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Resort Report: chairlift accident, coast to coast powder & Whistler news

A chairlift accident injured six guests at Sugarloaf ski area in Maine. Crystal Mountain had to delay the opening of its new gondola. And from Colorado to Vermont, there is plenty of fresh powder to close out 2010.

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A ski lift accident at Sugarloaf ski area in Maine injured several guests, Dec. 28, 2010. According to a press release from Sugarloaf, “at approximately 10:30 am, the Spillway East Chairlift experienced a rope derailment. At this time, we have 6 injured guests who have been treated and transported from the mountain.”

The area reports that the remaining guests on the lift were all successfully evacuated, adding that, “As of now, the cause of the incident is still unknown and is under investigation.” 

The Spillway East chair has 162 chairs, and has a capacity for 1,200 skiers per hour.

New England gets its fair share of powder

All that snow that was shutting down airports and snarling traffic across the Eastern Seaboard in the wake of Christmas, was also putting plenty of powder on the slopes.

Ski Vermont reports that area such as Bromley, Okemo and Magic Mountain all received nearly two feet of fresh snow. The weather system also left new powder in New York, New Hampshire and even West Virginia.

Sunapee in New Hampshire “got bombed Sunday night and Monday with 18” of very dry powder snow,” according to a press release, while Hunter Mountain in New York was reporting a foot of fresh snow. Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia received about a foot during the Christmas weekend, bringing the month’s natural snowfall total to 62 inches. It currently has a 50-inch base.

West to get walloped with yet another deep storm

Of course even as the East starts to get into the storm track, the well-buried West is getting hit with yet another big system. Utah, Wyoming, Colorado and much of the Pacific Northwest is expected to receive significant precipitation in the days leading up to the New Year.

Weather forecasts in Alta, Utah, and Jackson Hole, Wyoming, are calling for anywhere from one to three feet of new snow throughout the week. Because of the high winds associated with the system, avalanche forecasters in the Pacific Northwest have also issued backcountry travel warnings.

Crystal gondola opening waits on stretched cable

Washington State’s Crystal Mountain Ski Area delayed the opening of its new gondola due to a stretched cable. The gondola had been scheduled to open Dec. 23, 2010, but is now delayed at least until the New Year.

“It is typical for a new cable to stretch, however in our case the cable has stretched more than normal,” the area said in a press release. “The only solution is to re-splice the cable. Effort is underway to schedule this as soon as possible, although it could take up to a week.”

The grand opening celebration will be rescheduled, with a date to be announced as it becomes available.

“While this setback is disappointing, smooth functioning of the gondola is more important than meeting a deadline,” said John Kircher, Crystal Mountain’s General Manager. “We are committed to doing this right.”

Arc’teryx Photo Challenge heads back to Whistler

For the fifth year in a row, the Arc’teryx Deep Winter Photo Challenge prepares to pay homage to the beloved storm season and the skiers, snowboarders and photographers who cherish it.

The Deep Winter Photo Challenge will take place Jan. 15 and is the marquee event of the Gore-Tex Deep Winter Experience which storms into Whistler Jan. 8-16. The Challenge will feature slideshows from six of the industry’s best ski and snowboard photographers taken over three days at Whistler Blackcomb.

–Peter Kray

On Oct. 6, 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 start of the winter season. Got WinterSports news? Send your WinterSports news to Kray at Subscribers can also post WinterSports news releases directly to the SNEWS website. Email us at to learn about posting your own news releases, or for any other questions or comments. We love to hear from our readers!