Friday, July 31, 2015

The Olympic Comedy

Beijing, with all of its power, money and influence has finally grabbed the winter games. After the legit “snow countries” dropped off like flies in the selection process showing that the Olympics is becoming the exclusive province of totalitarian regimes. Is it the beginning of the end of the IOC?

One would hope so. Perhaps Pope Francis should now meddle and bring some order to this corrupt system, or the world should simply accept that the once pristine dream has finally run its course...

Thursday, July 30, 2015

New Park City branding

Yesterday, with much fanfare, Vail unveiled Park City Mountain's new name and new logo, marking th fusion of Park City and Canyons.

I liked its simplicity: It just said “Park City”, but wasn't too sure about the logo, another squiggly form used by Canyons and supposed to represent a juxtaposition of canyons, but suggesting to most the infinity symbol.

I personally don't care much for that logo and feels strongly that the folks in charge were lazy and should have done a much better job.
Don't get me wrong, the name “Park City” is just perfect, but the font is bland and logo looks like a recycled after-thought. I don't believe it will last long!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Me? Learning? At my age?

For years, I wanted to learn Spanish, but I couldn't muster the willpower to get back into the drudgery of learning something new.

Today, I hope that I'll be able to get some traction in grab the basics in the tongue of Cervantes. I've found a great interactive tool called Duolingo, a free language-learning platform that includes an app along with a translation platform, and a language testing system.

The project, started in Pittsburgh by Carnegie Mellon University professor Luis von Ahn, is ad-free, covers 23 languages, and is available on the Web or on as a smart-phone app. Try it and you'll love it.
As for me, if it's so good, I won't have any excuse if I don't see my goal through! To be continued...

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Is religion supposed to kill?

At different times, some religions seem more dangerous than others. Currently, extremist Muslims are giving Islam a very black eye. This said, this religion's leaders seem to be doing very little to distant themselves from the crazies that say the Coran told them so.

It was probably the same when colonialists were “converting” natives after invading their countries and forcing them into submission or when the Crusaders were hitting on Arabs in the middle ages. Instead of these extremes, religions should be all about love, compassion and mercy, but too many religious zealots continue to push division, discrimination and racism.

Then, if religion doesn't always kill it often hurts. The pedophilia epidemic in the catholic church is another example. Religion also loves to control minds, instill guilt and brainwash kids! Perhaps Ennio Montesi, the italian atheist writer said it best: “Kill your religion before it kills you!”

Monday, July 27, 2015

Connecting the dots...

This week a powerful Kaman K-Max chopper was busy moving towers and gear to the area where the new gondola connecting Park City and Canyons will soon ferry skiers. 
This is the first concrete step in a long awaited linkage between Utah's ski areas. Let's hope that when the ski public can experience unrestricted roaming over almost 7,500 acres, they'll ask for even more, and other ski resorts will follow.

After all, as Lao Tzu used to say, isn't it true that a thousand mile journey always start with one single step?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Ian Ferguson, 1936 – 2015

On July 14, Ian Ferguson passed away after a long battle with cancer. Ian was born in New England, skied for the University of Vermont and taught skiing at nearby Stowe.

In 1961 he became a rep for the Head Ski Company and worked his way inside to become product manager and national sales manager. In 1969, he moved West to Colorado to become director of sales for Lange ski boots. For a short time, Ian rejoined the Head Ski Company before becoming a media rep for Ski Magazine in 1974.

I got to know Ian when I came to the United States, attended major ski industry functions and bought media from him in the 80's and 90's when I moved out West. If there's one thing that was crystal-clear with Ian, it was his passion for skiing. I still remember a wet, snowy March day when we skied Jupiter in Park City in the mid 90s and had lunch at my house.

The deeper the snow, the steeper the slope, the wider his grin! He retired in 1999 and the last time we talked on the phone was on October 13, 2009. Happy trails into the wide blue yonder, my friend!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Happy Birthday Loulou!

My good friend Loulou Kneubuhler lives in Spokane, Washington and is turning 72 today. He's one of those quintessential Frenchmen who, in the sixties, went all around the world proselytizing the French ski technique on the heels of the French ski team impressive victories.

From his young stomping grounds in St Jean de Maurienne, Savoie (a part of the Alps that isn't really France), where he raced with Jean-Claude Killy as school boy, Loulou first landed in 1966 at Spout Springs, a tiny Oregon ski area prior to coaching at White Pass near Yakima, and before stopping for good in Spokane during the winter of 1968-69. In between, he found time to explore Australia and “sell” a few more turns at Mt. Buffalo, not far from Melbourne.

Back in Spokane, he eventually opened up a ski repair shop in 1973 and the rest would be history. “Loulou’s of Spokane Ltd” was set to become a trendsetting store where the best brands in fashion and equipment were offered to the ski public.

Of course, Loulou was also one of my retailers when I sold him gear during my days in the ski business and I'll never forget his inventiveness, wheeling his paperwork and catalogs in a carrying box around the Las Vegas ski show, long before luggage on wheels was invented.

After selling his shop a few years ago, Loulou still had the stamina to open up a ski museum at his original ski chalet in Spokane. So here you have it, Loulou has an unstoppable passion for skiing, and 72 perfect turns deserve at least another 28 great ones. If we follow his dedication, we may all finally become - as his TV commercials once said - “a Loulou of a skier!”