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December 2012

Who & What's New For 2013

  • Vail Makes a Purchase
    In a new strategy to drive season pass sales and build broader customer loyalty, Vail Resorts is buying the family-owned Afton Alps ski area in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton outside Detroit, giving it access to urban markets ripe with beginning skiers and snowboarders. That strategy is focusing on urban-area small ski areas, where many learn to ski or ride before being tempted to head to destination resorts in the West.

    "More people in the Midwest take a trip somewhere else to ski than any other market," Rob Katz, Vail’s CEO said. "By having a local presence and really making a better connection with people, we can do better a job getting them to come to our resorts. If we make it a better experience to learn to ski and ride, that's a huge opportunity for our company.” Starting immediately, Afton Alps and Mount Brighton season pass holders can get 25 percent off the window rate on lift tickets for Vail Resorts' Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone resorts in Colorado and the Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood ski areas in the Lake Tahoe area.

  • KSL Capital Acquires 24% of Whistler
    "Whistler Blackcomb is the largest and most visited ski resort in North America, and we feel that it complements our portfolio of premier travel and leisure properties," said KSL managing director Eric Resnick. In late 2010, the private equity fund acquired California's Squaw Valley. A year later, it merged Squaw with neighboring Alpine Meadows, with plans for a mega-resort on the banks of Lake Tahoe. KSL could develop a Whistler-Squaw pass deal that would compete with Vail Resorts' dominant Epic Pass, or the Mountain Collective Pass, just formed this season with Aspen, Squaw, Alta and Jackson Hole ski areas.

  • Mammoth Comes Back Strong
    Mother Nature delivered little snow in the 2011-12 season, driving tourism down just as the larger economy seemed to be recovering. Then in June, management at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, the resort that dominates the town, trimmed staff, cut salaries and announced the shuttering of its June Mountain ski operation – a painful blow to the tiny mountain community of June Lake, 20 miles north of Mammoth.

    However the winter of 2012-13 has begun in Mammoth Lakes with a happy bang, because nothing dilutes red ink faster than real snow. On Nov. 8 – the same day the Mammoth resort opened its season with a handful of trails covered in manufactured snow – a storm started dumping the real thing. By the following Saturday afternoon, more than a foot of fresh power had fallen and about 2,800 skiers and boarders had hit the slopes. By Sunday six lifts were open, serving a dozen trails, and at least one local was using the word "dreamy." Welcome back, Mammoth Mountain.

Far West Travel

  • Winter is here, and snow is falling everywhere. If you are still not sure where to go this winter ­here’s a couple of helpful hints. THERE ARE STILL SPOTS OPEN on both our North American and International Ski Week Trips.

  • Aspen/Snowmass dates are February 2 to February 9, 2013 – a mere seven weeks away. If Santa brings you some extra Christmas cash that you don’t know what to do with – get in touch with your council’s Ski Week Trip Leader and sign up NOW. To sign up contact Gloria Raminha, VP of North American Travel. more...

  • Far West International Ski Week to Innsbruck, Austria is March 2 – 10, 2013, with an extension to Garmisch & Munich, Germany from March 10 – 17, 2013. Sign ups are taking place NOW! This trip is too good to pass up! It includes air, ground transportation, lodging, daily breakfast buffet, a Welcome Orientation, bi-lingual guides and hospitality desk every evening, and optional day tours. WHAT MORE COULD YOU ASK FOR? Contact Debbie Stewart, VP of International Travel, for more information. more...

  • Far West Mini Ski Week is a shorter ski week to Mt. Bachelor with lodging at The Riverhouse in Bend, OR. Dates are March 25-30, 2013. This trip is limited to the first 100 people who sign-up and pay their initial deposits. more...

Convention News

  • It’s Time to Book your Room for the Convention
    The Bay Area Snow Sports Council is busy planning for the 81st Annual FWSA Convention, to be held June 6-9, 2013 at the fabulous Grand Sierra Resort & Casino in Reno. Be sure to visit our brand new FWSA website at www.fwsa.org and link into Convention to download the master flyer and for updated information. It’s not too early to make room reservations. A Grand Sierra Standard Room is $79 and the Summit Suites Grand II upgrade is $104 (double occupancy). To book your reservation, call 800.648.5080 or 775.789.2129 and use the Group Name: Far West Ski Association 2013. For booking online, go to https://resweb.passkey.com/go/FarWestSki. No password is required. There are lots of fun activities being planned including the River Walk Pub Crawl, the 7th Annual Michael German Memorial Golf Tournament, a Whitewater Raft Trip, Hiking, a Spa Day, and a Fun Day at the Grand Sierra. 

  • Convention Incentive
    This year, FWSA is offering an "economic relief" program to provide a ski club the opportunity to send more delegates to the Convention. For every six (6) delegates that have paid the full registration package, the club would get a rebate of one (1) paid registration after the convention. The ski club is free to disburse this rebate as it wishes among its delegates. 

Recognizing Member Contributions

  • Safety Person of the Year
    Sponsored by Aspen/Snowmass, The Gant, and Crestwood Condominiums, this award is given to that individual, within the association, who has done the most to promote safety through a number of criteria. These include articles, on slope safety, and other ways to raise safety consciousness.

  • Western Ski Heritage Prize
    Sponsored by Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation, the purpose of this award is to raise awareness of snowsport participants and non-participants alike of the contributions made by individuals, groups and companies to all aspects of snow sports ¨C competitive as well as that of outdoor winter recreation and fitness. A parallel is to convey the positive role snowsports had had in its’ contribution to the communities in the West. It recognizes the outstanding effort in the area of snowsports history to find, preserve, document and share the history of snow sports.

  • Win a Trip for Two
    Both of these awards are presented at the annual convention. They include a week’s skiing at Aspen or Steamboat, depending upon the award. The trip is a trip for two, with air (Aspen only), lodging, lifts and rentals included. So, what’s stopping you? Start gathering your information and get it down on paper now. The deadline for inclusion in consideration for these awards is mid-April.

2012 Athletic Scholarships

  • Awards for our Junior Athletes
    This year sixteen junior athletes will receive FWSA athletic scholarships ranging from $500 to $1,525. There are six junior men and ten junior women representing Nevada (1), California (6,) Oregon (4), Washington (2), Idaho (1) and Utah (2). With an average GPA of 3.78, these young people are the cream of the crop. Their hard work on and off the slopes proves why they should be receiving these awards. Congratulations to all these fine athletes. And, a special thanks to our Partners and to all the people who supported the program throughout our many fundraisers. The FWSA Athletic Scholarship Program is indebted to its sponsors: Whitefish Mountain Resort, Grouse Mountain Lodge, Schure Sports Inc. maker of the Karbon brand of snowsports apparel, and to the Far West Racing Association.

Club And Council News

  • Sierra League & Council
    The Sierra Council has established a Frank App Memorial Scholarship Fund to be administered through the Far West Ski Foundation Scholarship Fund. Frank App was an avid skier and racer who died May 19 when his parachute failed to open after he exited his glider. The Sierra Council members raised an amazing nearly $700 through donations and silent auction items at their December 8 annual holiday party.

Member Benefits

  • Another Member Benefit to Consider
    Prepaid Legal Service/Legal Shield, which provides a number of legal services for $26.95 per month. We’ve had them as benefits partners for the past 2 years, but they are not seeing any ROI from us and are considering dropping their partnership. Just a reminder that it’s out there. 

A Memory Shared by John Watson

  • December 7, 1941
    John’s story was told to him by Burt Sims, the Managing Editor of the old LA Examiner and the originator of one of the first ski columns "Ski Scope." He (Burt) and other members of the old Alpine Ski Club of Santa Monica were skiing the sand dunes on Playa del Rey that Sunday morning. (Those dunes became home tracts which were removed in the 60s to expand the runways at LAX and now lie directly under the takeoff pattern). They were enjoying music from their car radios when the programs were interrupted with the mid-morning news that Pearl Harbor had been attacked. This took the fun out of their sunny Sunday and changed their lives forever. They became the Greatest Generation.

Global Warming Affects on the U.S.

  • Global Warming
    Declines in snowfall because of global warming are shortening the winter ski season in the U.S. and harming the economy, according to a report from two environmental groups. In poor snow seasons, like last winter, visits to ski areas in states such as Colorado and New York dropped, and that has cost ski resorts $1 billion in revenue over the past decade, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Protect Our Winters have reported.

    The winter sports industry contributes more than $12 billion a year to the U.S. economy, according to the study. Climate change spells trouble for all businesses dependent on winter weather, from snowmobiling, snowboarding, and ice fishing to snowshoeing and skiing, the groups said in the report. In the U.S., average temperatures from December through February have increased by 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.2 Celsius) since 1970, according to the report. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration today said the first 11 months of 2012 were the warmest start to any year in the contiguous 48 states since the U.S. began keeping records in 1895.
Download a Word Document of the December 2012 News Flash.

If you have information for future editions, email editor Debbi Kor.

Packing for Snow Trips
No matter where you plan to travel, or when, here’s a great packing list of things to bring:

Ski Gear & Clothing—

  • Skis, poles, boots
  • Wipe Clean and Dry Rag
  • Sunscreen and lip balm
  • Ski jacket
  • Thermal underwear
  • Insulated ski pants
  • Nylon cover pants
  • Gloves
  • Hats, fleece or baseball cap
  • Goggles and sunglasses in hard cases
  • Silicon spray for glasses
  • Face mask for skiing in snow
  • Ski socks
  • Shell pants
  • Fleece outer shirt and fleece jacket
  • Long-sleeved synthetic base-layer shirts
  • Work or snow boots
  • Accessories: diamond file, gummy stone, rub on wax
  • Bandanas
  • Power Bars
  • Headband
  • Gum

Regular Clothing–

  • Jeans
  • Dress Pants
  • Dress Shirts
  • Underwear
  • Bathing suits
  • T-shirts
  • Socks
  • Belts
  • Colored Tape (to identify your rental skis)


  • Water pouches for water
  • Wallet and/or purse and cash
  • Credit cards (list of numbers of credit card)
  • ID or driver's license, Passport,
  • Photo I.D.
  • Swiss Army Knife
  • Car and house keys (plus duplicate sets kept in different bags)
  • Eyeglasses
  • Watch
  • Medical insurance cards
  • Itineraries
  • Maps and directions
  • Backpack for day use
  • Book to Read
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Umbrella
  • Large plastic bags for laundry and wet items
  • Small plastic bags
  • Travel alarm radio
  • Sewing kit
  • First-aid kit: bandages, antiseptic, ointment.
  • Paper napkins/towels
  • Snow Chains or cables


  • Prescriptions and other medications
  • Moleskin, regular with scissors
  • Toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss and mouthwash
  • Deodorant
  • Deodorant Soap
  • Hairbrush
  • Shampoo
  • Talc Power
  • Shaving gear
  • Nail clippers
  • Tweezers

Other Stuff

  • Cell Phone
  • Cell Phone Charger
  • Disk Player and CDs, headphones and batteries
  • Guidebooks and brochures
  • Pillow
  • Address book and postcard stamps
  • Boot Dryer

The convention will be here before you know it. Learn all about our action packed activities & deals. more...

Aspen/Snowmass dates are February 2–9, 2013. It will be a trip to remember. more...

Far West International Ski Week to Innsbruck, Austria is March 2 – 10, 2013, with an extension to Garmisch & Munich, Germany from March 10–17, 2013. more...

Far West Mini Ski Week is to Mt. Bachelor with lodging at The Riverhouse in Bend, OR. Dates are March 25–30, 2013. more...

The Sierra Council has established a Frank App Memorial Scholarship Fund. more...

Take the Challenge
Bring a friend or family member to a ski/snowboard area and help the newcomer sign up for a lesson. more…


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