I’ve always believed in working with a competent car mechanic.

The same applies to a well-trained bootfitter. Many older skiers experience boot issues, and a good fitter can help overcome them. Masterfit is in the business of training people to fit ski boots. Their instructors include pedorthists, professionals with specialized training to modify footwear and employ supportive devices to address conditions which affect the feet and lower limbs. Graduates of Masterfit University populate ski shops around the nation and abroad. They can be located at bootfitters.com, which lists elite ski shops specializing in bootfitting.

Recently, in Masterfit’s typically low-key manner, the organization trained 275 REI employees in the skill of fitting ski boots. Most of them work in REI stores throughout the West, but employees from REI’s Soho (NYC), Framingham (Mass.) and Minneapolis stores also participated. Clearly, REI is upping its game when it comes to professional boot fitting. It will help them provide more complete service to REI members (Is there anyone reading this who is not an REI member?).

I remember being in a chain sporting goods store in midtown Manhattan several years ago where a salesperson with ZERO experience fitting boots was “helping” a customer with ZERO ski experience purchase ski boots. My tongue still hurts from biting so hard.

With this new development, boot shoppers can go to REI, seek out one of the people who went through Masterfit training, and proceed to get fitted with confidence.

Southern Utah Redux

Bear’s Ears. Courtesy: Chicago Tribune

Reader Alan Cort commented on last week’s piece about Patagonia‘s position against the administration’s reduction of Bear’s Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments:

In regards to Bear’s Ears, also a shout out to Black Diamond, maker of a lot of really good outdoor equipment.  The following is from their latest customer email: Nearly 60% of our country’s climbing areas lie on federal public lands. We repeat, over HALF of our nation’s beautiful, wild crags are on public lands. That’s just one reason why we, at Black Diamond, believe that public lands should stay in public hands, and also why we strongly support the designation of Bears Ears as a National Monument.  Think how many ski areas, especially in the West, operate on federal public lands; ones that I’m sure every SeniorSkiing reader has a special attachment to.

Thanks for making that point, Alan.

One of the issues in southern Utah, where these monuments are located, is that county commissioners and state officials are opposed to Federal land ownership. They think they can manage these vast areas more effectively. Among other goals, they want to create a handful of jobs by opening these beautiful wilderness resources to the extraction industries (A uranium mining company is reported to have pressured the White House to reduce Bears Ears.) Last weekend, we visited Goblin Valley State Park, a wonderful area filled with human scale hoodoos. The State of Utah manages the park. Trails are ill-defined, people can walk wherever they choose, signage is virtually non-existent. By comparison, we hiked Arches National Park the day before, where all systems and operations were efficient and well run. The Utah locals seeking control of Federal lands are amateurs who don’t accept the idea that their backyards belong to all citizens.


Santa-costumed skiers and boarders will participate in Mountain High’s annual Santa Sunday this weekend. The event raises funds for Protect Our Winters (POW), the climate change advocacy group for the snow sports community. Registration requires minimum $20 donation to POW. Receipt can be exchanged for a day ticket. Visit Santa Sunday for details.


Aspen Highlands opens Saturday with limited terrain. Pray for snow!!!!


Maine resorts received 21″ of natural. Time to head north!

New York

Many upgrades at Whiteface and Gore (lodge expansions, upgraded snowmaking/grooming, etc.).

Lake Placid hosts World Cup Luge this weekend, FIS 2018 Freestyle World Cup aerials competition (Jan. 19-20), Empire State Winter Games (Feb. 1-4), USCSA Ski & Snowboard Championships (March 4-10), Lake Placid Nordic Festival and Loppet (March 18), and ECAC Hockey Men’s D1 Championships (March 16-17).

If you’re in the neighborhood the weekends of Jan 19 and 26, drop by The Sagamore Resort‘s (Bolton Landing) and hoist one at its Glacier Ice Bar & Lounge, featuring nine tons of carved ice.

The Saranac Lake Winter Carnival is Feb. 2-11 and features a massive Ice Palace. The palace tradition dates to 1898. They feature tunnels and mazes and are decorated with flags, ice furniture and sculpture.

New this year is the Adirondack Snowshoe Fest ,Feb. 24 -25 in Saranac Lake. Races are scheduled for all levels. Lots of surrounding entertainment to take off the chill.


Mt Tremblant reports recent snowfall and perfect snowmaking temps resulting in opening of all 4 sides of the mountain by end of weekend. 60 runs to be available! If you’re planning to visit over the holidays, don’t miss La Famille Grelot (December 23 -31), a feisty family of singing, dancing and acrobatic elves in the pedestrian village.


Salt Lake City is promoting itself as an “apres cultural mecca” while skiing the state’s nearby iconic resorts. There’s theater, dance, classical music, jazz, professional sports, and art and natural history museums. More at Ski City USA.


Some resorts received as much as 24″ of fresh this week. Current trail conditions and weather alerts at SkiVermont.com; resort information, deals and events at Resort Finder.



R.I.P. Bruce Brown, the documentarian who brought us The Endless Summer and On Any Sunday died earlier this week in Santa Barbara. He was 80. For many of our generation, his surfing films and motorcycle films stirred a fantasy of the possible.



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  1. Patty Elliott says:

    Hey Guys,
    Check out Holiday Valley in Western New York. We are open with plenty of snowmaking and lake effect snow.
    Steve Crowley is the Outdoor Mountain Manager. His snowmaking crew do a great job. Currently, they are stockpiling snow everywhere in anticipation of heavy skier traffic during he Christmas holiday weeks!
    Give him a call at 716-699-2345 and ask for his department. He can verify.

  2. Agreed that good boot fitting is essential. If you need to find a good one, just ask any instructor. I have been teaching for over 20 years and all of is have our boots custom fit (you have to when you spend as much time in them as we do). Just ask. We are always willing to recommend our favorites as well as the ones we know about from our fellow teachers.

  3. The federal gov’t already owns about 40% of western land. No national monument was eliminated in Utah the only change is that land that had added to the monument you cited reverted to country ownership. It was created near end of the Obama adminstration by executive order was removed, trimming the monument back to what it had been a little over a year ago.

    I don’t want mining near Yellowstone where I live (and fortunately the move has been stopped but not by the feds), but I am horrified by the crowds there. Tourism is not an unmitigated good if your actual objective is conservation. Yellowstone in peak tourist season has air quality poorer than some medium sized US cities.

    What we don’t need in the Rocky Mountain west is urbanites telling us how to live. Skiing on lift served terrain with 20,000 of your closest friends on man made snow does not an environmentalist make. So just exactly now good for the environment are hundreds of condos, giant hotels, snow making, chair lifts and vast parking lots?

    I grew up loving the Flint Hills of Kansas which comprise 98% of the remaining tall grass prarie in North America. In the 70’s there was a significant push to create a national park there. We opposed it because the result would have been hotels, lodges, interpretive centers and road construction. A national preserve followed with no new construction of buildings and no roads. Now if we can just keep the damn windfarms and resulting transmission lines from spoiling views we’ll retain something priceless.

    I love to ski, but I see what skiing does to the land including federally owned forests, so I find a skiing website bitching about a relatively minor change to a national monument disingenuous. And climbers? Don’t even go there, seen pictures of the Everest base camp lately? Or talk to a Coloradan about the mess that’s been made by the desire to bag 14’ers many of which are on federal land? Or, perhaps talk to someone who really loves Yosemite about the rock climbing and the crowds. John Muir would be crying if he saw what’s happened, his native Scottish Highlands are better preserved. Buying a lift ticket or shopping at REI doesn’t make an environmentalist.

    The entire idea that only the feds can undertake conservation and do it well is utterly ridiculous. That said there is much people who like to play in the mountains can do to reduce the environmental impact of skiing, Fewer 15000 square foot trophy homes lived in 14 days a year wouldn’t be a bad place to start. So if you want to preach about the environment here how about talking about making skiing lower impact?

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