WHILE THE NATION’S SKI BIZ SUFFERS, ASPEN BUCKS THE TREND. Skico’s skier visits were up 2.1 percent from Thanksgiving through the end of February at Aspen, Aspen Highlands, Snowmass, and Buttermilk compared with the same period last season, and that’s ahead of a record-setting season last year. And 2010-11 was a record for the industry as a whole, with 60.54 million skier visits, but this year the industry is bracing for a decline in skiing of 10-15 percent. Aspen credits its uptick to more snow earlier than Summit County resorts — and to having more loyal locals as well as glitz that draws skiers from the southern hemisphere, including Australia and Brazil. Via Aspen Times.
WHILE PRO CYCLING IS FUMBLING ABOUT STANDARDS FOR DISC BRAKES IN RACING, SRAM says it’s not waiting on production for its road and cyclocross brakes. (Shimano’s clearly not waiting, either). SRAM says disc brakes are inevitable in racing, but even more so for regular riders, where the brakes are exponentially stronger, especially in the rain but also during long descents. While some traditionalists hate the look of discs on road frames, others say that disc rotors will torque the wheels out of open dropouts (a.k.a. many people won’t close them tightly enough and then blame it on the brake design). The solution may be through-axles for road, just like on mountain bikes. Via Road.cc.
THE LITTLE ICE AGE LASTED 300 YEARS, but while scientists used to think this snowy, cold period in North America and Europe (from about 1275 to roughly the mid 1600s) was caused by some consistent accumulation of soot from volcanoes in the atmosphere, it turns out that this isn’t the case. Instead a very short, intense period of volcanic activity caused increased Arctic icing, and that lead polar ice to creep farther south, cutting off part of the Gulf Stream. That prevented warmer currents heading north, which lead to yet more icing. The feedback loop took centuries to break, and now scientists are curious if it could be made to happen again to stave off global warming. Via University of Colorado.
EIGHT PRO ROAD CYCLING TEAMS HAVE AGREED TO JOIN FORCES TO WRESTLE CONTROL of international racing away from private governing bodies. The motive behind the so-called World Series of Cycling that would kick off in 2014 is about putting more money into the pockets of racers and teams, and the ten-race series would carefully not clash with the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, and Vuelta a Espana. The business model is similar to the team franchise plan used in the NFL and has apparently attracted a lot of investor interest, not least because it doesn’t depend as much on single-advertiser backing, a la the current system. Via Bloomberg.