I was hoping I would never have to write those words.
I just got off the phone with Marla Emde of Emde Sports and the Spokane Regional Sports Commission. USA Cycling chose Bend, OR over Spokane citing stronger “Community support” for the event in Bend. Say what?
According to Marla USA Cycling wasn’t asking for a big rally of community support in their site visit, they communicated that their primary concern was for their athletes experience. Emde says that’s what the SRSC concentrated on athlete experience in the site visit. But the USA Cycling folks flew in the night before our big 19″-in-24 hours snowstorm. Could that have affected their decision? They announced Bend as the site just a few days later on December 23rd. (more…)
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Jonckers skiing in Idaho.
In case you haven’t heard about the avalanche threat in the backcountry here’s a report from OTM writer Jon Jonckers:
I can tell you first-hand from backcountry skiing in the Selkirks above Priest Lake (near the Sundance Burn),
these are the worst avalanche conditions I have ever seen. And it seems they’re only getting worse.
The north Idaho mountains didn’t have much of a ‘base’ before this massive cycle of storms. Conditions took a turn for the worse with the super cold, ultra-light, snowfall a week before Christmas followed by the monster day-after-day blizzards. Every backcountry user – snowshoers, snowmobilers, cross country or alpine skiers – should all use extreme caution on steep open slopes.
Mira Copeland, Forrest Copeland, and Ben Engler prepare for a run on the bluff. // Photo Gerry Copeland.
I know some of you are doing it, I can see those lines driving 195. Here’s some pics and a report from our What’s Your Gear? columnist Mira Copeland:
We decided to kick off the season with some renegade skiing off Highland
Bluff. Not sure how legal it is to ski this route, but we certainly weren’t
the only ones doing it! Two feet of perfectly light, untouched powder just
minutes, (steps even, for those lucky enough to live on High Drive) from
your front door is not to be ignored, especially while you’re on vacation
for the holidays. The runs weren’t long (we had to go twice), but the hill
is steep, the snow was deep, and the outrun was a piece of cake! Sure beats
staying home to play another round of yahtzee by the fire!
Send us your urban skiing pics and stories. I saw two snowmobiles speeding down Riverside, downtown, the Thursday before Christmas. Does anybody have pictures of that?
Too much snow. // Photos by Jon Jonckers.
I saw a forecast today that predicted light snow and a high of 18. I thought to myself “Pretty sweet. I’ll take that.” That’s what kind of week it’s been. Thank God for the bus. I’m sick of driving my car in this weather, mostly because of the poor driving from other drivers. What make’s people think that a front-wheel drive Civic is going to get them anywhere on unplowed streets? And what gives with all the delivery trucks without chains? My buddy John hooked me up with the perfect snow bike: fixed gear, knobby tires, and flat handlebar. It eats up snow. But I haven’t been able to ride it much because the streets with little traffic have too much loose snow even for this beast, and the streets with the nice packed powder are filled with drivers who tool around town like they have never seen a snowstorm before. So today I’m happy to be on the bus. “Worry about the direction your schizophrenia medication is going?” is the fast ad I read when I sit down in my seat. I love the bus but that kind of stereotyping gives it a bad name. Check out these cool photos Jon Jonckers sent in. (more…)
The hardest part about driving may be getting out of your driveway. // Photo Jon Snyder
Here’s bunch of things related to the storm:
- STA service is beginning to be restored today. Routes 23, 24, 25, 73 and 90 will have partial service. See the STA website for more details. This could be a great way to get around if you live near these lines.
- All five local ski resorts are open with lush conditions–just call ahead for road conditions. Mt. Spokane reports that Mt. Spokane Park Drive has been plowed all the way to the top.
- All local Post Office buildings are open today with the exception of Downtown Riverside branch (PO boxes are accessible but window service is closed.)
- If you are cross country skiing or telemarking to get around be careful. We took the whole family out XC skis yesterday and had to be very careful dodging traffic. It was safer to be on sidewalks sometimes because the powder was too deep on the shoulders and their were an abundance of incredibly bad drivers on the roads. I saw a lot of young drivers getting stuck in small front wheel-drive cars or driving fast and out-of-control in SUVs. Other drivers may be the biggest danger on the roads right now.
- As reported here yesterday Mountain Gear, Spokane Alpine Haus, and Wild Walls are all open and I expect more stores to open today. Please patronize our advertisers who have worked hard to stay open during the storm!
- Governor Gregoire’s new budget has been released and it includes tons of cuts and some stimulus spending on education infrastructure on the Eastside of the state. No word on state stimulus for transportation projects, including active transportation. As for Federal stimulus for transportation projects Obama’s stimulus plan is now up to 850 billion. He has reportedly chosen Illinois Republican Ray LaHood for transportation secretary. It will be interesting to see if the increased stimulus amount or the choice of LaHood will benefit active transportation projects in the nation or in Spokane.
- Colder weather is coming tomorrow. Don’t let your pipes freeze!
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Photo courtesy of KREM 2.
Ok, so the schools may be closed because of record snowfall, but what about the important things–like outdoor gear stores? OTM has been calling our local shops to see who is open today so far we have confirmed:
- Mountain Gear OPEN at regular time
- Spokane Alpine Haus OPEN at regular time
- Wild Walls OPEN at 10AM
Please say thanks to these businesses for being open on a day when getting cold weather gear could be crucial! But if you go OTM suggests you ski, not drive. We’ll report more openings and closings as we get them and, hey, let’s be careful out there.
Highbridge Park Cross race, Spokane WA, 2007. // Photo John Speare.
Dare to dream. This week USA Cycling is scouting two Northwest cities two decide which town will host the 2009 National Championships. It’s down to Spokane, Washington vs. Bend, Oregon–which is funny because Bend isn’t fit to lube our chains. Spokane has better hotels, a better airport, and more bike shops. Plus, the best potential location being forwarded the Spokane Regional Sports Commission is Riverfront Park! Do I need to express how cool that would be? An announcement of the host city is expected in less than 4 weeks. If you see someone who looks like they are from USA Cycling in town this week please tell them you’ll name your first-born “Chainring” if they bring this event to town.
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This cool bike chain picture frame is something we saw at Kizuri, located at 35 W. Main in the Community Building. Kizuri is a unique new shop in downtown Spokane with a focus on social, economical and environmental sustainability. Kizuri can also order neat bike chain bracelets too (but they probably won’t come in time for Christmas. The picture frames are in stock.)
Cool Stuff |
A rig from last year’s December ride. // Photo courtesy Jeff, FBC.
The first big snowstorm of the year is being predicted for tonight. If you think that will slow tonight’s FBC Full Moon Festivus Fiasco bike ride you would be wrong. Calling all intrepid souls with functional fenders on their bikes; meet tonight at the Swamp Tavern at 8pm. Bonus points for decorating your bike and dressing up. Personally, I’m working on seeing how large I can make my bike’s carbon footprint. If snow riding is not your thing 49, Lookout, and Schweitzer all open this weekend, the Jingle Bell Run takes place tomorrow at 9AM in Riverfront Park, and if we’re lucky you can cross country ski out your front door on Saturday.
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