Category Archives: Outdoor News

Summer Skiing Could Still Happen

UPDATE: Arapahoe Basin reopened May 28, 2020, with a TBD closing date. All passholders and day ticket purchasers ($99) have to submit to a raffle two days prior and make a reservation if their name is drawn before they can head up. The ski area is allowed to admit only 600 skiers and snowboarders but there will be no tailgating and partying after slushing it up on the 20 open runs and three chairlifts. They will have to wear face coverings in designated areas and no food will be sold. Still, they get to ski!

With no more ski areas open – HUGE shout out to COVID-19 for that- and just a smattering of diehards uphilling for turns, we can officially call an end to the 2019/20 ski season. But what about summer skiing?

According to the National Ski Areas Association, some 460 ski areas in 37 states could lose $2 billion from the shutdown. Most areas began to shutter around March 15, 2020, just when spring ski breakers were marking off their vacation to-do lists. Jackson Hole had already announced that they would stay open a week past their normal closing to accommodate for the late Easter weekend. With fresh snow in the forecast, resorts were primed for a bustling spring before pandemic panic struck. Then everything came to a screeching halt; everything but our desperate need to keep skiing.

We Weren’t Done Skiing

March is not only one of the snowiest months of the year but also the busiest after December, pulling in about 20 percent of overall skier visits for the season. Not so for 2020. We won’t harp on the financial hits that the resorts will sustain. You can read about that here. It’s the emotional hit that rippled through ski communities, causing mass devastation.

Thousands of season passholders sat sad faced, wondering if the areas would reopen or at least if they were going to reimburse them for the lost ski days. Those who only ski two weeks a year won’t understand. When you are a local with six ski areas to choose from and you measure your ego by the number of days you ski, one of the major factors to consider before dropping $1k on a pass are the projected closing dates.

Last year, Snowbird stayed open through June and reopened for a special 4th of July ski day. Whistler closed May 27, A-Basin June 2, Squaw Valley July 7 and Mammoth Mountain on July 28. Therefore, if you lived in Utah and purchased a Bird 19/20 season pass you potentially missed out on three months of skiing. Let’s break it down. With the season starting in December, you might predict seven months of skiing based on last year. Yet even without counting on July 4th skiing, Snowbird traditionally skis through May. That’s six months. They closed March 15 giving you only 3.5 months on a “six-month pass.” Most ski resorts, by the way, have yet to address this concern but perhaps they won’t have to if they can reopen before it’s too late.

Summer Skiing Not out of the Realm of Possibility

There may still be a slim (albeit VERY slim) possibility that a few areas will re-open for summer skiing if the quarantine ends before all of the snow melts. As of this post, Arapahoe Basin posted on their site that they could reopen even if it’s as late as June if conditions allow. “Don’t be discouraged. This is a marathon and A-Basin is a marathon runner. What other area stays open from mid-October to July 4th? We all need to do the right things now if we want to get open again.” Update: The Governor of Colorado extended the closure order through May 23, 2020.

Mount Baldy ski area in Southern California reopened on April 22 when San Bernadino County allowed golf courses to reopen. After 11 days, they closed out the season, “Thanks to the most solid crew any mountain has ever had, several feet of late season snow and some very respectful skiers & riders we were able to open again on 4/22/20 to finish off a season like this properly,” the resort’s website stated.

Summer Skiing

photo by Gary Westwell

Vail Resorts (which includes Whistler, Breckenridge and Heavenly resorts) posted, “We made the difficult decision to close our North American resorts and retail stores for the 2019/20 winter season. ” Mammoth Mountain’s statement: There is no estimated reopening date for Mammoth Mountain at this time. Reopening the ski area is dependent on the COVID-19 situation, state and federal mandates, as well as other safety factors.

Squaw Valley hasn’t changed their stance that “while the possibility of Squaw Alpine reopening for skiing and riding still remains, we have no estimate for such action. The resort will be closed until further notice.”

Oregon Ski Resorts At The Ready?

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said this week that the state will allow ski resorts to reopen. Mt Bachelor, Ore., had earlier announced they are “closed for now but our goal is to reopen as soon as we can.” In the meantime, they were the first ski area to officially offer a $100 voucher to all 19/20 season passholders and can be used for pass products, lessons and rentals in 20/21. Timberline Ski Area is usually running race camps throughout the summer so this has to be good news for them. The plan as outlined is that guests must make online reservations but prepurchased lift tickets and passes will be valid. Food would be to go and social distancing practiced in the parking lots and chairs.

Season Passholder Reparations Coming

Utah skiers, in particular, were underwhelmed with the response from Alterra’s Ikon Pass which is good at Solitude and valid for five days at Deer Valley and Snowbird/Alta. Extended purchase deadlines, slight discount for renewals (about $120), interest-free payments, and insurance against another pandemic closure just aren’t enough enticements. My friend and former ski instructor Tony Fantis told the Salt Lake Tribune, “Why would I reinvest now for a season I don’t know is going to happen? From a risk standpoint, I would rather wait and pay more later.” That is despite Alterra promising customers can defer their pass to the 2021-22 season if it looks like they couldn’t use it this season … so long as they do so by December 10.

Vail Resorts announced their “severance package” shortly after a class action lawsuit was filed against them and Alterra. Epic Pass holders will be credited 20-80 percent toward a 2020-21 pass renewal, depending on how often their 2019-20 pass was used. For skiers ready to renew, VR has offered a pass deposit of $49 with the remainder due in September.
Mountain Collective is the worst of the bunch and you would be wise to avoid it. From their website- “The Mountain Collective Pass is non-refundable and non-transferable. All purchases are final and may not be refunded, transferred between parties, or transferred to another season.” Basically, you get nothing for last season and if anything happens to cause the season to end early next year, you are SOL.

If the Resorts Do Reopen for Summer Skiing Will We Even Care By Then?

Though we still wish we could ski, many coronavactioners are finally ready for summer; for the rain to stop, the snow to melt, the warm skies to shine because, hell, if you can’t ski and don’t have backcountry skills, at least we can hike and bike. The other thing to consider is once we get in the summer groove, will we want to go back to skiing? TBH, it might take two feet of fresh powder to get me back in the mood.

But after you get your fill of dirt, there’s always a trip to Argentina in July; if the country lifts their air travel ban before September. The resorts down south are poised to open for their winter season but they are tracking the spread of COVID-19 as we speak. If ever there was a time to visit the southern hemisphere, it would be this year, weather and COVID contingent of course.

Must Haves for Summer Skiing

Shred Goggles – Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Ted “Shred” Ligety knows something about skiing year-round. So trust him when he makes goggles that kick butt on summer sun. The Shred goggles won’t fog no matter how heated your dome gets. It has a spherical lens with a dramatically wide field of vision so you can spot bikini-clad Betties from anywhere. The contrast boosting lens (CBL) allows you to see just as well in flat light as bright sun and, even though the lens doesn’t look super dark to the naked eye, it provides plenty of UVA, UVB, UVC protection. The NoDistortion tech in the lenses prevents, yes, distortion you get from a curved lens at altitude while the high quality “Whipped Cream” multilayer face foam ensures that this go-to goggle fits under just about every helmet. Plus, it won’t pack down like most foams so you can count on them for next season too.

summer skiing goggle

BRYNJE Women’s Wool Thermo Longs Base Layer with Inlay might look like something from a steampunk rave but it totally makes sense when you think about the heat generated skiing in 60-degree temps. All you want to wear is a shell pant but that feels nasty against bare skin. You won’t overheat in the Mesh Thermo Longs and the integrated shorts and reinforced knees keep you from chafing.

brynje fishnet baselayers

Helly Hansen’s Odin Mountain Softshell Jacket is the ultimate spring and backcountry shell. It’s a warm, breathable, comfortable worn alone or with a mid-layer or thin puffy underneath for cooler days. This lightweight beauty is made of 4-way stretch with a weather protective membrane and another with maximum breathability. It moves with you whether you climb or ski.

summer skiing jacket

Love During the Time of COVID and Your Canine

Masks on Dogs

We outdoors people love our dogs but there’s so much misinformation out there concerning COVID and your canine that it’s our four-legged friends who could suffer. We’re not sure what’s right. Do you take your dog for walks? Do you pet your dog? Do you pet a friend’s dog? Do you let a friend pet your dog? Can you get the Coronavirus by petting a dog?

covid and your canine dog looking over a fence

lonely boy

The World Health Organization is telling pet owners that we can’t catch COVID-19 from our animals. They stated, “There is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID-19. COVID-19 is mainly spread through droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. ”  Dogs can contract certain types of coronaviruses, such as the canine respiratory coronavirus, but they got lucky this time around. COVI-19 has most of the world on lockdown but spared our best friends. Dogs are not affected by the virus.

Can You and Your Canine transmit COVID if someone sneezes or coughs on them? Read on…

In this time of uncertainty, who’s to say we all aren’t affected physically or emotionally by all of this? You’re quarantined at home 24/7. On the one hand, your fluffy friend must be ecstatic that he has company but, on the other, not only can they sense your anxiety, stress and apprehension for these coming weeks but he’s probably not getting the exercise or love that he should.

people Petting a dog

It’s okay to pet a dog

My boy couldn’t handle not being loved on by the masses. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the chances are low of contracting the Coronavirus by petting your dog. Phew. The AVMA’s Chief Veterinary Officer Gail Golab says, “We’re not overly concerned about people contracting COVID-19 through contact with your dogs and cats.” Medical experts say the virus survives best on smooth surfaces like countertops and doorknobs. Therefore, a porous surface like fur tends to trap pathogens, making it harder to contract them through touch. That said, if you do let others pet your dog, you should still use hand sanitizer before and after you touch your own dog and keep your own social distance. It’s the perfect time to put that six-foot leash to use.  

using a six foot leash with your canine during covid

Just check county rules and wash your hands

Wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds before and after each walk but don’t use this quarantine time as an excuse for both of you not to exercise. Check your local regulations. Most quarantine restrictions are meant to curb loitering. States have made exceptions for essential jobs and errands, like walking your dog and exercising.

Healthy, non-positive dog owners need to get out daily but of course observe any local curfews. Your pup should still have a routine even if that routine is a “new” one.  One thing to watch out for though is how sensitive dogs are to their environment. Just as they can sense storms and earthquakes, they can sense stress, anxiety and fear. Keep a close eye when they approach other dogs and people.

covid and your canine practice social distancing

My friend’s kids decided to take her dog for a walk while she was sleeping and the normally docile pooch bit a neighbor just enough to draw blood. Now, on top of worrying about getting sick, she’ll be saddled with medical bills and the possibility of having to euthanize the family dog.

More than 80 million American households have at least one feline or canine family member.  “Pets are truly an essential part of the family for millions of Americans, and we want to ensure the entire family stays healthy during this time—both mentally and physically,” says RestoraPet CEO Brian Larsen. The organization makes a pet supplement to rehabilitate and protect pets at the cellular level. *

Here are some more tips for pet parents to ensure your four-footed kids stay healthy and happy under quarantine.

10 tips for COVID-19 and your canine:

Stock up on supplies – Dogs don’t use toilet paper but there has been a run on dry dog food at certain big box retailers. Make sure your store has what you need before you venture out. If possible, avoid shopping in person altogether and order food, supplements, medications and toys online. You will want to have at least two weeks and, ideally, four weeks worth of supplies. I often hunt around the web for discount codes for Chewy and PetSmart to save money.

Have a contingency plan – If you get sick or have to leave, choose someone who can care for your pet in your stead. Of course, make sure to let them know they are your go-to person and inform them of any special needs your pet requires. 

Take walks at “off” hours – Most folks are indoors by 8 p.m. but with sunset at 7:30 p.m. you’ll find more than a hour of light to play with. Strap on some reflectors (and grab a headlamp just in case) and take advantage of the stillness. Or wake up before the rest and catch the 7:30 a.m. sunrise.

dog puzzle

Find indoor games or teach them tricks for mental exercise – Consider playing fetch with soft toys, hide and seek, or blowing bubbles for them to chase. Order a puzzle toy or set up an indoor agility course. We just learned how to find treats.

Meter Food –According to a recent Pet Obesity Prevention survey, nearly 60 percent of cats and 56 percent of dogs are considered overweight or obese. With the amount of time we are lounging, it’s easy to overfeed our pets.

Quarantine yourself from pets – There’s no official backing that COVID-19-positive people can pass the virus to their pets but if you do suspect you’re sick, it’s probably best to let others handle your pet or, at the least, limit contact with them as much as possible. If you do pet them, wash your hands both before and after. Don’t kiss or snuggle with them, maybe even wear a face mask if you have one. Dogs do not need masks!

masks on your canine during covid

Plan for medical emergencies – If your pet needs a vet, call ahead so you both aren’t sitting in a public waiting room. Have updated medical records and if you dog likes to wander make sure she’s chipped.

Catching COVID from a Canine? It Depends.

So what’s the answer to whether it’s ok to pet a dog during the COVID-19 Crisis?

If it’s your dog– Love on him all you want. If you get sick, don’t kiss him. Don’t be afraid to let others pet him, just use sanitizer and wash up before you touch him again. 

kissing your own dog

doggy kisses

If it’s someone else’s dog– If the owner is asymptomatic and wishes it, yes; but use hand sanitizer before and after petting, and wash your hands when you get home just in case someone contagious sneezed on him or rubbed him with a non-sanitized hand. No one has been known to have contacted the virus by petting a dog but better safe than sorry.


These are times that test our whole being so take a deep breath and try to relax. Pets pick up on our nervous energy. The best we can do for both of us is to find the calm. Breathe deep, stroke them gently, and make sure to give them your full, undivided attention for at least 15 minutes a day. You’ll both feel the world lighten a little.

snuggling with your dog

Doggy Cuddles


Ski Utah Fifth and Sixth Grade Passports: Get’em While They’re HOT


I’m coming out this season! My best friend in Washington texted. It had been nearly 10 years since we had skied together as instructors at Deer Valley Resort. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take all the credit for this spontaneous announcement.

Ski Utah’s Fifth and Sixth Grade Passport program had a serious hand in the planning.


Since 1998, Ski Utah has been inviting 5th graders to its slopes for next-to-nothing and Jada was finally in 5th grade. Krista wanted to show her daughter what Utah skiing was all about and what better way than with FREE skiing? Well, practically free.


For $49 and the five minutes it takes to fill out the online form, Jada could ski three times at all 15 resorts.* That’s basically $1/ticket. And for one week, we took advantage of every day starting with Deer Valley, moving to Solitude, Canyons, Snowbird, Alta, Brighton and Snowbasin.

Her mom, a high school teacher, does her best to groom her kids to be skiers but resources are finite. With the Passport, it was cheaper to make the drive to Utah, stay with me and ski, than go anywhere else. Plus, let’s be honest. Where else would she have this kind of fun in March? The snow was deep, the sun high and the apres in full swing.  When they packed up the car for home, plans were already growing for the next year because Ski Utah also has a Sixth Grade Passport.

Sixth Graders Too

Whether you missed participating in the Fifth Grade Passport, Ski Utah invites Sixth Graders back to keep skiing on the cheap. This time around, however, they’ll get one day (instead of three) at 15 Utah resorts for $49.

The kicker is that both Passports are available to any child in the world, throughout the ski season. Home schoolers can also register. Plus, the Pass comes with extra perks for parents since they are the ones getting the kids to the slopes. Contact the individual resorts to learn more. mong those are free buddy passes to Powder Mountain and half-off at Alta and Cherry Peak, and $50 tickets to Brighton. They also rental and lesson perks throughout Utah. 

With the prices of everything involved with a ski vacation reaching maximum velocity, the Passport is a golden ring for ski families. I can’t tell you how often I hear that people quit skiing because it costs too much. But then I mention the Passport and their eyes light up. My kids can ski and I don’t have to forgo next month’s groceries? The Snowsports Industries of America actually report that more kids ski and keep skiing because of the Pass.


The Theory Behind The Ski Passport

The idea is simple. Winter is long, especially in Utah. One of the best ways to keep children engaged is to get them outside and moving. Studies show that kids between the ages of 10 and 12 begin to find their passion for skiing because they are ready for more complex sports. They have the motor skills and cognitive ability to explore movements and mountains.

In addition, children this age are also at a crossroads for mental and physical health. Do they sit inside playing video games and smartphone apps or do they embrace something healthier and active? Get them active now and they will be active as adults.

You Don’t Need To Live in Utah

Let’s say it again. If you are considering a winter trip and you have fifth and sixth graders in your midst, a Utah visit is a no brainer. The Fifth and Sixth Grade Passport pays for itself in a single day. You apply online, upload a current photo of the fifth or sixth grader and use your credit card to complete your transaction. You’ll get confirmation within 24-48 hours and can use it immediately after.

How You Know What You’ve Skied

This year’s Passport is completely digital from registration to tracking. See where you’ve gone and what resorts remain to be ridden through your online portal. Chances are you’ll have enough days left for a second vacation.

I’ll probably need to find another reason to get Krista and her family out to Utah now that Jada’s in high school but soon she’ll be in college and Krista can come by herself again.

This kind of makes me sad. You know how you look at your kids and wish they stayed little forever? College. Wow. Ski Utah gives you one more reason to wish they never grow up.

Find more information and to get your kid registered for the Ski Utah Fifth and Sixth Grade Passport go to

*Deer Valley, Solitude, Park City, Alta, Snowbird, Cherry Peak, Snowbasin, Powder Mountain, Sundance, Brighton, Nordic Valley, Eagle Mountain, Beaver, Brian Head, Woodward Park City

Blackout dates exist for holidays and weekends during the 2020/21 season due to Covid restrictions. But you can still use the pass during spring break!

 Disclaimer: Although this post is sponsored by Ski Utah, the words and opinions are solely those of Ski Play Live.   


Winter is Here. Start Your (Snowthrower) Engines!

snowblower prep

It may feel like September in the west but the east is already under the white siege and thinking, “If only we had a few more weeks to prepare.”  We’re never ready for winter; and we’re not just talking about physically. It’s a mechanical issue too. Is your car winterized? Your roof reinforced? Your snowblower armed for action? Here’s your Snowthrower Prep 101.

I got this message from the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) that reminded me to double check the Honda snowblower I picked up at a yard sale this summer. I unloaded my Ariens at the same time. My boyfriend chastised me for making the switch because he planned to “drive it into the ground” and I was “wasting my money.” I got the Honda for $800 and sold the Ariens for $450.

But here’s the thing. You don’t want to be left out in the cold when you realize your trusty blower crapped out in the middle of January. My Ariens rocked for us but bolts and cables were now disintegrating. I had a Honda trackdrive (my Ariens had wheels) first and loved it but Honda came and took it away from me after two seasons of testing. 

When I saw this same beast in the neighborhood, I pounced. Luckily I guess, we still have another week of 50-degree sun in Park City. Snow is forecast for late next week.

“If you’re anticipating bad weather or snow, start the machine and make sure it operates before you need it and before repair shops are busy,” says OPEI President and CEO Kris Kiser. “Gas stations also can close and roads can be treacherous during a winter storm. You want to protect your power by having the right and fresh fuel on hand for your equipment. And, remember, gasoline-powered snow throwers should use E10 or less.” Huh? 🙂

Lessons from the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute 

Have you read your owner’s manual? Read up on safe handling procedures. Review how to operate the controls. You should be able to shut off your equipment quickly. If you lost your manual, you can look it up online, and store a copy on your computer so you have the manual available to reference in the future.

Have you checked your equipment since storing it? Make sure all equipment is completely powered off when checking it over. If you forgot to drain the fuel last winter before storing your snow thrower, drain the gas tank now. Adjust any cables and check the auger when the equipment is powered off.

Snowblower Prep

Is your equipment where you can get to it easily? Move your equipment to a convenient and accessible location, so you can get to it quickly when you need it. 

Have you purchased the right fuel? Be sure to use the correct fuel, as recommended by your equipment’s manufacturer. Place gasoline in a fuel container and label it with the date purchased and the ethanol content of the fuel. Use fresh fuel in your snow thrower as fuel that is more than 30 days old can phase separate and cause operating problems. Make sure fuel is stored safely and out of the reach of children. For more information on fueling properly see

Are you fueling safely? Before you start the engine, fill up the fuel tank on your snow thrower while the engine is cold and outside your home or garage. Never add fuel to a running or hot engine.

Are batteries charged? If using a battery/electric-powered snow-thrower, make sure batteries are fully charged, in case electricity goes out during a winter storm.

Is the area you intend to clear free of obstructions or hidden obstacles? Snow can hide objects. Doormats, hoses, balls, toys, boards, wires, and other debris should be removed from the areas you intend to clear. When run over by a snow thrower, these objects may harm the machine or people.

Are you dressed properly for winter weather? Locate your safety gear now, and place it in an accessible closet or location in your home. Plan to wear safety glasses, gloves and footwear that can handle cold and slippery surfaces.


Do you have a clean out tool or stick? NEVER put your hands inside the auger or chute. Use a clean out tool (or stick) to unclog snow or debris from your snow thrower.

Do you turn off your snow thrower if you need to clear a clog? Always turn off your snow thrower and wait for all moving parts to come to a complete stop before clearing any clogs or debris.

Do you use your snow thrower in visible conditions? Never operate the snow thrower without good visibility or light.

Do you know where your cord is? Use an extension cord that is weather-resistant and designed for outdoor use. If you have an electric-powered snow thrower, be aware of where the power cord is at all times. Avoid tripping. Do not run over the power cord.

Can you aim your snow thrower with care? Not only could you piss off your neighbors by piling snow onto their driveway but that dogs jumping at your fans of snow could get run over. Never throw snow toward people or cars. Do not allow anyone to stand in front of your snow thrower.  Keep children or pets away from your snow thrower when it is operating.

Speaking of which-

Are pets and children inside while the snow thrower is operating? Kids and pets may love to play in the white stuff, but it’s best to keep them inside your home and supervised (by someone else) while you are using your snow thrower to clear a path or driveway. Do not allow them to play in the snow as it is tossed out of the snow thrower’s chute. I fail at this one but I have a smart dog. He gets his exercise this way and I don’t have to take him for a walk after 30 minutes of blowing.

Good luck this winter! I seriously hope you don’t have a driveway like mine but if you do, a trackdrive on your thrower and Blizzak snowtires on your car are the only way to go. 

Snowblower prep

Steep driveway from hell

First Ever Adventure Expo Coming To California

Getting into adventure

Mark your calendar for March 7-8, 2020, because MotorTrend Group has announced the first-ever Four Wheeler Adventure Expo. It’s going to happen in Costa Mesa, Calif., at the OC Fair & Event Center. The consumer event will bring together outdoor lifestyle, off-road and adventure-travel enthusiasts, exhibitors, and experts.

The Four Wheeler Adventure Expo is Four Wheeler Magazine’s new flagship event. This unique event caters to a wide range of adventure-travel enthusiasts who enjoy the backcountry. There’s something for adventurers of all kinds, including off-roaders, hikers, mountain bikers, and rockclimbers. The Expo will host classes and seminars to prepare attendees for their next adventures with travel workshops hosted by the Four Wheeler team and top adventure experts. Fans will be inspired by films at the Travel Theater and by watching expedition driving experts as they host seminars to showcase the skills needed for extreme off-road driving conditions. Attendees can gear up with the latest camping and travel equipment, mountain bikes, and off-road vehicles in the exhibitor midway.

“With the explosion of the adventure-travel market, we’ve aligned Four Wheeler’s new flagship event with this market growth,” said Sean Holman, Content Director, MotorTrend Truck & Off-Road Group. “Off-road and adventure-travel enthusiasts share a common passion for the outdoor lifestyle. Four Wheeler Adventure Expo brings together these communities to explore, learn, and find the gear they need for their upcoming journeys.”

Who’s Producing Adventure Expo

MotorTrend Group will produce this new event in partnership with Lodestone Events, the producers of Overland Expo.

“The Lodestone Events team has produced some of the country’s largest consumer events in the automotive aftermarket industry,” said Michael Deer, Senior Director Automotive Events, MotorTrend Group. “As the producers of the Overland Expo series, Lodestone Events is uniquely positioned in the adventure-travel community to assist in making the Four Wheeler Adventure Expo a huge success.”

Adventure Expo At a Glance

What: Four Wheeler Adventure Expo
When: March 7-8, 2020
Where: OC Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Dr., Costa Mesa, California 92626
Ticket info: Spectator tickets are also available online for $15 in advance and $20 the day of the show at Free admission for kids 12 and under.

Exhibitor space and sponsorship packages are available online now.

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