By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
By Michael Roberts
By Melanie Asmar
Until then, Johns intends to hone his skills at Eldora, where he's about to see his third season. "I came out here to check the area out, 'cause I have friends here," Johns explains. "They took me up there, and we rode, I tell you. I'd never been on a 'board or skis or nothing, but I found that I've got a natural talent." Now he thinks he's ready to tackle other mountains, especially because he believes Eldora is getting maxed out. "First of all, the wind up there will kill you," he says. "It's like, if you make it down on one of those brutal days, God loves you, man." He adds that there's not much that hasn't been found out, either. "You're lookin' for some secrets, and this mountain just isn't big enough to hide anything."
He does, however, grudgingly admit that there are stashes to be found. "Okay, go to Easyway and get way in there," he says. "Or Salto Glades, because a lot of people are wary of those trees. Some people just don't know how to handle them, so keep your eyes peeled for bodies. Hey, but they make good jumps, especially the bigger dudes." More air can be found at Moose Glades, with its big rocks. And Mule Shoe fits when Johns is looking for a quiet place to work on his tricks where no one's watching. "I love Corona bowl, too," Johns says. "It's way steep and way nasty."
Johns isn't quite as complimentary about the food to be found in Nederland, the closest town to the mountain at fourteen miles away. "I just make the trip back to Boulder," he says. "There you can find the greatest of everything, and it's only like a half-hour, forty minutes at the most, even in crappy weather." Once back in Boulder, Johns makes his way to the Daily Bread Bakery and Cafe (1738 Pearl Street). "You will not find more righteous breads in the world," says Johns. "And they make sandwiches you have to use a shoehorn to fit in your mouth." He also worships the Falafel King (1314 Pearl Street Mall) for--you guessed it--the falafel sandwiches, and he pops into Caffe Antica Roma (1308 Pearl Street Mall) for pizza and an espresso. "Their 'za is just too much," Johns says.
General information: 1-303-440-8700 or 1-888-2-ELDORA
Snow report: 1-303-440-8700
Location: 45 miles northwest of Denver via I-25, Colo. Hwy. 36 west and Colo. Hwy. 119.
2 miles west of Boulder.
Opening and closing dates: November 1 to mid-April.
Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Terrain: 20% beginner, 55% intermediate, 25% advanced. 1,400' vertical drop. Base: 9,200'; top: 10,600'; longest run: 2 miles.
Lifts: 1 triple chair, 5 double chairs, 3 surface lifts.
Lift rates: Adult full-day TBA, half-day $26; senior (65-69) $16; child (7-12) $16; 6 and under/70 and over ski free.
Lessons: Group lessons $30 for 3 hours. Private and snowboard lessons available. Beginner package: 3-hour lesson, full-day lift ticket, and rental $44. Shaped ski workshop: 3-hour lesson, lift ticket, and shaped ski rental $54.
Rentals: Adult full-day $17; child full-day $11. Snowboards: adult $28; child $22.
Snowboarding: Welcome. Lessons and rentals available. "Da Boneyard" snowboard park.
Cross-country: Eldora Nordic Center has 45 km of groomed and backcountry trails. Trail fee $10. For information call 1-303-440-8700.
Special events: ESRP Jim Carlock Memorial, Dec. 15; Special Olympics Northern Colorado, Jan. 27; Jimmie Huega MS Fund Raiser Race, Feb. 2; CU FIS Invitational Ski Races, Feb. 7-8; Sprite Snowboard Series, Feb. 9; Women's World Pro Tour, Mar. 1-2; Eldora Skiesta, Apr. 5.
For Altoona, Pennsylvania, native Jeannie Koury, skiing even the most extreme areas of Keystone as a part-time ski patroller is nothing compared to her former occupation. "I taught junior high," she says, the pain in her voice clear even over the phone. "Well, it had its good moments, but really, the best thing I can say good about it is that I met my husband because of it." Koury's husband is the son of a woman who ran the ski club at the school in Pennsylvania where Koury taught. "I was planning to move to Vermont," says Koury, who started skiing Blue Knob when she was twelve. "But her son said I should come out to Keystone, where he was teaching at the ski school, and check it out. Well, then we fell in love, and I fell in love with Keystone, too."
Two kids later, Koury and her husband, Randy, think Keystone is the best family mountain around. "There's just so much for the whole family, and it's so easy to get around," Koury says. "There are a lot of runs I can send my four-year-old, Alex, on with complete confidence." One such run is Spring Dipper, a long one on the original Keystone mountain that Koury says is long, "starts out flat, gets steep, and goes back and forth." She adds, "It's not extremely easy, I'd say a blue-green, but there's a lot of variety and challenge on it." And for an easygoing cruiser, Koury suggests Frenchman. "It's a challenging blue run, well-groomed for skiers who don't like to be thrown into bumps. Nice rolling pitches, and it's got some flats to catch your breath," she says.