SANDY BRINGS SKIING TO NORTH CAROLINA
The earliest open date on record for Sugar Mountain, in western North Carolina, was November 5th, in 1976. Not anymore. Hurricane Sandy dumped up to three feet of snow in the southern Appalachians and even if it brought nothing but misery farther north, the storm brought out skiers in Halloween costumes in North Carolina. According to the National Weather Service, the location that received the most snow from Sandy was Gatlinburg, Tennessee, which got 34 inches. Clayton, West Virginia, was covered by 33 inches of snow and 29 inches fell on Redhouse, Maryland, the weather service said. It also said the big thaw is coming, but for the next few days skiers will still have plenty to shred. Via Reuters.
NATIONAL PARKS, LOCAL BUSINESSES HURT BY HURRICANE
Yay, skiing in North Carolina. The flip side is that Shenandoah National Park is closed; Valley Forge is closed. And the associated businesses, especially of a Shenandoah, or a New River Gorge, are going to lose out of peak autumn tourist season. This is when folks in the Southeast would typically flock to the Blue Ridge Parkway — but it’s under a couple of feet of snow right now. Climbing in the New is usually primo this time of year, with cool nights and warm afternoons. Uh, wanna snowshoe instead? While losses from Hurricane Sandy are tallied it’ll be important to include dollars not made, not just the money in property loss. Also: a lot of Eastern national forest land got hammered during this storm. Cleaning up trails is going to take an epic, years-long effort. Via NV Daily.
UH, OH…STRAVA GETS CALLED OUT AGAIN FOR TOO-FAST RIDING
Yeah, we think it’s a straw man in this case, but Melanie Turner, a law enforcement ranger and mountain bike unit coordinator — yes, she is a mountain biker — with Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area says there’s been an uptick in biker/hiker conflict at the park and cites concern that Strava use is causing mountain bikers to bomb descents in an effort to log faster times on the popular app. But here’s the good: Strava, the NPS and a local mountain bike advocacy group are all working together to get people to slow down. This after people on Strava reported speeds of up to 35 mph on trails that have a posted 15 mph max. The SMMNRA, by the way, is between Oxnard and Santa Monica, and SoCal is ground zero for some of the most mountain bikers per capita in the nation. Via Patch.com.
NEW SKIS’ GREATEST CRITIC, TED LIGETY, DOMINATES FIRST WORLD CUP
Okay, so what was all the concern about those new sticks? Ted Ligety won his first World Cup of the season in Soelden, Austria, not by a little, but by an unprecedented 2.75-seconds, smashing a 34-year-old mark for margin of victory in a GS. Ligety, you may recall, has been the most outspoken critic of FIS’s new rules that say that pros can’t be on skis that turn more sharply than 35 meters; last year’s sidecut allowed a 27 meter radius. FIS’s logic is that a ski that can turn too tightly leads to more knee damage, though they based their conclusions not on hard and fast science, but on subjective interviews with athletes who have been injured. The critique likely won’t die down, despite pros like Ligety adapting quickly, since the manufacturers don’t like holding back innovation — the general public now gets to ski higher tech planks than the pros. Also, just wait until a pro blows out an ACL. It’s not like it didn’t happen when skis barely turned at all. Via Bleacher Report.