Resort Report: Ski bum prez, Alpine & Squaw, A-Basin, lost skier & more

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman has thrown his hat into the ring as a candidate for the Republican Party presidential nomination, doubling the number of former ski bums vying for the honor. While ESPN reports on rumors of a merger between Alpine Meadows and Squaw, a skier searches for his missing brother at Crystal, and much more in this week's Resort Report.

Another former Rocky Mountain governor and self-described ski bum is joining the race for the Republican Party presidential nomination. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who recently served as ambassador to China for President Barack Obama, announced June 14 that in 2012 he would like the opportunity to take the POTUS title from his former boss. One of Huntsman's first jobs was working as a ski tech in Utah, and while governor he helped to attract many ski companies to the state. He joins an expanding Republican field that also includes former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson. Johnson, who was on the New Mexico ski team in college, keeps a home in Taos, and has built his national reputation as a strong supporter of civil liberties and marijuana legalization.

ESPN reports ‘No’ on rumors of Squaw/Alpine Meadows merger

Jeremy Benson looks into the rumor of a Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows merger on the ESPN wesbite, ultimately finding out that if something is happening, no one is telling him. Following up on rumors that a merger is imminent (quoting an unnamed source, wrote that a letter of intent between the two parties has already been signed), Benson was told those rumors “are simply incorrect.” Troy Caldwell, who owns the 460-acre property between the two resorts told Benson, “If there is something going on, they haven’t involved me.” Read the whole story here.

Fireworks and snow? A-Basin to decide this weekend

Arapahoe Basin officials will decide June 18, whether to keep the ski resort open until July 4. The ski area has been opening Friday through Sunday since ending daily ski operations June 5, and will decide if the quality of the snow, and the crowds will warrant staying open. The area still had a 62-inch base at press time. A-Basin most recently offered July 4th turns in 1997. 

Brother seeks help finding skier missing since March

Paul Melby has been missing since March 1, and is presumed to have suffocated in treewell somewhere on Washington State’s Crystal Mountain. His brother Matt is hoping that the spring melt may have uncovered Paul’s body and is looking for volunteers to help him search for his brother’s remains June 25-26. On the website, he posts that “I am hoping to get a good turn out of intermediate to advanced skiers on the hill June 25th and 26th. John and Kim Kircher (owners of Crystal) have been kind enough to take care of the expense of getting people to the top of the Mountain and I am gratefull (sic) for them. we will be serving lunch on saturday and a salmon barbecue saturday night. Please contact Matt Melby (”

Number of factors in ski lift accident

The Christmas holiday lift collapse at Sugarloaf ski resort on Dec. 28, 2010, was the result of “deropement, interactions involving mechanical components, the environment and human factors,” according to a report from the Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation. Eight people were sent to the hospital as a result of the accident, and the area is replacing the Spillway lift on which the accident occurred with a new $3 million lift for next season.

In other news…

Argentina’s Bariloche ski area will open this weekend after fresh powder storms covered up the layer of ash that had been covering the slopes as a result of the eruption of Puyehue volcano…Sugarbush Resort’s updated mountain bike trail system will open June 24 with 25 miles of “gravity-fed” trails, including double track, single track, banked corners, wooden boardwalks, and a growing base area terrain park…Vail Resorts will host the 2012 TBEX North America conference, the world's largest annual gathering of travel bloggers, writers, and content creators from June 15-17, 2012…And Jeret “Speedy” Peterson, Silver Medalist in the men’s freestyle skiing event at Vancouver’s 2010 Winter Olympic Games, has signed on with the Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee as 2011-12 spokesperson for the region’s famed Spanish Sweets onions.

--Peter Kray

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Squaw Valley to merge with Alpine Meadows

The rumor that has been percolating in the resort industry all summer was finally confirmed on Sept. 27, 2011, as Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows Ski Resort announced that the two North Lake Tahoe ski resorts “have agreed to combine operations.” The two areas will be owned and more


Resort Report: Squaw sold, smoke-free Pico, Snowbird hits 100 & more

Denver-based KSL Capital Partners said on Nov. 23 it has entered into an agreement to acquire all of the shares of The Squaw Valley Development Company, which includes the ski area, the Village at Squaw Valley and related real estate holdings. The transaction is expected to more


Resort Report: Ski hill fires, July 4th ski-off, late legends and much more

New Mexico’s ski areas are 3-0 so far this summer in avoiding fiery catastrophe. As of June 28, 2011, the Las Conchas Fire, which consumed 60,000 acres of forest in just 48 hours, and resulted in the evacuation of the town of Los Alamos, had only resulted in spot fires at nearby more


Resort Report: Killington, Breck’s 50th, Avy School & Squaw

Vermont’s Killington Resort will replace K-1 Lodge’s Superstar Pub with a new deck and Meissl Umbrella Bar, named the “Roaring Brook Umbrella Bar.” The pub was knocked from its foundation by the flooded Roaring Brook during Hurricane Irene, and partially collapsed. The adjoining more


Resort Report: Crystal record, RIP Dick Reuter, NH upgrade, & more

Crystal Mountain Washington’s record ski season will continue for one final day as the area opens for skiing again on July 16, 2011. Marketing Director Tiana Enger told SNEWS® that coverage is getting pretty thin, but there are enough interested skiers to make one more day of it. more


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 more


Resort Report: ski visits, avalanches, investments and a roller coaster

It’s not quite time to predict a record season, but several resorts set records over the Martin Luther King weekend, while others did their best in the face of hiccups provided by Mother Nature, including rain in the Northwest. “It’s still too early to make a call about setting more


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 more


Resort Report: Surprise Powderhorn purchase, Stone out at CB and more

There was some serious ski industry muscle behind the purchase of Southwest Colorado’s little Powderhorn Ski Area on Aug. 4, 2011. The area, which had been put up for auction, was sold to former Vail Resorts executive Andy Daly and his new partners Ken and Tom Gart for $1.4 more