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Olympic snowboarder Hannah Teter has a World Vision

Posted by Dan Egan January 29, 2014 06:59 AM

Gold medalist Hannah Teter is heading to the 2014 Olympics for her third games. She won gold in 2006, silver in 2010 and now has her sights set on Sochi.

Hailing from Vermont, she grew up riding at Okemo Mountain and attended the Okemo Mountain School in Ludlow, Vt. She burst onto the scene at 15 at her debut in the Olympic halfpipe at the 2006 Torino Games. Since then, she has been a creative source of snowboarding and charity.

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Teter has taken snowboarding to Africa, and her maple syrup company, Hannah's Gold, is out to raise $500,000 in partnership with World Vision to bring clean drinking water to Kirindon, Kenya.

"My goal from the beginning was, if I ever hit it it big I would give back," Teter said during the USOC Olympic Summit in Park City, Utah. "And that continues to be my goal moving forward."

She is a golden girl with a worldwide impact and finding the podium in Sochi won't be easy, but don't count her out.

Listen to her entire Edging the Xtreme interview with Dan Egan on RadioBDC:

Skiing Austria’s Arlberg on a trip around the world

Posted by Dan Egan January 15, 2014 07:09 AM

Last winter I received an email from an old friend, Joe Wilhem Jr., who said he was going to ski around the world for 6 months.

We caught up with Joe this week on Edging the Xreme on RadioBDC to hear about his amazing journey.

(From Joe’s recent email to me about his trip)

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The tour has been a combination of skiing and sightseeing for the previous four and a half months, and this stop was about visiting the roots of skiing in an area some call “The Cradle of Alpine Skiing.” The region includes St. Anton, St. Christoph, Stuben, Lech and Zurs. Stuben is the birthplace of Hannes Schneider. Born in 1890, he would become the first ski instructor in St. Anton in 1907. Schneider moved to the U.S. in 1938 and a year later founded a ski school in North Conway, N.H., which helped popularize the sport throughout the U.S.

StAnton.jpgSt. Anton benefits from a monster of a lift in the Galzig cable car that features cars bigger than a gondola but smaller than a tram, and able to move 2,200 people per hour up and down the mountain with its Ferris wheel motion. Terrain options from the top of the Galzig include beginner and intermediate terrain to the right of the lift or continue the journey up the mountain on the Valluga tram. The Valluga is the highest point accessible by lift in the area at 2,811 meters. The smaller Valluga II completes the journey to the peak.

The top of the Valluga tram provides a quad-burning run of nine kilometers back to the village of St. Anton, descending 1,351 vertical meters.

Another quad and lung burner is the run from Valluga to Stuben, and the reward at the end is a heated Valfagehr six-person chairlift. The comfort may be tough to leave on a cold day, but the lift provides guests with access to both the St. Christoph and Stuben terrain. On both of these long runs there are opportunities for piste and off-piste skiing.

The decision to visit St. Anton was also made because of the value provided by the Epic Pass I purchased from Vail Resorts. It is sold in all 50 U.S. states and 80 countries around the world. It features unlimited, unrestricted skiing and riding at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin and Eldora in Colorado; Canyons in Park City, Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe; Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan. Pass holders also have five free days at the resorts of Verbier, Switzerland, five consecutive free days at Arlberg, Austria, and five free days at Les 3 Vallées, France.

(Joe Wilhelm Jr. is currently a powder nomad, but in a previous life was a journalist who has been published in Skiing, Powder and The Jackson Hole Skier magazines, as well as several newspapers along the Rocky Mountain West and the East Coast.)

Winter Olympics preview: US women's ski team

Posted by Matt Pepin, BostonGlobe.com Staff January 13, 2014 03:53 PM

Donna Weinbrecht and Pam Fletcher joined Dan Egan to talk about the outlook for the US women's ski team at the Winter Olympics in February. Hear what Hannah Kearney and Mikaela Shiffrin had to say at recent interviews as well.

Killington's Natural Woods areas a breath of fresh air

Posted by Dan Egan January 9, 2014 07:08 AM

The new Killington Natural Woods Areas are a breath of fresh air for barks-biting winter riders who want to dive into the trees. The resort just announced that 745 acres of Natural Woods Areas are available for skiers and snowboarders within Killington Resort’s outer boundary, which spans from Sunrise and Bear Mountain to Ramshead.

Killinton Powder.jpg

These areas are not maintained or checked by ski area personnel and these areas are not opened or closed like gladed trails. In other words, ski at your own risk, which is a welcome sign to most backcountry and trees skiers and snowboarders.

And when it comes to new policies in skiing at resorts in the United States, this one sounds more like the big mountain policies you might find in Canada or Europe.

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It gets even better because Killington and Pico now have an earn your turns policy, which is officially called the Free “Uphill Travel Pass.” This allows skinner and snowshoe traffic on the trails 24/7. So now there is no excuse not to get first tracks on a powder day.

This is a sigh of relief for outdoor lovers who enjoy the mountaineering experience of a quiet uphill workout and mountain-peak solitude with the added bonus of skiing or riding alone or with a few select friends early morning or late evening. The uphill travel policy outlines where you can go and how to be safe during non-operating hours so not to bump into groomers or snowmaking.

World freeride ski champion Drew Tabke and the 2014 freeride season

Posted by Dan Egan January 2, 2014 12:06 PM

Winning the Swatch Freeride World Tour does not come easy, but for long-time big mountain man Drew Tabke, winning is what he has done since joining the tour in 2004.

Tabke remains a mainstay on the ski tour through consistently finishing in the top 10. In 2013 he was FWT World Champion and in 2012 he was second overall on the Freeskiing World Tour and was ranked first in 2011.

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In 2013 the Freeride World Tour merged with the Freeskiing World Tour, which provided athletes and fans with one global tour for all of the best skiers and snowboarders in the world to compete on. Winning the first year of this global tour was not only a huge accomplishment, but it was a clear statement that Tabke is a dominant skiing force.

In the last 10 years, Tabke has seen competitors come and go, and more importantly the prize purses have grown to almost 10 times the amounts they were back in 2004. Now, he's a season veteran who has established himself as an athlete with a balanced view on the sometimes deadly sport of big mountain freeride competitions. He credits his success to his time growing up in the mountain resort of Park City Utah, and his longevity to his persevering nature.

"I've stuck around long enough to know that consistency is a result of sticking with it. And now that we have one worldwide tour with a global audience sticking with it, it has been worth it," Tabke said on a late-night drive from British Columbia to his home ski area of Crystal Mountain, Washington.

Follow Tabke's success this season on his blog at http smallworldbigmountains.com And Listen to his entire interview on Edging the Xtreme on RadioBDC with Dan Egan in the player embedded here:

The 2014 Freeride World Tour season will open in Courmayeur Mont Blanc, Italy (Jan. 18), with men's ski and snowboard competitions. The Freeride World Tour will then continue with both men's and women's ski and snowboard competition at Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France (Jan. 25), Fieberbrunn Kitzbüheler Alpen, Austria (Feb. 1), Kirkwood in the US (March 1), Revelstoke, Canada (March 10) and the Swatch Xtreme Verbier in Switzerland (March 22).

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