Eldora, CO Nov 28 & Dec 5 2021

EMSC

Active member
Too busy to post all my days separate or too timely right now. In fact I can only describe Nov 28th as I didn't even have my cell phone camera with me.

Nov 28th was the end of coolish weather so they stopped making snow that AM and never made any the following week. So snow was surprisingly soft and fun as they were still fattening up the open trails that weekend. Eldora had and still has 3 routes off the frontside - that funnel down to only 2 routes on the lower half, plus a couple of short beginner trails. Not a ton, but considering the warm, warm fall not all that shabby compared to many places. I snowboarded both days so as not to bore myself too much with the early season conditions. I might not even bother this year except for Jr being in race training. Speaking of which they also have the short Chute race training trail and poma open already.

It was a VERY warm week between the two dates sometimes going into 70F+ down in Denver. That created a couple of short melt-refreeze sections on flat spots (base around the lift and where windmill/international hook up for example). Surprisingly, it did not seem to have melted much on the north facing terrain that is open. Though things were much firmer due to lots of use, grooming and no new snow. Not icy per say, but definitely on the firm side of things.

Both days were fairly warm, with one less layer than normal for me skiing wise. Both days also had the Eldora wind machine going pretty good to start the day with winds slowly subsiding by early afternoon. Not sure what happened up at altitude on afternoon of Dec 5th and a huge cold front came through dropping front range temps from mid 60's to about freezing in only about 90 minutes. Plenty of wind gusts with that. At least snowmaking is up and running again this week.

I did exactly 10 laps On Nov 28th with my calves not used to boarding (10K vert), then did only 12 laps on Dec 5th due to boredom and a handful of folks trying to go way too fast considering only 3 trails open. Speaking of which, Eldora has been going out of its way to try to educate and station people on the trails on weekends so far to try to keep things safe, but they've had not one, but two unfortunate accidents already this season. Both during the weekdays when almost no one is there. One was a well known ski coach/instructor - Ron LeMaster who worked extensively with the US ski team at various times. Some sort of crash between him and a snowboarder. The second, a single skier hitting trees, probably skiing too fast. Sad for all sorts of reasons of course but also sad for the ski area as they've actually been pro-actively trying to keep things slowed down more than ever this early season. Very weird juxtaposition.

I heard Sat Dec 4th was super crowded, but Sundays have not been bad as yet. Race training has been done early so we've left by ~1:30p each day after an 8:30a on-hill start and no lunch till after.

Firm, but carve-able early...
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Not a lot of snow other than where it was made...
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Bare on E facing, some minimal on N facing
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Perfect snow for racers though...
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jimk

Member
Let us know if you find out any details about the fatal Ron LeMaster collision at Eldora. Very sad!
 

EMSC

Active member
Nothing more than speculation thus far on that incident. Only Ron and the Snowboarder know for sure at this point. Sherriff's office is leading the investigation I believe, but no info from them as yet.

Of course all the speculation is on whomever the snowboarder is. Ron was a very controlled, precise skier, thus the speculation on the snowboarder probably being too fast or out of control or trying to pass or.... But there's no way to really know with no witnesses. Everyone catches an edge or something occasionally, etc... for example. Happened on the Windmill run which is a rather low angle blue trail. Maybe an odd type of fall or something vs pure speed as just a wild guess given the trail? I can say apparently I've never taken a single pic of that trail after looking through tons of Eldora pics.

Probably even more tragic due to family age was the 2nd one. A father of 2 young kids in our race program. He was skiing alone on a Tuesday morning... Patrol found him in the woods. Very dedicated guy who loved skiing and racing.

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Today was quite similar to the past two. Gusty AM wind machine, warmish temps, mostly firm but also mostly carveable snow. The only real change was getting one more lift and route to ski ~10am when they finally were able to open up IP lift. Being fresh it had the best snow of the week. No active snowmaking - too warm - but just barely enough snowmaking weather during the week last week to get it open.

Been a big struggle to get anything going this year. It's mostly not even cold enough at night even now for snowmaking. At best it gets sporadic for snowmaking.

At the turn to Lower ambush
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LONG way to go for Upper Ambush!
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EMSC

Active member
Adding pics of Windmill, the trail where Ron LeMaster either hit or was hit by a Snowboarder... Apparently the first time I've ever posted pics of this particular trail. I have not heard anything about if rocks or trees were involved, but you'd think that would have been mentioned if so.

Looking up the "steeper?" upper 1/4 portion (its not steep, barely Blue square)
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The even mellower lower 3/4 of the trail with a literal short flat section at the bottom. A challenging trail it is not.
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EMSC

Active member
While I have several more days on-hill at Eldora, there is just nothing overly notable to write up as it's own TR. Only a few more trails are open due to ongoing warmth more often than not. YTD as of Dec 23 they had reported less than 2 feet of total natural snowfall. Combined with the warmth and it's been probably the most challenging early season ever for Eldora. Hopefully that will change a bit with the western storm train for the next week+, but that's a bit doubtful as the wind direction is generally the worst possible for Eldora (coming from SW or W all the time is not very productive this far to the NE of all the mtn ranges). Plus of course that they are starting with essentially nothing on the ground at all.

My son is off for two weeks for the holidays and the race team loads lifts anywhere from 60-90 minutes ahead of the public so I'm there very early most days. Here are a couple of shots you only get when parked super early am and in the front row... My wife likes the first one better.

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Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
The percents of terrain open at most Colorado areas yesterday were as low as Christmas 2011-12. Fortunately that's expected to change with continuous storms over the next week. The holiday week may still be limited but January should be much better.
 
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