Resort Report: Bachelor development, patroller death & media coverage

It looks like the U.S. Forest Service may be opening up to more on-hill improvement discussions given its recent thumbs-up on Mt. Bachelor's Master Development Plan. But as SNEWS finds out, it could still be awhile before anyone starts building. That and more in this week's Resort Report.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

In a positive action for potential ski area planning in the Northwest, Mt. Bachelor has received notification from the Deschutes National Forest of official acceptance by the U.S. Forest Service of the resort’s updated Master Development Plan (MDP).

While no project or improvement described in the MDP has been authorized or approved by the USFS at this time, the move does signal a significant milestone for Park City-based Powdr Corp.’s Northwest holding. Bachelor administrators have been actively formulating and evaluating the MDP with the Forest Service and other local and state agencies, and key stakeholder groups including local business and environmental leaders since 2008. It is Mt. Bachelor’s first full master plan update since its original MDP was approved by the Forest Service in 1981.

The primary components of the plan include a new lift and ski trails east of the Rainbow Chair, a new base lodge, parking lot, learning area with multiple carpet-conveyor lifts and Kids Adventure Zone at the Sunrise base area, a new Nordic trail, and additional summer amenities such as downhill mountain biking served by the Pine Marten Express.

“Many master plan concepts have been developed over the years for Mt. Bachelor,” said Dave Rathbun, president and general manager of Mt. Bachelor. “The thorough review and public comment process we followed with our team, the Forest Service and many, many key users and stakeholders over the last two-and-a-half years resulted in the creation of a thoughtful and considerate plan for the future. As excited as we are today about the Forest Service accepting the plan, we know the process has only just begun.”

From this point forward, Mt. Bachelor’s MDP is considered by the Forest Service as a proposal for the actions and projects outlined in the plan. Prior to receiving approval or authorization, each proposed action is required to undergo environmental analysis as prescribed by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

The USFS will manage the NEPA process moving forward, including additional public comment periods and preparation of all documents. Under a third-party contract, the USFS and Mt. Bachelor have mutually agreed to retain Cirrus Ecological Solutions of Logan, Utah, to assist in the NEPA process. Cirrus has performed similar duties for other ski area operators and national forests throughout the west.

A-Basin mourns loss of long time ski patroller

Arapahoe Basin's snow safety director Leif Borgeson passed away on Feb. 8, 2011, while hiking the ridge at the Aspen Highlands Bowl. He collapsed after the hike and was immediately attended to by Aspen Highlands patrol, but was unable to be resuscitated.

Borgeson worked at Arapahoe Basin starting in 1990 joining the ski patrol after patrolling at Keystone for several years. He worked in various capacities including medical coordinator, paramedic, snow safety supervisor and, most recently, as snow safety director. He was instrumental in creating Arapahoe Basin’s avalanche procedures and protocols and recognized nationally for his work on the study of avalanches in particular wet-slab avalanches. Between 2001 and 2004, Borgeson worked for the National Ski Patrol as its training director. Before joining Keystone in the 1980s, Borgeson worked as a patroller in Arizona Snow Bowl and as a Hot Shot forest firefighter in Flagstaff, Ariz.

He is survived by his wife, Denise Schmidt-Borgeson, two sons, Ian and Aidan Borgeson, his parents and his brother.

How the ski industry is covered – Death and Powder

Anyone in the ski industry knows that death and powder get more coverage than anything else. Accidents and storm alerts seem to get the breaking news push more than any celebrity sighting and groundbreaking chairlift. So much so that the headline, "Massive storm triggers deadly avalanches," would be considered a home run by any editor in the mainstream press. And truth be told, every one of us would click on that headline ourselves.

But one of the conversations we hope to continue on the WinterSports Channel is how the industry is covered -- in terms of what media is most effective, and also in terms of what kinds of stories generate the most interest, whether that’s in regard to new chairlifts, celebrities on the slope or on-slope deaths. If you have a headline or story angle you would like to share, feel free to send it to pkray@snewsnet.com. Likewise with any issues or trends you think are getting way too much coverage, or not nearly enough.

Still in the news this week, is the recent scary spate of snowboarder deaths. Unfortunately, 12 snowboarders have died on the slopes over the past month in the western United States, almost all teenaged boys or young men, and almost all in out-of-bounds areas. In California, where five of the deaths occurred, the San Francisco Chronicle is taking a hard look at the string of tragedies. The newspaper reprinted its own "Death on the Slopes" piece by staffer Tom Stienstra, which quotes California Ski Industry Association executive director Bob Roberts as saying, "The accidents are happening because people are out there off the runs, doing their thing in the trees."

You can check out the story here: www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/ski/detail?entry_id=82643

The question is whether you think this is a sad anomaly occurring in the midst of an otherwise above average season, or a scary new trend that we should all be discussing. We would love to share your thoughts by clicking on the SNEWS Chat link below.

--Peter Kray

Since late 2010, veteran journalist Peter Kray joined the SNEWS team and is now editor of the new SNEWS WinterSports channel. We trust you are enjoying the full offering of WinterSports news. Be sure to email your friends and let them know the best WinterSports news has arrived -- just in time for the winter season. Got WinterSports news? Send your WinterSports news to Kray at pkray@snewsnet.com. Subscribers can also post WinterSports news releases directly to the SNEWS website. Email us at snewsbox@snewsnet.com to learn about posting your own news releases, or for any other questions or comments. We love to hear from our readers!

Related

MtBachelor_thumb.jpg

Master plan approval great for Bachelor, but not a ‘precedent’

Mt. Bachelor received U.S. Forest Service approval of its master plan on Feb. 9, 2011, and could potentially start work on a new chairlift, ski trails or base lodge as early as 2013. But Forest Service officials are quick to caution that Bachelor’s green light isn’t a sign for ...read more

Mount-Snow_Thumb_030811.jpg

Resort Report: Naked skiing plus other top resort stories from the week

>> Eldora’s Master Plan approved Eldora Mountain Resort’s 2011 Master Plan has been formally accepted by the U.S. Forest Service. Along with the approval of Mt. Bachelor’s Master Plan in February of 2011, the USFS has now given its blessing to two significant ski area development ...read more

RR_anton_061311.jpg

Resort Report: World Cup, owner on the run, plug-in cars & fire!

Five U.S. resorts were confirmed as sites of 2011-12 International Ski Federation (FIS) World Cup ski and snowboarding events. Aspen, Beaver Creek and Telluride, CO, along with Deer Valley Resort in Utah and Lake Placid, NY highlight the calendar announced by the FIS after its ...read more

Monarch_MDP_thumb_060311.jpg

Resort Report: Wildfires, Monarch, Bellayre, Vail & the Joplin tornado

A wildfire near the ski resort of Sipapu, N.M., was raging out of control, with zero containment at press time on Aug., 2, 2011. By noon the fire had grown to more than 1,200 acres, and a monastery in the region was evacuated, with more evacuations likely. New Mexico is off to ...read more

Santa_fe_fire_thumb_062111.jpg

Resort Report: More fires, July 4 openings and conservation clashes

The Santa Fe Ski Basin remains unscathed by a massive wildfire burning in the Pecos Wilderness about two miles north of the New Mexico ski area. The Pacheco Fire, which began around 1 p.m. on June 18, 2011, has scorched more than 4,000 acres of forest in just three days. Whipped ...read more

Las_Vegas_thumb_072011.jpg

Resort Report: Summer ski bill, Las Vegas boom and Eddie the Eagle

A bill to OK summer activities on ski areas that sit on U.S. Forest Service Land -- many of which already actively promote summer use for everything from zip-lining to mountain biking -- was endorsed for approval by the Senate Energy Committee on July 15, 2011. The Ski Area ...read more

Aspen_spring_thumb_052311.jpg

Resort Report: Season re-start, ski team, Spokane & beetle thinning

Just as ski areas in Australia and New Zealand are reporting early returns on the start of their 2011 ski season, here in the U.S. it almost seems as if the ski season is starting again. Alpine meadows recently reported plans to turn the chairs back on for Independence Day ...read more

Attitash_Summersnow_072611.jpg

Resort Report: Improvements, another resort record and summer snow

With all of the snow finally melting in the Rockies, the short window for on-mountain improvements has opened and lots of big name areas are stepping up their game on the slopes. Big Sky Resort is expanding its gladed tree runs by adding five new ski trials with 20-plus acres of ...read more

4th_resort_thumb_070611.jpg

Resort Report: 4th stoke, Tamarack repo, Tahoe stats and train war

In bikinis, draped in flags, and dressed up in all sorts of patriotic costumes, from Squaw Valley to Snowbird to Crystal Mountain, thousands of Fourth of July skiers celebrated the continuation of an incredible season in the U.S. Squaw, which was open on the 4th for the second ...read more