Friday, September 10, 2010

Ski Season is Open! Who Knew?

Paradise Found?
I was reading PlanetSki while passing the time before the first pitch of Thursday Evening's Giants vs Padres game. The headline caught my eye: "First Resort in the Alps Opens" It turns out that there's some hairs being split in order to claim "First" say nothing of the parsing of the word "Open"...

The article reminds the reader that Switzerland's "Zermatt boasts of being open 365 days a year and only closes when the weather closes in." Over in France, "Tignes has just closed for summer skiing but re-opens within the next two weeks."

The resort opening Friday is Slöden, high in Austria's Tyrol and is the site of the first World Cup Ski Race each Fall. This year the FIS racers wax 'em up for October 22nd-24th. Friday, just four of Solden's 34 lifts will open for skiing 9:30AM to 3:30PM.

I noticed yesterday @borealmtn was tweeting temp and snowmaking hopes. He said they want to fire up their snowmaking guns in September. On KCRA3's Noon News Thursday, the weathergal said the weather in Sacramento was more like late October than early September.

You can count on Boreal to open no later than Halloween every year...even if they open for just Halloween. I suspect that given enough nights with snowmaking temps, and a forecast for continued cold, Boreal might find themselves with Halloween competition this Fall...that would be a first, that strangely would be right in line with all the weather strangeness we've been living with all year.

September Baseball
Well, the San Francisco Giants got off to a fine start against the San Diego Padres down in SoCal. The first Giant up to bat got a triple...and scored before the 1st inning was over.

In the 3rd inning, the Giants extended their lead to 3-1. That's about the time I noticed a swarm of tweets citing a plane crash beneath the San Francisco Airport's flight path. Intrigued, I clicked the TV to KPIX5 between innings.

It was a scene out of Dante's Inferno. In fact it wasn't a downed aircraft, it was a ruptured 24 inch High Pressure Natural Gas Line that may have been "nicked" by a backhoe digging on a waterline project. The resulting explosion and fire storm made for riveting television that held my gaze so I missed a couple of more Giants Home Runs.

The Giants prevailed 7-3 and I'm still watching the San Bruno Fire coverage as the clock strikes midnight. The explosion happened at 6:15PM...I started tuning in about 7:30PM. PG&E got the Gas Main shut off by about 8PM. The firestorm ended when the fuel was shut off. There's still fires throughout the neighborhood. These are small individual gas lines in burned out homes that are safer to let burn until daylight.

The News is reporting 53 homes destroyed, and another 120 damaged. I just saw footage of the blast crater. it fills a whole intersection. 50 feet across, easy. What a mess. Three reported fatalities, and the very American scene of civilians pouring into evacuation centers carrying bottled water, blankets, toilet paper, snacks, pizzas, and stuffed animals to donate to displaced residents. Volunteers outnumber victims by 4:1. Pulling's what we do.

The scene at first light is going to be stunning. I'll be up for a while tonight.

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