The Interesting and Interested Life of Vail’s Bob Parker Remembered

Bob Parker, a man of many seasons, was crucial in Vail’s early successes

A poet published in New Yorker and archaeologist, too

by Allen Best

Robert Ward Parker, a veteran of the famed 10th Mountain Division who returned to Colorado to become an integral figure in the post-World War II ski industry, died June 29 in Grand Junction, Colo. He was 94.

Much of his life was involved with skiing, from his childhood in New York and Wisconsin to training for mountain warfare in the Alps. Later, after working as a mountain guide and a ski journalist, he helped create the Vail ski area.

At Vail, which opened in 1962, his marketing efforts to draw the world’s attention were so successful that only a decade later it was the favored mountain resort for Gerald Ford even before he became the U.S. president. Parker also helped create a second ski area, Beaver Creek during a time of increasing environmental scrutiny.

If his greatest accomplishments were in skiing, he led a life so diverse that his poetry was published in the New Yorker and later in life he pursued a master’s degree in archaeology.

Parker first skied as an 11-year-old in Rochester, N.Y., using boots strapped to skis, the technology of the time. Three years later, in Wisconsin, he used the first toe-iron, heel- strap bindings, similar to those used today by telemark skiers. Safety release bindings didn’t come until much later. The following year, in 1938, he rode a ski lift for the first time, at Rib Mountain, Wis.

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‘Downhill Racer’ and the Baffling Absentee Legacy of Winter Olympics Movies

Forty-five years ago, Joe Jay Jalbert was slicing through the ruts and down the mountains of Kitzbühel, Austria, with a 15-pound 35-millimeter camera strapped to his shoulder and a pair of Head alpine skis riveted to his feet. From his vantage point, all that could be seen were slalom markers growing closer in our sight line and then disappearing like apparitions, the little red tips of those skis poking out as they cleave the hardened snow. It is a terrifying, electrifying point of view — the fastest, truest representation of racing down a mountain I’ve seen in a Hollywood film. Jalbert, then a 19-year-old former member of the U.S. national ski team, had never held a camera before, never acted, and knew next to nothing about the film industry. But he had the skiing expertise, a stuntman’s fearlessness, and the youthful foolishness to be the crash test dummy on the set of the one truly great movie set against the Winter Olympics. That movie is Downhill Racer, the 1969 drama written by the novelist James Salter, directed by Michael Ritchie, and starring Robert Redford. It should be a hallmark of sports cinema. Come Olympic time, it is again mostly forgotten.

Downhill Racer-Skiing-HP

Downhill Racer was the first of many self-mythologizing films about gifted and taciturn men that Redford made in his career. It was also the very first he shepherded through the development stage, through flaky directors (Roman Polanski was in, then out), with a cantankerously artful writer (Salter is a poet and a crank), and ultimately to the funding stage, where he cajoled $1 million out of Charles Bluhdorn, the blunt, crude head of Gulf and Western, by teasing him with 15 minutes of ski crash footage. Jalbert suffered his fair shares of crashes for Redford and Ritchie — that’s him in the movie wiping out, skis flipping over his head and snapping off, being carted off to a helicopter in the film’s earliest sequence. (“Are they still filming?” he groggily asked after taking out three onlookers in the crowd.) But that’s not what Downhill Racer is; it’s no crash-and-smash ski-bunny soap. It’s a psychodrama about a cold, monomaniacally driven pretty boy named David Chappellet on a collision course with an Olympic gold medal at the ’68 Games in Grenoble. Redford’s Chappellet anticipated Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods and every other ruthlessly ambitious winner in American sports — that’s what the actor set out to create. A portrait in cold blood. Downhill Racer was meant to be the first in Redford’s Winning Trilogy — Part 2, the dead-eyed 1972 political satire The Candidate (also directed by Ritchie), was as far as they’d get, leaving the trio unfinished. Chappellet is unfeeling for his competitors, unkind to his teammates, and destructively selfish on the slopes. His coach is an obstacle. The mountain is a myth. He goes for the proverbial it all the time, and whines when he doesn’t get his way. He’s a wonderful asshole, a chiseled model for the self-consumed champions that came after him.


Source: ‘Downhill Racer’ and the Baffling Absentee Legacy of Winter Olympics Movies

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USSA announces World Cup plan


The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) is moving forward with plans to host Audi FIS Ski World Cup stops at Killington Resort and Beaver Creek Resort during the 2017-18 season. Both resorts are part of a comprehensive USSA event calendar that will be presented to the International Ski Federation during its annual meetings next month in Portoroz, Slovenia.

“Killington and Beaver Creek are both dedicated partners who, along with Aspen and Squaw Valley, have demonstrated their commitment to showcasing our athletes and growing the sport of alpine ski racing,” said USSA President and CEO Tiger Shaw. “We’ve seen strong performances from our athletes at both venues and look forward to giving them the opportunity to ski on home snow as they vie for their Olympic spots.”

USSA saw strong athletic performances, fan attendance and TV audiences throughout its four U.S. World Cup stops in 2016-17, culminating with World Cup Finals in Aspen, one of the biggest showcases of ski racing the U.S. outside of the World Championships. The event at Killington was the first World Cup in New England in over 20 years, drawing more than 30,000 spectators over the course of two days and providing U.S. Ski Team athletes the opportunity to engage with skiers and fans in the New England skiing community. The proposed agreement between the resort and USSA includes World Cup stops in both 2017-18 and 2018-19.

“Our partnership with Killington and POWDR to bring ski racing back to the East Coast produced one of the most successful event weekends we’ve seen,” said Calum Clark, USSA’s vice president of events. “The Killington team worked tirelessly to put on a great event inspire thousands of young athletes. The prospect of returning for events during and after the Olympic season gives us the opportunity to further build on that success and grow the event’s impact.”

Source: USSA announces World Cup plan

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Finally! I Found my Boots

I went with a pair of last years Atomic Hawx 110. Got a slightly high volume foot that’s a bit wider than the norm, but can’t see going to a huge boat of a boot and want a traditional 2 piece shell design? The Atomic Hawx Magna 110 Ski Boots are calling your name. Atomic s new 102 mm last is roomy and relaxed, but if you need even more width the Magna 110 has Memory Fit capability, meaning your shop can heat mold the boot itself (not just the liner) for a truly custom fit that will keep your foot Magna happy. Three forward lean options and a new 3M™ Thinsulate™ liner keep your stance dialed and your feet warm in the most heinous of weather. In the past, the options for wide feet have been to go big or go down to the lodge; now with the Hawx Magna Series you can skip both.



Last: 102 mm Wide – Wider 102 mm forefoot width with taller than average instep height.

Memory Fit – The shell, cuff and liner of Memory Fit boots can be heat molded for a completely custom fit. The molding process is simple and permanent, and can add up to 6 mm of forefoot width and 10 mm of ankle width.

Size Adjuster – With Atomic’s new Size Adjuster, you can now add or remove a half size to a boot when you need it.


Flex: 110 – A medium-stiff 110 flex for advanced skiers.

Power Shift – Forward flex can be adjusted + or – 10 flex points.


Atomic Silver Liner – Super comfortable liner with Dynashape foam around the ankle area.

3M™ Thinsulate™ Insulation – The use of very thin insulating fibers allows Thinsulate™ to trap more warm air with a thinner layer, even in extremely cold conditions.


Shell / Cuff – Polyurethane

Memolink – Memolink is a special plastic additive that enhances the moldability and elasticity of Atomic Memory Fit boots.


Power Shift – Forward lean can be adjusted to 13˚, 15˚ or 17˚ by moving the power control up or down.

Adjustable Cuff Alignment

1 mm Offset Shell – Truer Stance

3˚ Shell Rotation

Flat Bottom Chassis


6000 Series Aluminum Buckles


45 mm Power Strap


  • Ability Level:Intermediate-AdvancedMore 
  • Ski Boot Flex:Stiff
  • Flex Index:110
  • Forefoot Width:102 mm
  • Boot Sole Type:Alpine DIN (ISO 5355)
  • Includes Tech Fittings:No
  • Number of Buckles:4
  • Warranty:2 YearsMore 
Size 25.5 26.5 27.5 28.5 29.5 30.5 31.5
Indiv. Boot Weight (g) 2115
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Mammoth Mountain Plans to Stay Open until Fourth of July Thanks to More Snow

You’ll be skiing at Mammoth Mountain at least until the Fourth of July. That’s the word from the Eastern Sierra resort, which had accumulated about 35 feet of snow at the main lodge by Friday and counting. The forecast for the weekend: more snow Saturday with a high of 23. Clearing was expected by Sunday, according to Mammoth’s website.

Source: Mammoth Mountain Plans to Stay Open until Fourth of July Thanks to More Snow

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Ski Racing Discipline’s Explained — On Edge

In my last post I explained the basics of ski racing. I now want to dive into the different disciplines or events of ski racing. Those comprise of Slalom (SL), Giant Slalom (GS), Super G (SG), and Downhill (DH). Those are the basic events, but there are also different events such as Parllel slalom and […]

via Ski Racing Discipline’s Explained — On Edge

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FIS Launches Manual For Newbie World Cup Organisers

FIS has released a new World Cup Organising Manual for use across all disciplines. From sport competition to event production, it will serve as a resource to support the development of any World Cup, ensuring operational consistency in the planning and execution.

The manual has been designed to be used by any Organiser to assist in running a world class World Cup event. An Organiser will be able to highlight what key areas should be prioritised and what functions require adaptation to fit the specific country and event needs. It provides user-friendly guidance to Organising Committees and serves as an interactive working document that will help with the evolution of new and existing World Cups.

The manual offers a range of solutions through concrete digital materials such as existing FIS documents, experienced LOC feedback, recommended operational structure, checklists, and templates.

It can be viewed and downloaded here.

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And the winner is….Atomic!

OK I’ve spent the better part of a year researching all the gear for my entry into the world of USSA Masters ski racing. I’ll be buying up used Downhill, Super G, GS and Slalom skis as I find them. Some good prices out there on used or new old stock Elan’s and Volkls and I’m dying to get some Blossoms or Stocklis but one step at a time. After all the research, boot fittings and review reading I’ve made a decision to go with all Atomic boots, skis, bindings and poles.

Boot: Redster Pro 120


Fit: medium to narrow fit, roomy toe box, custom moulded foot shape

The latest version of the Redster Pro 120 brings athlete proven technology to advanced and expert skiers. Memory Fit means the shell can be custom moulded in-store to better match the skier’s feet, improving comfort, foot hold and ultimately performance. The asymmetric Gold Liner uses Dynashape for longevity as well as heat mouldable foam with a firm, responsive fit. This combination of personalised liner and shell means a precise fit and a very comfortable one because the customised shape creates an even all-over pressure without hotspots. The Offset Shell increases control and the Carbon Spine provides power and precision by stiffening the rear of the cuff without affecting the sensitivity required from the front of the boot. This is race-inspired, high-performance precision skiing minus all the nastiness that comes from ultra-stiff, super-tight race models.

Primary Ski – REDSTER XTI + XT 12 – 176 cm

redster-xti.pngThe XTi is a hard-snow, high-speed hybrid GS/SL carving machine for frustrated racers who love to arc. Not quite as heavy as the Redster Doubledeck, it’s still reinforced with two full sheets of vibration-dampening metal, but lacks the elaborate Doubledeck secondary core. Nor is it as expensive as the Doubledeck, retailing for about $150 less. It comes with a 12-DIN Atomic binding, stout enough for the heaviest chargers and the highest speeds. The Redster collection includes three models of race-inspired carvers for hard-snow technicians who love speed and g forces. They’re built for maximum heft, dampness, edge grip and high-speed stability-performance just shy of an actual FIS-legal race ski, with a bit of all-mountain versatility for recreational carvers. All are built on dense wood cores with metal reinforcement for high-speed calm and powerful sidewall constructions for optimal hard-snow edge grip. The top of the line Doubledeck 3.0 is traditionally cambered for maximum edge bite tip to tail; the XT models feature a tiny bit of tip rocker for slightly looser, featherable Ligety-like turn entries. All feature a sidecut radius that splits the difference between slalom and GS (XT stands for Cross Turn)-ideal for the typical beer-league course set.

Poles – Atomic Redster 12 XT – 120cm

polesThe Atomic Redster 12 XT race ski pole is made from high-grade aluminum – super strong but also really lightweight. And it features a 50mm Race Disc, an AMT Grip that combines comfort, vibration dampening and strong handling, plus a wide neoprene strap. Available in colors that match our Redster XT ski series, the 12 XT is a top pole for all high-performance skiing.






That will me my main gear setup this year for training and Nastar races. Now any Atomic reps out there want to hook a guyt up??

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Slovenian surprises by winning first Lake Louise downhill

Overcast skies, dropping temperatures, and flat light were on hand for the opening women’s World Cup downhill in Lake Louise, Alberta, on Friday as fans were treated to a surprise first-time winner. Twenty-six-year-old Slovenian Ilka Stuhec took the victory with a time of 1:45.48 seconds, 0.22 seconds ahead of second place finisher Sofia Goggia of Italy and 0.31 seconds clear of Kajsa Kling of Sweden in third.

Early on in the day’s action, the always threatening Lara Gut of Switzerland looked to be on track for another World Cup win as she comfortably held onto the lead from bib seven until Kling pushed out of the gate with number 17. Kling managed to best Gut at every interval and crossed the line with 0.38 seconds of an advantage and was poised to take her first World Cup win until two dark horses lurking deep in the top-30 starters took to the course.

Seemingly out of nowhere, Goggia, who had just claimed her first World Cup podiumlast week in Killington, was threatening Kling’s intermediate times out of bib 28 and managed to squeak by with 0.09 seconds to spare as the energetic Italian collapsed in a heap of emotion in the finish.

Ladies’ World Cup speed action kicked off in the Great White North.

Source: Slovenian surprises by winning first Lake Louise downhill

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