The Sharp End
The Sharp End
Oct 1, 2020
The Flawed Knot
38 min
Brian Vines was a high school senior and a budding climber in the 1990s when he and some friends went to Sand Rock, Alabama, for a day of top-roping. On their last climb, a simple mistake led to a damaging ground fall. More than two decades later, Brian and Ashley look back at that day in Episode 57 of the Sharp End. After many years away from the sport, Brian has returned to climbing, and his 14-year-old son, J.T., now leads many of their climbs. But the lessons from that day at Sand Rock still guide their every move.

The Sharp End Podcast is presented by Mammut, with additional support from Desert Mountain, Suunto, Minus33, and Ski Babes. This podcast is produced by the American Alpine Club.
The Storm Skiing Journal and Podcast
The Storm Skiing Journal and Podcast
Stuart Winchester
Podcast #31: Bousquet Owners & Management
The Storm Skiing Podcast is sponsored by Mountain Gazette. The first issue drops in November, and you can get 10 percent off subscriptions with the code “GOHIGHER10” at check-out. Get 10 percent off everything else with the code “EASTCOAST.” Who: Mill Town CEO and Managing Director Tim Burke, Bousquet General Manager Kevin McMillan, and Pittsfield native and Olympic Skier Krista Schmidinger Recorded on: November 16, 2020 Why I interviewed them: Because lift-served skiing is not just a few giant ski areas hanging off the top of New England, flying the flags of corporate overlords five or 10 states away. Skiing, like a forest, is an ecosystem. A forest needs trees and insects and water and dirt and a food chain of animals. Everyone likes to look at the wolves, but we don’t have wolves without chipmunks. Skiing is the same. We don’t have Stowe or Sunday River or Whiteface without Bousquet – at least, we don’t have them as sustainable long-term entities, because otherwise where would the new skiers come from? Some people learn to ski at the monsters, but most of us don’t, and ski areas like Bousquet, anchored deeply their communities, are some of the most productive new-skier engines there are. Part of my mission, as I see it, is to tell the story of lift-served skiing as it evolves in the Northeast, and the way that smaller ski areas like Bousquet are managing to thrive in a warming world and a consolidating industry is a vital and often-overlooked part of that story. What we talked about: How long the deal to buy Bousquet had been in the works; why the mountain was an attractive asset despite the investments needed to modernize it; Mill Town’s intention to own Bousquet for the long term; whether they would consider rescuing closed-down Blandford; echoes of Arctaris’ rescue of Saddleback; how the partnership with the owners of Berkshire East and Catamount is helping a non-skiing company rebuild Bousquet’s entire on-mountain infrastructure in a matter of months; the snowpipe landmines buried in the hillsides; hiring the right GM; what the triple chair replaces and how construction is progressing; what happened to the yellow and green chairs after they demolished the lifts; additional offseason lift upgrades; the location and setup of the new beginner area; tubing survives; how the ski area altered terrain at the summit to hold snow better and assist with chairlift unloading; the ski area’s current and potential footprint; where we may see future glade development; when the new trailmap and website will drop; this offseason’s massive snowmaking upgrades; the mountain’s water supply; the target opening date; Bousquet’s new grooming fleet; the lodge is closed this year and what skiers will find in its place; why Bousquet joined the Berkshires Summit Pass with Berkshire East and Catamount; whether Bousquet would consider joining the Indy Pass; how the mountain is managing day lift tickets this season; RFID gates are here; Krista’s story of growing up at Bousquet and taking the lessons she learned there all the way to Olympic competition; mastering skiing via the Malcom Gladwell-defined 10,000 hours of bombing the slopes of Bousquet; the ski area’s deep racing legacy; the programs that Krista will run and how she can help the ski area center itself more solidly in the broader skiing community. Bousquet retired the yellow chair, pictured here in February 2019, to install a new-used summit triple this offseason. Yes, you can ski the liftline. Why I thought that now was a good time for this interview: Because with a new ownership group in place, Bousquet is getting the reboot it probably needs to thrive in the decades to come. Any independent ski area – especially a small independent ski area – is going to need some combination of reliable blanket snowmaking, sufficient capital to keep up with maintenance and basic infrastructure upgrades, membership in some kind of broader coalition, and a local population handcuffed to the mountain’s fate. Mill Town brings the first two. Becoming the third Muskiteer [this is why I need an editor] to Berkshire East and Catamount provides the third. The mountain’s crash-landing like the Transformers Ark on the outskirts of Pittsfield provides the final piece, because ask Rangeley what it’s like to be a ski town without a ski area. With a new-used summit chair dropping in and upgrades all over the mountain, Bousquet’s new owners made an offseason statement that they’re here to party, and I wanted to peak in the door to see just how rowdy things were getting. Flying towers for the new-used summit triple (relocated from Hermitage Club) earlier this week. Photo courtesy of Bousquet. Why you should go there: There’s a common skier’s mentality that discards small ski areas as a person’s skills improve and they move on to the 42-chairlift monsters humping over the multi-summited mountains on the horizon. Like a snake shedding its skin, these skiers assume the smaller version no longer fits them and should be left behind. I kind of get this: there is nothing quite like getting lost in a vast ski circus on a snowy day, popping out of some glade onto some narrow trail leading to an empty spinning lift planted, it seems, in the middle of some secret wilderness that is yours alone. But there’s something to a small ski area too, to the energy of countless children unleashed and gleeful in their great roving packs, to ripping off a dozen laps in an hour, to never having to consult a trail map, to trimming skiing back to the motion and the sensation that are its basic animal appeals. I know all this because I was the big snake for a while and when I had kids I realized those little ski areas still fit pretty good after all. They’re easier on kids and they’re better for them too, and they’re better for me, because when my daughter and I are cruising around Bousquet, I don’t have that I-wonder-what-the-trees-are-like-today FOMO that rides me at Killington or Sugarbush. And while that’s true of all small ski areas, Bousquet, historic and resurgent and beloved, lies in a special class of must-visit local bumps inextricably tied to Massachusetts and New England skiing culture and lore. Additional reading/videos: From New England Ski History: The roots of Bousquet were planted in the ski trains of the 1930s, when New Yorkers would depart from Grand Central Station on New Haven Railroad trains in the early morning hours for a day of skiing on the Bousquet farm in Pittsfield. As the legend goes, Clarence Bousquet installed a rope tow in the spring of 1935, increasingly the area rate from 25 cents to $1.00 A second tow was added for the 1936-37 season, as Bousquet quickly became a well-known ski area. A third tow was likely added for 1937-38, while a fourth debuted for 1938-39. The Hartford Courant declared the area "one of America's finest ski developments," citing the longest rope tow in the world. Read more… A trail map from (no s**t) 1936. I’m not sure if that’s supposed to be fluffly clouds or the Himalayas rising in the background: A Berkshire Eagle video of helicopters flying summit chair towers earlier this week: Follow The Storm Skiing Journal on Facebook and Twitter. COVID-19 & Skiing Podcasts: Author and Industry Veteran Chris Diamond | Boyne Resorts CEO Stephen Kircher | Magic Mountain President Geoff Hatheway | NSAA CEO Kelly Pawlak | Berkshire East/Catamount Owner & Goggles for Docs founder Jon Schaefer | Shaggy’s Copper Country Skis Cofounder Jeff Thompson | Doppelmayr USA President Katharina Schmitz | Mt. Baldy GM Robby Ellingson | Alterra CEO Rusty Gregory | NSAA Director of Risk & Regulatory Affairs Dave Byrd The Storm Skiing Podcasts: Killington & Pico GM Mike Solimano | Plattekill owners Danielle and Laszlo Vajtay | New England Lost Ski Areas Project Founder Jeremy Davis | Magic Mountain President Geoff Hatheway | Lift Blog Founder Pet…
1 hr 8 min
The TrainingBeta Podcast: A Climbing Training Podcast
The TrainingBeta Podcast: A Climbing Training Podcast
Neely Quinn
TBP 159: Alex Stiger on How Climbing Harder Made Her A Better Coach
About Alex Stiger Alex Stiger is a Certified Personal Trainer, Sports Performance Coach, and Head Coach at Movement Climbing + Fitness in Boulder Colorado. Alex spends most of her week working with clients of all levels and ages to help them reach their climbing goals. She has climbed 5.13d and is currently working towards her goal of climbing 5.14. Beyond all of that, though, Alex is one of my best friends and a super dedicated trainer/coach. I’ve watched her improve her climbing exponentially over the last 5 years through efficient and specific training. I wanted to have her on the show again to talk about how her coaching has evolved as she has, and how she’s come back strong after difficult injuries. You’ll be hearing more from Alex on TrainingBeta soon, so stay tuned for that. Alex Stiger Interview Details * Difference between her coaching as a 5.13a climber and now as a 5.13d climber * Overcoming big shoulder injury to come back strong * How she improved her climbing so much * More assessments, fewer assumptions in training * How more rest helped her climb harder * Why she changed her core workouts * Training program coming up on TrainingBeta for women * What she focuses on with older climber clients Alex Stiger Interview Links * Instagram: @alex.stiger * Article by Alex: 3 Ways to Develop Your Strongest Core * 1st Interview with Alex on the podcast Training Programs for You Do you want a well-laid-out, easy-to-follow training program that will get you stronger quickly? Here’s what we have to offer on TrainingBeta. Something for everyone… * At-Home Training Program * Finger Training Programs * Injury Protocols * All of our training programs Photo Credit Photo of Alex on Homunculous 5.14a in Rifle by Jill Stompel @shmitpiex Please Review The Podcast on iTunes Please give the podcast an honest review on iTunes here to help the show reach more curious climbers around the world. Transcript Coming soon…
59 min
The Nugget Climbing Podcast
The Nugget Climbing Podcast
Steven Dimmitt
EP 45: Dru Mack (feat. Nat Gustafson) — How to Stay Strong While Projecting, and Battling ‘The Crew’
Dru Mack is a professional rock climber who spent his formative years in the Red River Gorge, and is now traveling full time pursuing hard sport climbing. Nat Gustafson sits in on our conversation to talk about hard projecting, tricks for maintaining power and finger strength, an update on “The List”, training recommendations, hype up songs, and Dru’s battle with ‘The Crew’ 5.14c in Rifle. Support on Patreon: Show Notes: Nuggets: 4:12 – Send Frosties vs. sad Frosties, DQ Blizzards, and steak dinners 6:01 – One “health day” per week, and crunches for beach abs 7:17 – Battling ‘The Crew’ 9:14 – Project climbing vs. mixing it up, and “every project has a different process” 13:01 – ‘The Flame’, and going on bouldering trips to help his sport climbing 16:10 – Balancing performance climbing with Moonboard sessions, bouldering trips, and hangboarding 18:41 – Dru’s bouldering trip to Estes 19:55 – Bouldering sessions in the gym, and Is, Ys, and Ts 21:35 – Dru’s stretching practice 24:15 – The importance of fun 26:28 – My breathing challenge from Ethan Pringle 30:07 – The theme I’ve noticed in top climbers through the podcast 31:28 – Introducing Nat, the prospect of shoulder surgery, and “decisions are always easier when they’re made for you” 34:14 – Question for Nat: What are some of the cultural differences you noticed (related to climbing) between Spain and the US? What can you attribute to higher climbing standards in Spain? 38:28 – The Spanish warmup 39:37 – Lessons from climbing with the Pou brothers 41:15 – Nat’s progression from 12d/13a to 5.14 in 3.5 years in Spain 42:31 – Nat’s challenges with the language barrier in Spain and feeling emotionally blunted 44:01 – “You don’t get over the fears.” 46:11 – Learning from friends 49:15 – Social media and room for mistakes and growth 57:37 – Lee and mentorship 1:03:30 – ‘Middle Child’ 1:06:57 – Being “Lee” for some other kid someday 1:07:59 – Dru’s biggest weaknesses leaving the Red 1:09:45 – Dru’s first trip to Europe, climbing with J-Star, and doing ‘Fisheye’ 1:11:32 – Getting lowered off the end of his rope, and “always getting better.” 1:13:41 – Plans to move to St. George, and what Dru is focusing on to continue getting better 1:15:36 – Dru’s mantras, little victories, and staying positive 1:18:06 – Update on “The List” (from J-Star), and campusing slabs at the VRG 1:22:18 – Stiff shoes and calf raises for kneebars 1:23:48 – Plans to continue “The List”, and balancing volume climbing with projecting 1:28:07 – 5.15? 1:32:51 – Moving to St. George, community, and balancing connection with solo time 1:39:54 – The book ‘Exhalation’ 1:43:03 – Productivity vs. downtime, phones as a tool, and asking ourselves, “do I have the time to be entertained right now?” 1:46:37 – Shoutout to listeners! Thank you so much for your questions, seriously! 1:46:59 – Patron Question: What should I do to prepare for a trip to the Red? (given two to three months to prepare) 1:51:47 – Breaking down the “2x2” and the “3x3” 1:54:16 – Best angles to train on for the Red 1:55:03 – How to progress your training leading up to a trip to the Red 1:58:05 – Short summary of Red training 1:58:26 – Fingers and core, and Dru’s current approach to finger strength 2:01:18 – R&B and hype up music 2:03:16 – “Enjoy every second of it.” 2:05:44 – Gratitude for friends and supportive community 2:06:51 – “Would I be ok trying this route for a month and not doing it..?”, and last-ditch efforts on ‘The Crew’ 2:09:17 – More gratitude, blue-point-thumb-wrestling, and basketball 2:11:50 – Send Frosty and donuts
2 hr 15 min
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