#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Lesson

The #DeerValleySummer is filled with more adventures than I could have ever imagined. Friends and family ask me all of the time, “What do you do when the ski season is over?” Lift-served mountain biking, hiking, concerts, standup paddleboarding, the list goes on and on. The question isn’t what do I do, it’s how do I find time to do it all?

Before I started working at Deer Valley, I didn’t know you could take a mountain bike lesson. I soon became aware that Deer Valley Resort’s Bike School offers knowledgeable mountain bike instructors who will teach you the proper techniques to help you ride safely and confidently, while navigating the nearly 70 miles of trails at Deer Valley Resort.

I signed up for a mountain bike lesson so I could learn the ropes of downhill mountain biking. Unlike skiing, I had zero experience in mountain biking, unless you count riding my bike around the neighborhood as a child. I knew that if the instructors in the Ski School could turn me into a skier, then the Bike School could turn me into a mountain biker.

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Not having a mountain bike myself, I rented one from the mountain bike rental shop in Deer Valley Resort’s Snow Park Lodge. The rental shop also made sure I had a helmet, elbow pads and shin guards. Going into the lesson, I was very nervous; after leaving the rental shop, I felt prepared to take on the mountain. I met my bike instructor, Doug Gormley, and we made our way outside to start the lesson.

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Doug showed me the basic braking functions of the bike as well as the gears and how to properly shift. He taught me a trick that I used all day; easy or lower gears, use your thumb and harder or higher gears, use your index finger. I was very surprised how light the bike was and the incredible amount of spring in the shocks.

We went over the four basic riding fundamentals I would need for downhill mountain biking; balance in an athletic position, look ahead, smooth braking and controlled momentum. 20140815_101753

Doug asked if I played on my bike as a child. He said that people who have experience on a bike, even if it’s just jumping off curbs, have a huge advantage when it comes to mountain biking. This helped me get into the balanced athletic position or “platform” as Doug called it. Doug emphasized that I needed to be standing on the bike with both pedals even and my weight balanced. Since this was downhill mountain biking, leaning back was encouraged and being light on the handlebars to avoid going over them.

Looking ahead was the next lesson in my biking education. “Don’t look down, you need to see what’s coming up, not what you’re on. Trust your vision and your body to react.” ,Doug stressed. At first this was the most difficult thing for me to do. I wanted to see what I was rolling over. I soon realized that I needed to see what to prepare for and be looking ahead to properly position myself for the upcoming obstacle.

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Smooth braking was the third fundamental Doug taught me before we made our way to the mountain. I learned how to use the front and rear brakes evenly. I had never been on a bike with hydraulic, disc brakes. These were not the same brakes on my 1998 bike I rode around Taylorsville as an 11 year old. I could tell that too much front brake would cause you to fly over the handlebars. Doug showed me how to place my hands so that my index fingers were on the brakes at all times near the end of the handles. This allowed me to evenly brake and not use one more than the other.

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The last of the four fundamentals was learning how to control my momentum. We practiced in the parking lot going down stairs and hills, controlling my momentum, not too fast and not too slow. A consistent motion all the way down was the goal. Doug stressed going into turns slower with a consistent speed and accelerating out of the turn when I felt comfortable to do so. By this time, I was ready to take on the first trail which was Naildriver, Deer Valley’s easiest downhill mountain bike trail on Bald Mountain.

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After riding up Silver Lake Express chairlift, we rode Sterling Express to the top of Bald Mountain. We stopped at the beginning of the trail for a few last-minute pointers and we went over the four fundamentals again. I was so excited; being scared in the rental shop beforehand felt like a lifetime ago. After the fundamentals, I honestly can’t remember what Doug said. I’m pretty sure it was just “follow me.”

We headed down Naildriver trail, a smooth single track. The views of the Jordanelle Reservoir and the Heber Valley were breathtaking. I followed close behind Doug and felt at ease on the mountain bike. I tried imitating Doug’s route. Little jumps in the trail made for fast learning experiences. If I saw Doug run over a huge rock, I then knew that the mountain bike I was on could handle it as well. I just needed to remember the fundamentals and stay loose.
20140815_121331 (1)Like my first ski lesson, we would stop and talk at certain spots on the trail. Doug gave me pointers and praise along the way. During one of the stops, I learned to lean to steer. The key to this was to lean your bike, not your body. Doug showed me how to make long arm turns and turns with one pedal up and one down. I tried to soak up the 26 years of mountain biking knowledge Doug was sharing with me like a sponge.

We made our way down Bald Mountain and to the end of Naildriver trail. I was surprised at how many different muscles I used navigating down the mountain. The other person in my lesson was wearing a heart rate monitor. It said she burned 800 calories in the short time we had been in the lesson. This was easily the most fun exercise I had ever done. After a few more turning lessons, I said goodbye to Doug and my lesson partner at the bottom of Sterling Express chairlift.

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I had the option to download on Silver Lake Express chairlift or take Tour Des Homes trail down to the Snow Park Lodge. This trail was a lot different than the first one I had been on. Lots of loose gravel and wider trails made for a different experience. It was very cool to see this part of the resort during the summer. Tour Des Homes mountain bike trail follows much of the same trail line as Silver Dollar ski run. This is one of my favorite ski runs, because of the views you see along the way and the homes that line the trail.

I can’t wait to explore more of the fantastic trails Deer Valley Resort has to offer. Have you ever had a mountain bike lesson? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @RyanMayfield or @Deer_Valley.

Want to explore Deer Valley’s variety of trails? Sign up for a guided mountain bike tour led by Deer Valley’s professionally trained instructors. Gain some riding tips while meeting other riders and learning about the mountain and the resort. Participants must be intermediate level and 13 years or older.

For more information on mountain biking or to reserve a space in the Mountain Bike School, please call 435-645-6648 or 888-754-8477.

Things you never thought you could do on a mountain bike

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Your brand new mountain bike is ready to take you on the many exciting trails that Deer Valley Resort has to offer. You may also know the expression, “He who can do the most, can (also) do the least,” and this perfectly applies to this piece of equipment because of its versatility and ruggedness. Today’s mountain bikes feature highly-engineered features, some powerful hydraulic disc brakes and great riding comfort thanks to a full suspension frame. This said, did you even suspect that there was more than one way to enjoy these sturdy and highly technical bikes? I found out by asking some of the experts who work at Deer Valley Resort. In just a few minutes, I was amazed to learn at what a mountain bike can accomplish.

Healing Faster

If you have injured your leg and you’re anxious to get back on your skis in the winter, chances are that your doctor or surgeon will prescribe a strong rehab program involving the use of a bike. Since stationary bikes can be boring after awhile, consider using your mountain bike instead. You don’t need to take it to any expert single track trails though; just ride it on a nearby asphalt or gravel bike path.

Earning a Living

Besides being a professional mountain bike racer, becoming a mountain bike patroler is a neat way to earn a living by using a mountain bike everyday. Patrol work involves a fair amount of trail maintenance activities and you’ll soon find yourself carrying a rake, a pick ax or even a chainsaw while riding. Earning a living this way also applies to the lift operators who, at the end of their shift or the end of the day, can jump on their bikes and ride down the mountain for fun. Policemen in Park City also share in that perk by carrying a service bike on the back of their SUV’s.

Trail Research and Development

New trail ideas generally begin on a map. Very soon however, they must be fine-tuned in their real environment. Most of the time, new trail paths cross obstacles like ski runs, undulating meadows, creek beds, rock formations and forested areas. It often helps a great deal to trace the ideal contours of the trail through that variable terrain by first riding it, before any trail is cut, to uncover the most natural path. On grassy meadows or on ski runs, the bike lays the grass down and works as a fine tracing tool.

Assistant Bike Patrol Manager, Chris Erkkila

Deer Valley Resort’s Assistant Bike Patrol Manager, Chris Erkkila.

Trail Testing

There are moments when it’s time to test a section of a new trail; the builder has to be the guinea pig and test a delicate passage or a tricky area, just like a test pilot would do. On segments of trails that are built around a big rock drop or a succession of large stumps, patrol staff and trail builders will use a bike without a rider. The bike is rolled over the obstacle to make sure that the chainring won’t hit anything. Chris Erkkila, assistant bike partrol manager, says that he uses this technique as a training tool, “When I teach new bike patrollers how to ride on tough terrain, I follow the same procedure and tell them that if the bike clears the obstacle, so can they.”

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Snow Riding

Surprisingly, mountain bikes do quite well on snow. No, we’re not talking about the fat-bikes with gigantic tires that are becoming the new rage in winter, but just your run-of-the-mill mountain bike. They perform well as long as there is fairly good hard-packed snow; you want to look for smooth surfaces and avoid too much tire penetration. Lowering the air pressure helps traction. Of course, when there’s deep snow over some hard pack, the sensation can be one of a kind especially if the snow is some dry, Utah powder. Says Doug Gormley, lead bike instructor, “I have been in a foot of dry, fluffy snow with hard-pack below and the sensation was out of this world.” The Mega Avalanche race in Europe would be another opportunity to test your bike in a group setting and experience mountain biking as a four season sport. Please remember that mountain bikes are not allowed at Deer Valley Resort during the ski season.

The Mega Avalanche race in Europe

The Mega Avalanche race in Europe

Performing tricks

Like any other bicycle, a mountain bike can do wheelies and a variety of tricks. The price to pay is a few more pounds to maneuver, but it’s doable. Wheelies, manuals, bunny hops and the whole panoply of tricks ingrained into BMX culture are totally possible with a mountain bike. Riders can take their “fat tires” on prepared tracks and do some dirt jumping. Most of the time, a bike with only front shocks will suffice and will feel a tad lighter. Besides the added weight, mountain bikes have other limitations. BMX bikes are lighter and tend to soar higher in the air. BMX bikes also have smaller wheels and a shorter wheelbase making them perfectly adapted to the terrain prepared-tracks and dirt jumps, but if you don’t own a BMX, there’s still plenty of fun to be had on your mountain bike.

Going Up and Down Stairs:

I have saved this one for last, because I’ve always been fascinated watching mountain bikers going down stairs without even thinking twice. In fact, I have been told that it’s possible to ride down huge staircases that wind back and forth into corners and zigzag all the way. Yet, as surprisingly as it sounds, the reverse is also true. With proper gearing, climbing stairs is also possible on a bike. You can also use a mountain bike as a trial bike, on which you balance the bike and literally hop the stairs. Doug can do it and he said, “My very first experience was in a building. For stairs, a full-suspension bike is better for both pedaling up the stairs and going down the stairs. A bike without suspension would actually be better for hopping.”

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Upon reading this short overview, you now have a good idea of the amazing capabilities of your mountain bike. What cool things do you do on your mountain bike? Tell us on Twitter @Deer_Valley or in the comments below.

Girl’s Weekend – Ski Rental Makes Life Easy and, in Our Case, Memorable.

What do you pack for your girl’s ski weekend? Well, everything of course! You need bibs and ski jacket or two, under layers for warmth, choices of outfits for dinners out and your après ski boots. My girlfriends from California were so sweet to pack hostess gifts (yeah!), a bottle of my favorite Old Vine Zinfandel and a Barbera from the California wine country.

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Let’s see what else? Girls have to have their hair care products, make up, and skin care goodies. Plenty of fashion accessories are necessary so we can all share when we are getting ready to go out for dinner. Do you think there was much room in their suitcases for ski boots? Not really. As I suspected, their suitcases were completely packed so they had to sit on them to close the zippers!

Knowing this might happen, ahead of time I set them up with ski rentals from Deer Valley’s Ski Rental shop. Who wants so schlep their stuff on the plane and check an extra bag for skis and poles? Besides, their equipment is quite a few years old, and this gave them a chance to try new technology. Bonuses: less stuff to carry, fewer baggage fees and opportunity to test new equipment.

Here is how it went:

Preparation: I made a call to the Deer Valley Rental shop with my friend’s names, ages, height, weight, and ski ability. Then I reserved rentals for them during their stay. Confirmations were emailed back and we were good to go.

Morning of Day 1: Since they were set up and I knew they’d be well taken care of, I dropped them off at Snow Park to get started. “See those guys dressed in green?” I said. “Have them point you to the rental shop and I’ll meet you down there.” Then I parked the car and grabbed the shuttle.

By the time I met up with them, they were already through registration with boots in hand, and were getting their skis and poles. Deer Valley Rental shop wants to get every customer through their rental experience in 5 – 10 minutes so they can get out and enjoy the snow. My girlfriends were floored it was so quick and easy. We headed to the boot warmers and hit Wide West ski run to warm up!

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End of Day 1: We handed our skis and poles to the valet for free overnight storage at Snow Park Lodge. No schlepping boots either; we loved that we could leave the boots with the basket concierge for free overnight storage, too. Boots were placed in the baskets, and off we went.

Morning of Day 2: These girls were antsy to get back out there. They wanted to get in as many runs as possible so we arrived just after the resort opened. My friends quickly put on their matching rental boots, grabbed a basket to store our shoes and we were off. On the stairs, the girls were walking a little funny but I shrugged it off as being a little sore from the long day skiing the day before.

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At the base of the Carpenter chairlift, my 5’2” friend Lynn was really having trouble getting her skis on. I said to her, “Lynn, set your skis sideways on the hill. They are sliding backwards.” She shot me a look that said, “I am not stupid! I know that.” She seemed a little agitated (which is not like her) so I popped out of my skis and went to investigate.

Her boots weren’t clicking into her bindings. It didn’t make any sense since she’d skied on them yesterday. The bindings looked too small. Then 5’7” Heidi couldn’t get her skis on either. Her bindings looked too big.

Einstein here (yeah, that was me) wasn’t connecting the dots either. I said, “Do you have the right skis?” Yep. Heidi’s skis had her name of them and so did Lynn’s. Ok. It’s not the skis. The three of us (normally fairly intelligent people) all deducted that it must be the bindings!

So we take the equipment back to the rental shop to investigate the bindings. We meet up with Deer Valley ski technician Howard Ritter who helps Lynn. He pulls up her information and grabs a boot the same size (then she won’t have to take off her boot – very thoughtful.) He checks the boot and binding. “This fits. Let’s take a look at your boot.” We both look down at the personalized sticker on her boot. It doesn’t match the ski.

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Two stations down, Heidi’s technician is telling her that the boots she has on aren’t hers. Heidi says, “WHAT HAPPENED TO MY BOOTS?” (You might be wondering, “How many skiers does it take to change a light bulb?”)

Gary Wassmer, the rental shop supervisor happens to be standing there. He smiles as he and Howard state the obvious at the exact same time. You and your friend switched boots – you have each other’s boots on.

Lynn and Heidi lock eyes and simultaneously look down at the boots and burst our laughing.

Howard, the voice of reason, says with a huge smile on his face, “How did this girl (pointing to the long skis) fit into this girl’s (pointing to the shorter skis) boots?” Scratching our heads, we wondered how we could have possibly missed this when, (tiny feet) Lynn’s boots went on so easy and (tall) Heidi had a lot of trouble with hers and both could hardly walk up the stairs?

Now all the technicians and other renters are laughing with us. I get this party moving by directing my girlfriends to sit down and switch boots (while snapping photos to embarrass them). They are no longer hobbling and miraculously, their boots lock right into the bindings on their skis. We wave to our new best friends in the rental shop and hit the lift for an amazing day of run after run of Utah powder.

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End of Day 2: I have asked my friends for the tenth time, “now who put their boots on first?” Someone tells me not to bother applying for Mensa anytime soon.

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Despite our “user error,” we have a fantastic experience renting skis and skiing at Deer Valley.

Lessons learned:

Renting equipment is a great hassle-free way to enjoy a ski weekend out of town.

If the shoe fits, wear it. (Check your tag anyways to make sure it’s yours.)

If the shoe doesn’t fit, it’s probably not your shoe. (Check your tag to see whose it is.)

And laugh early and often with your girlfriends. Repeat.

For more information on ski rentals at Deer Valley resort, click here.

Check out more photos from our girls weekend ski trip.

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Deer Valley Resort Launches On-Mountain Interactive Mobile App

Deer Valley Resort has partnered with CarteScape, Inc., a San Diego-based mobile development company, to launch a customized mobile ski app that provides guests with a range of resort navigation, resort services and social media features.

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Available now on both iOS and Android platforms, the Deer Valley® app includes GPS navigation with augmented reality and an interactive map. Users can search runs, lodges, chairlifts and more from the app.

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Users are able to record the statistics of their ski runs, tracking both vertical distance and speed measurements. The beautifully designed app has social media integration, allowing users to share photos and run statistics on Facebook and Twitter. Users can also find friends on the mountain.

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An e-commerce component allows for easy purchase of lift tickets before arriving at the mountain and allows skiers to contact Ski Patrol with the touch of a button.

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“Deer Valley Resort makes guest service its top priority, which is why we are constantly looking for the best ways to provide guests with convenient and up-to-date technological offerings,” said Bob Wheaton, president and general manager of Deer Valley Resort.

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Features and enhancements will be released though upgrades throughout the season. For more information on the Deer Valley ski app, visit the resort’s website at deervalley.com/app

Give your Skiing the Boot

I’ve been having a lot of conversations about boots, of late. It’s happened with enough frequency, that I’m taking to my soapbox for a Public Service Announcement. Get thee to the boot-fitter, stat.

I know, you and I may not know each other. But in my un-scientific sampling of friends, I’m noticing a trend. Nobody’s skiing comfortably in their boots. And, in the interest of full disclosure, I was one of those folks for a few weeks.

Remember, a couple of years ago when I found Boot Nirvana?

Well, I realized, a couple of weeks ago, that Nirvana had left the building. I found myself committing all manner of cardinal boot sins. Like clamping down my buckles, for instance. Bad skier. Baaaaad.

Then, there were signs that I should heed the warning my boots were sending me—in the form of achy joints after skiing (doesn’t happen when my boots are fitted properly) and knees that felt “tweaked,” for extra measure.

I heard instructors telling tales of students showing up in tears because their boots were ill-fitted and causing them extreme pain.

I skied with a friend who was skiing in boots that, to my non-professional eye, were at least two sizes too big. And her husband, who was skiing with 99 percent of his lower-body wardrobe tucked into the cuff of his boot. (“Repeat after me,” Jeff scolded, gently. “Nothing goes inside the boot except your sock.”)  I’d dismiss this as a rookie error, but another friend, who’s a lifelong skier, was making the same mistake.

Then, a girlfriend injured her ankle, skiing at another resort. It was a really bad sprain—she’s off the hill for at least a few weeks. “I think my boots are kind of loose,” she admitted. She’s an expert skier. She should know better. But, she’s also a parent, and in the habit of deferring nuisance tasks like gear maintenance in favor of other tasks related to her kid’s skiing safety gear, etc. I get it.

Finally, after all that, I marched myself in to see “my” Boot Fitting Dude at Jans. No sooner had I put down my boot bag than he was extricating the boots from it, spiriting them off to the shop in the back and asking me questions as he went. “Mm hmm, mmhmm,” He nodded his assent to my “complaints,” and then disappeared. Moments later, he was back. We were trying the boots on. There were some minor tweaks. My awesome fit was restored. It took—wait for it—fifteen minutes.

Even if you think your boots are fine, do yourself a favor and spend fifteen minutes with a boot fitter. The good ones (and there are a lot of them in this town) are never going to try to sell you on a new boot if you don’t, honestly, need one. They’ll just fix you up and get you back on the hill. You’re welcome.

Deer Valley’s Invisible Safety Net: Part Four

Doctor Peter Taillac and Ski Patrol’s Hylton Early have told us how to make the best of your Deer Valley ski vacation. Today, they will conclude their great tips series by discussing safety issues that are of concern to our most advanced skiers and learn how to stay safe under most weather and snow conditions!

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JF: Can you tell us about avalanche control and snow safety in general?

Hylton Early: These are issues that we take extremely seriously at Deer Valley. We have a snow safety program that includes four rescue dogs that are specifically trained for avalanche rescue both at Deer Valley and out in the back country as well. We do conduct explosive control work to make sure that the runs are safe. That doesn’t mean it’s a guarantee that they will be absolutely safe as avalanches are an inherent risk of skiing, and it’s important to keep this fact in mind.

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JF: Is Ski Patrol available for on-hill, last minute updates?

Hylton Early: Yes, you can always check-in with Ski Patrol at the top of Bald Mountain or the top of Empire before you head into areas that could be avalanche-prone. This way, you will also get the latest reports because the Ski Patrol staff would have been there early on and will able to tell you where the safe lines and the best places to ski are. If you’re not quite sure about what to take along, the Ski Patrol is available to remind you about the necessary equipment you might need to stay safe out there.

JF: What about ropes line and closed signs?

Hylton Early: You always want to respect these. They’re in place for a reason. Just like anybody else, we want to open runs as fast as we can but we want to make sure that they are safe before opening them to skiers!

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JF: Any advice for the lone skier?

Hylton Early: It’s very important to let someone else know where you’re going and to have a plan of a place to meet up. In today’s cell phone culture, it’s easy to get complacent, but your battery can die or your phone can fall out of your pocket, so it’s always good to have a fail-safe meeting point, like meet for lunch at a certain lodge. If you are skiing some expert terrain, I would really recommend that you always ski with a partner, so if you were to get injured, this buddy can provide aid to you and let the Ski Patrol know where you are.

JF: How can skiers reach Ski Patrol?

Hylton Early: The Ski Patrol number 435-645-6804 is located on the back of all the trail map, or you can dial extension 6804 from any mountain phone. It’s a smart idea to program it into your cell phone. You can of course always report an injury to any lift employee as well. The Deer Valley Mobile App also has a button to immediately call Ski Patrol.

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JF: Do you have tips for the great Deer Valley powder days?

Hylton Early: Everyone gets so excited and so filled with adrenaline on these wonderful powder days, that it’s always a good idea to remember to ski safely and to follow the Skier’s Responsibility Code. The most obvious incident is when you lose your ski in deep powder; if your ski came off, make sure to remember the last point when you saw it, which will help greatly if Ski Patrol comes to help you locate it. If you’re skiing the trees, always be on the watch out for stumps and obstacles and be also aware of tree wells; some people have the smart idea of carrying a whistle clipped to their jacket that can serve to alert others of you were to fall into a well and signal your location; this warning signal also comes very handy if you were injured in any location hidden from view.

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JF: Doctor Taillac, is there anything you’d like to add to these details and advices aimed at keeping us safe on the mountain?

Doctor Peter Taillac: I just would like to compliment the Ski Patrol for the great job they do, here at Deer Valley Resort. They’re very knowledgeable and take a great deal of pride in what they’re doing for skiers. They are very diligent at keeping up with their medical training on regular basis so they stay very sharp. We feel that they have a great relationship with the Clinic. Our doctors and nurses know what they’re talking about when they bring in a patient. Guests are safe, here at Deer Valley, they have a great medical safety net available to them and if there is an incident, they’ll be in very good hands.

JF: Hylton, do you have any other comment on behalf of Deer Valley Ski Patrol?

Hylton Early: Unlike many ski resorts that have a mix between professionals augmented by part-time ski patrollers. Deer Valley Ski Patrol is 100% professional and this allows us to keep the highest level of training standard and care for the benefit of our guests.

Thank you for following this four part series on Deer Valley’s Invisible Safety Net. If you missed any of the posts follow the links below.

Deer Valley’s Invisible Safety Net: Part One

Deer Valley’s Invisible Safety Net: Part Two

Deer Valley’s Invisible Safety Net: Part Three

Deer Valley’s Invisible Safety Net: Part Four

The ever Evolving Face of Rental Equipment.

ToddDainesThis interview with Todd Daines, Rental Manager at Deer Valley Resort, sheds a new light on the new array of options made available to skiers and families who are considering renting their equipment.

 

 

 

JF: How long have you been renting ski equipment, Todd, and how have you seen this activity evolve over the years?

Todd Daines: I’ve been here for 31 years in Deer Valley. I’ve seen quantum changes in terms of ski shapes, lengths, composite materials and of course performance! Predictably, at the same time, I’ve seen our rental activity grow exponentially with the resort and as our rental equipment has gotten better and better!

JF: As you are gearing up for a new ski season, are you renewing your fleet of rental equipment?

Todd Daines: New is the name of the game with us, as we change our equipment every year. We have five categories of skis that we renew either yearly or bi-yearly. As a full-line Rossignol shop, we focus on their Premier products which are the high-end Rossignol skis and boots, with something for everyone, from Junior to Adult!

JF: So, what’s new this winter?

Todd Daines: Skis continue to improve in terms of shapes and construction materials. The new ski that will probably be the most popular this year, the one that’s also the most versatile, is the Rossignol Soul 7, we have those in our Premier line.

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JF: Let’s say, that I’m a skier who loves groomed runs, what ski do you have for me?

Todd Daines: I’d get you on the Rossignol Pursuit. It’s a wonderful ski for making large, arcing turns!

JF: The buzz today seems to be all about “rocker skis;” what do you have in this category?

Todd Daines: The rocker technology is build into almost all of the skis that we offer, here at Deer Valley. Some are more extreme than others in terms of the shape they take while some are more qualified for different type of skiing; for instance, we have rocker skis more geared towards groomed runs, other for tree skiing and of course, powder snow.

JF: Do you offer gender-specific skis?

Todd Daines: We certainly do. We offer both women and men specific skis. When women skiers come in and want to try a lighter ski or something more suited to their style, we have it for them.

JF: What are the options for kids and juniors?

Todd Daines: We see kids coming to us at the age of two and a half, three years old, and we get these new skiers on ski length starting at 67 cm and into boots starting at size 7 that are just perfect for them. We have a full line of brand new Rossignol skis, boots and bindings that covers all needs from toddlers to teens, all the way to 140 or 150 cm skis.

JF: What happens if, during my stay, I needed to change gear, from say hard-pack skis to powder boards; is there a way I could switch?

Todd Daines: Most definitely, we have two locations on the mountain, you can just sneak into one of our shops and swap your skis for something that works better for you or the snow conditions at that time. There’s no additional charge to the customer, there may only be a short waiting time, but since we have all your information on file, you’ll be on your way before you know it!

JF: Besides skis, boots and poles, what else do you rent?

Todd Daines: We also rent helmets, of course, and those are designed to fit the smallest child the the full size adult!

JF: If I’ve never rented ski equipment with Deer Valley Resort before, what are my options?

Todd Daines: You can call in or register on line, give us or fill up the information and submit it to us. Depending on how early you make your reservation, you’ll be sent a bar-coded ticket, which contains all your information. Just bring it into one of our rental locations, you can bypass all the lines, go straight to your gear and you’ll be out of the door. If you didn’t have time to get your bar-coded information, you come in, we print out a small ticket, you receive your skis and boots and you’re done.

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 Deer Valley Rental Shop Website 

JF: How long does the process take?

Todd Daines: Since we have such a large fleet of equipment and so many fitting stations, the rental process can be as short as 5 minutes if you have your ticket ready. It might take you up to 15 to 20 minutes if you rent a new pair of boots and want them to fit you perfectly. If you’ve rented before with us, that time can be much shorter because we have your information on file. We also have what we call a “Grab and Ski”, where you can call in, give us all your information and agree to the size of the gear you want. Since it’s all preset, you just come in, okay your rental paperwork and you’re off the door. You only need to take one single step into the rental shop, you bypass all the lines and your skis are ready to go!

JF: So why should I rent skis from you instead of bringing my own equipment?

Todd Daines: It’s such an easy process! When you rent with us, you don’t have to worry about carrying your equipment ever. You can walk up to the shop in your tennis shoes, grab your gear, leave your shoes in the locker and slide on the snow. So once you’re here, you don’t have to leave the resort, you don’t have to call a room delivery service to come bring the gear to you in a van. We’ll take care of it all, right here!

JF: What do I do with my equipment at the end of the day?

Todd Daines: After you’re done with your ski day, you can leave your skis in the coral; likewise, you can leave the boots with us in our boot check. Then, you can then either go to your car, walk to your hotel or take the bus back to your condo. Today, with the breadth of inventory we offer and the kind of high performance equipment we have available, you can experience with us the latest technology in skis and boots and never have the need to purchase anything!

 

 

 

 

 

Ski All Day with New Technology in Women’s Skis

I want to ski the entire day.  I’d love to be the girl who is racing to get on that last chair before the lift closes.  I haven’t been able to do it yet, though.  The excuse I give myself for coming in early is I live here now and have a season pass so I can always come back tomorrow.  I simply tell myself, “Oh it’s nice to just ski for a few hours and then relax in the lodge.”

But the cold hard truth of it is, I get tired. My legs start burning, and I can’t ignore them.  I get worried that they won’t respond when I need them to. I might take a break but I end up going in instead of staying out as long as I’d like.

My girlfriends who visit find themselves in the same boat.  They don’t have the luxury of skiing next weekend though because they have to fly back to California.  This is their vacation – they want more skiing and less sitting. There is plenty of time for relaxing after 4 o’clock when the lifts close.

I recently found out that it might not just be me.  I don’t have iron legs by any means but I am in pretty good shape. I should be able to ski longer (with breaks of course.)  The answer could lie in my equipment. New ski technology is helping skiers gain more control, reduce fatigue and frankly have more fun. In the past, I’ve been confused and overwhelmed by ski technology, but this year I am bound and determined to learn.  My plan is to “geek out” because I have a goal – ski longer and get better.  Last year was the quest to become an intermediate skier. I did it!  Blue runs for me, my friends.  This year, we are going for the double blues, baby!

My friends at Rossignol helped me out and gave me a primer on the latest ski technology for intermediate women skiers this year.

Here are some things I learned:

photo 2Rocker.   As a classic rock fan, the first thing that comes to mind when I hear “rocker” is AC/DC’s “Back in Black” but that’s not exactly what we are talking about here.  Rocker refers to the tips of the skis, like a rocking chair.  In powder, a rocker tip helps you to stay on top of the snow – floating on top of the powder like a water skier on water, not with skis planted in it.  On the back of the ski, the rocker helps you lean back to maintain control and slow your speed as you need to.  A tip and tail rocker helps you pivot without getting hung up.  Sounds good to me!

ROCKER EXPLAINED with titleCamber.  Not being a motor head, I had no idea what this term meant.  Camber refers to the spring on the ski – how it pops up or down. When you lay the ski on a flat surface, you’ll see it’s actually not flat. It has an arch in the middle.  As a result, only two points on the ski touch the flat surface and the middle of the ski has a spring to it. On a groomed run or hard packed snow, this helps with stability, turning, and gripping edges especially when it’s icy.

photo 1Combination.  Which is better for you?  Well, both actually! I found the combination of how the ski designer puts together the rocker and the camber is the key to control.  Rockers for powder skis means you don’t have to lean back to keep your tips up, reducing fatigue and that could mean one or two more runs at the end of the day. Camber on groomer skis means more stability, automatic turning, with edge grip and power which means more control, easier turns and more confidence.  This translates into less “having to pick yourself up” after a spill and possibly being able to tackle more challenging runs.

We’ll see if powder is in my future this year. If it is, I am going to try the Rossignal S7 with the Powder Turn Rocker.  Maybe an “all mountain” ski is better for me so I follow my girlfriends through a few trees and venture onto some intermediate mogul runs (no blacks for me yet, thank you!)  I’ll try the Women’s Rossignol Temptation 88 and the other in the Temptation Series.

We can all try them out at the Rossignol Test Center Yurt at Empire Lodge at no cost for two hours.  I haven’t taken advantage of this service yet but this year, I will.

Be sure to leave a comment for me about your experience with your demos.  Double blues girls, here we come!!

photo 5

 

Heavy Lifting!

Last Saturday I went to shoot a video about a helicopter that was removing the old Deer Crest chairlift. This job is a necessary first step before receiving the slightly larger towers that are being built for the new Mountaineer Express chairlift on Little Baldy Mountain at Deer Valley. Before I even left home, I saw a strange helicopter flying by the Wasatch Mountains. A few moments later, I was picked up at Snow Park Lodge by Chuck English, Deer Valley Resort’s Director of Mountain Operations.

On the way up to the lift, Chuck explained that Dopplemayr, the company supplying lifts to Deer Valley, had orchestrated a complex and precise operation to remove the eighteen towers assemblies that constituted the Deer Crest chairlift and bring them down to the bottom of the lift in less than two hours. He further explained that the helicopter used for the operation was a very expensive piece of equipment, costing around $4,000 per hour of flight time. I knew a few things about choppers, but not much about the special machine that came that morning. That one was used for hauling timber, moving lift towers around or even fighting fires.

The aircraft in question was a 1998 K-1200 made by Kaman Aerospace Corporation, powered by a 1,500 hp engine and owned by Timberline Helicopters, Inc. of Sandpoint, Idaho. This company is specialized in ski lift, power lines and pipelines construction, as well as logging among other diversified activities. This model, also called K-Max has two main intermeshing rotors but no tail rotor. Its two rotors turn in opposite directions, with each rotor mast mounted on the helicopter in a slight angle relative to the other and in such a way that the blades intermesh without colliding.

This original design is what allows the helicopter to function without the need for a tail rotor. This configuration is referred to as a synchropter. Such helicopters offer both high stability and powerful lifting capability, further they are more efficient, have a natural tendency to hover and are excellent for precision work in placing suspended loads. They’re also more responsive to the pilot’s control inputs, making it possible to easily and precisely swing a very heavy load; in fact, this flying crane can lift more than it own weight – 6,000 lbs – and while it burns an average of 85 gallons of fuel per hour during lift operations like this one, it remains the most efficient lift-to-fuel ratio of any helicopter in its class.

Like on fixed-wing aircraft, the lift of the helicopter rotating wings is produced by its reaction with the surrounding air. The denser the air, the greater the reaction. As the aircraft climbs in altitude, the air becomes less dense, so the amount of lift is reduced. This is because the atmospheric pressure acting on a given volume of air is reduced, allowing the air molecules to move further apart. At some point in a climb, up into a high mountain environment for instance, the lift produced by the thinning air is only enough to maintain the altitude, but no longer enough to climb. This constitutes the absolute ceiling for the aircraft.

The air density is not just a function of altitude though; the atmospheric pressure plays a role too; if the pressure is lower, the air is not as dense. Same effect with the temperature; as warm air expands, the air molecules move further apart, creating lighter air, but the reverse is also true as cooler air will create denser air conditions. Finally moisture influences lift as well; as the water content of the air increases, the air becomes less dense, decreasing performance. Increased relative humidity also contributes to that loss of lift.

To illustrate these physical facts, the working crew that day was telling us that while performing a similar work at 11,000 feet elevation at nearby Snowbird, earlier in the week, the weather was so hot and humid that the helicopter had a challenging time carrying some of its loads. At times and when the parts allows it certain elements like the sheave assemblies must be removed from the cross arm that sits on top of a chairlift tower and be replaced later on. In terms of lifting performance, the K-Max cargo hook capacity is rated at 6,000 lb at sea level. At 10,000 feet it’s about 5,163 lb and at 15,000 feet it falls significantly to 4,313 lb.

At the end of August, when the towers will have been manufactured, the helicopter will return to replace the new infrastructure of what will be the new “Mountaineer Express” chairlift. I hope I’ll get to be invited again to shoot the scene and focus on the wonderful choreography between some heavy hardware, a team of skilled craftsmen and a wonderful flying machine…