Early season conditions exist; beware of unmarked obstacles.
Early season. Obstacles. Especially in the backcountry. Enough said.
The resort season for skiing and snowboarding in New Mexico buckles up this week.
Sipapu in Taos County is scheduled to be the first to open - Saturday.
Red River is targeting a Nov. 25 opening. Taos and Ski Santa Fe and hoping to open Thanksgiving Day.
A limited number of Colorado resorts are up and running with several more scheduled to open around Thanksgiving
weekend - snow conditions permitting.
Wolf Creek, bolstered by 28 inches of snow in last weekend's storm, has the most terrain open in the state at 100
By midweek, the Wolf Creek midway snow depth was 40 inches. Six of seven lifts are operating.
And, it's all open ... Water Fall, Alberta Peak, Knife Ridge, Horseshoe Bowl.
Other Colorado resorts open, with extremely limited terrain, are Arapahoe Basin, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Loveland, Keystone and Winter Park. Vail and Eldora are scheduled to open today.
Speaking of Copper Mountain, the U.S. Alpine Ski Team has been training there this week.
The U.S. men will head to Lake Louise, Alberta, to race Thanksgiving weekend.
The women will compete in the annual Winternational Women's World Cup races in Aspen on Nov. 28-29.
The men's and women's teams will race at Beaver Creek on Dec. 3.
The man known by many as the "best skier in the world" will be inducted into the National Ski and Snowboard Hall of
Fame. Doug Coombs, a legendary backcountry skier and a former racer for Montana State University, was selected to the
national honor this year.
A renowned skier and Teton Mountains guide, Coombs died three years ago trying to rescue a friend during a skiing
accident in France. He was 48.
Coombs helped to open controlled access to the backcountry in the Jackson area. He also won the World Extreme Skiing
Championships in 1991, and he was a member of several USA Powder 8 Championship teams.
Coombs divided his time between his home in Jackson and France, where he ran an extreme ski camp with his wife in La
Outside Magazine once tabbed Coombs "the best skier in the world."
He skied all around the world - including numerous stops in Colorado - and performed ski feats as a movie stuntman.
He also started a heli-skiing company in Alaska before moving to France.
"The life of Doug Coombs reads like the resume of five people, but he lived his life simply and with deep joy and
great energy," according to a biographical sketch posted on the Marmot Web site.
"He lived to be in the mountains ... he taught those around him to be respectful and humble in the mountains."
Doug Coombs is gone now. But he'll never be forgotten by anyone who ever met him.