm conflicted on this one. On one hand, having a larger money flow in for classes would be a nice change (I currently just brake even for teaching, which is why I have two jobs). On the other hand, it will mean larger crowds, and less fresh snow for me. Tough call.

As an aside, most of those mentioning #4 as their primary reason for skipping their trip(s) were shocked to hear our responses. Several of us have been playing the stock market for awhile and have invested heavily. Two of the guys in the shop are working there because they've already made their millions and now want to do something fun and rewarding. It's was fun to break people's perceptions of 20/30 somethings with a ski job not knowing anything about stocks.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Public Service Announcement

Found this posting on one of the boards today and thought I'd pass it along:

Disabled Sports USA Far West, located at Alpine Meadows Resort, is looking for volunteers to help teach people with disabilities learn how to downhill ski and snowboard. You must be a strong intermediate skier/boarder (or above) and have a desire to share the “mountain experience” with our students. Mandatory training is provided. Lift tickets are provided on your volunteer day. Call Vanessa at 530•581•4161 x203 for more information or visit to view, download and print a volunteer application. Thanks!

Those of you looking for a place to teach your adaptive knowledge might find this good.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Gaper Day 2008

Looks like the full trailer is up for Gaper Day 2008.   Go check it out, well worth the laugh, even if the first part is a little confusing.