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WinterSports Highlight Reel: 50 Classics, Iron Maiden skis & more

Snow is falling across the country, meaning that ski areas from California to Utah are opening early. Along with a new "Classic" ski mountaineering book and some heavy metal-inspired skis from K2, the season looks to be off to a great start.

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The early returns are coming in as winter gets a head start on opening day, particularly in Utah. At least three snow-providing storm systems are presently working their way across the United States, hammering the Rocky Mountains, the Pacific Northwest and the Great Lakes region.

In SNEWS WinterSports’ first edition of the Highlight Reel, we call out some of the other great news in the world of snow.

Fifty Classic Ski Descents looks to be an instant classic itself

Coffee table books and Christmas go together like eggnog and mistletoe. And with the recent release of the impressively oversized “Fifty Classic Ski Descents of North America,” retailers should have the first surefire stocking stuffer of the year.

Stunning photos, regional maps, mountain stats and lots of editorial insight make this book the official bucket list for ski adventurers. A compilation from alpine athlete Chris Davenport, tele-vangelist Art Burrows and PR legend Penn Newhard, the book also includes generous contributions from well-known alpinists such as Lou Dawson, Andrew McLean, Kristoffer Erickson and Lowell Skoog.

Visually pleasing, encompassingly informative, and as action-packed as a fresh espresso, this is a must-have for any ski library. For more info:

K2 pumps up the rocker with Iron Maiden ski

K2 is betting big on skiing’s hottest technology with an entire ski line featuring some form of rocker design this year. Marketing support featuring skiing “rock stars,” such as Seth Morrison and Andy Mahre, have been appearing on the pages of several ski magazines, and now K2 is introducing a limited edition Iron Maiden ski to “shred metal and snow together.”

K2 worked with heavy metal band Iron Maiden’s classic 1981 Killers album art as the graphic inspiration for the ski, which will be available in limited release at specialty retail. Featuring K2’s Jib Rocker, a blend of zero camber and slight tip and tail Rocker, the K2 Iron Maiden Ski has 121/90/115 dimensions, vertical sidewalls and a combination fir/aspen core. Suggested retail is $685.

Early ski area openings abound from Mammoth to Utah

A combination of natural and man-made snow has Mammoth Mountain turning on its lifts for the winter season starting today, Nov. 11, 2010. The mountain received one to three feet of natural snowfall on the night of Nov. 7 and temperatures have remained cold enough to allow snowmaking to continue around the clock all week.

Brighton in Utah also opened today, running the Majestic and Snake Creek Express chair lifts. Crest and Explorer chair lifts are soon to follow.

Colorado’s Breckenridge begins its 49th season Friday, with more than 3 feet of natural snow in the last two storms. Breck has 147 acres of open lift-served terrain via the Colorado SuperChair, 5 Chair, Rip’s Ride, Trygve’s Platter.

The 40th winter season at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort begins Nov. 13, with skiing and riding on natural and man-made snow a week earlier than originally planned. Snowbird will open at 9 a.m., running the Aerial Tram and Gadzoom chair. As of Nov. 10, the Little Cottonwood Canyon Resort has received 53 inches of snow.

In an effort to reduce its environmental impact, Mount Rose Ski Tahoe installed three Windspire vertical wind turbines this week on the north side of its Winters Creek Lodge…and a recent study of “active Americans” by the Leisure Trends Group found that 8 percent think a ski or snowboard would be a “cool gift” to give or receive this year, while 22 percent said they were planning to buy a ski or snowboard for their kid this winter.

–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!