Peter Shelton

Promises, Promises

Posted in Watch columns by pshelton on December 30, 2010

I resolve that in 2011 I will not yell at deer. (more…)

A Bear Creek Chess Game

Posted in How the West was Lost, Ski history, Watch columns by pshelton on December 24, 2010

OK, let us review.

A year ago, the setup seemed, to a casual observer, pretty simple. The Telluride Ski and Golf Company introduced the idea of expanding the ski area into upper Bear Creek. The resort operator needed to update its master plan with the U.S. Forest Service anyway and began a process which included surveying local skiers on how they imagined their ski area of the future. Telski had already gained USFS permission to do snow and avalanche studies off the back side of Gold Hill and had secured a Forest Service permit to guide skiers into the terrain in question.

Telski CEO Dave Riley assumed an ostensibly neutral position on expansion; he was just asking for input. Though it was also perhaps clear from Riley’s enthusiastic spearheading of a new, Euro-style off-piste persona for Telluride – including the opening of steep terrain within the existing boundaries and new exit gates into public lands beyond – that his heart’s desire, most likely, was an expansion into the alpine cirques of upper Bear Creek. (more…)

The Family That Sticks Together Gets Sick Together

Posted in Confessions of a Grandpa, Watch columns by pshelton on December 17, 2010

Cloe stuck the digital thermometer in one of Alex’s ears: 101.7 degrees. Then in the other one: 102.4.

“Not!” Alex said, good-naturedly, as someone scrambled for a Kleenex. Two clear rivers migrated down his upper lip.

Adam had been sick for a while, too. No fever, but lots of “not.”

Cloe had been coughing for days. Her chest was so tight, she said, it felt like a vice. She convulsed with tight little explosions that didn’t break anything up, didn’t get anything out. Little underground nuclear tests. (more…)

Mastering space and time

Posted in Olympic Games, Ski history, Watch columns by pshelton on December 9, 2010

Last weekend was a very good one for American ski racers skiing on American (at least North American) snow.

Up in Alberta, Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso put on a show in the speed events. Vonn finished second in two consecutive downhills, to her good buddy and chief rival Maria Riesch of Germany, then won Sunday’s Super G just ahead of Riesch with Mancuso third. Julia finished fourth and sixth in the two downhills.

At Beaver Creek, the U.S. men didn’t fare so well. The downhill got cancelled due to wind. In the Super G all of the top Americans were ambushed by the same small bump and missed the next gate. One after the other. Keystone cops. Looked like a coaching/inspection/line error to me.

But then on Sunday, Ted Ligety of Park City won the giant slalom for his first World Cup victory on home soil. Er, snow.

Both tall, blonde Vonn and dark-haired Riesch are dominating their tour, have been for the past three years. Funny, though, the images of Vonn don’t look dominating. I know, that’s a stupid thing to say. She’s winning, or coming close, in just about every speed event. But, in still photographs, her position looks a little desperate: her head is tipped, the eyes aren’t level with the horizon; her hand is flying up; she’s leaning in more than she’s angulating; the skis are off the snow.

Bode Miller can be wild, as we know, and still be fast. He doesn’t finish many races these days. When I think of dominant skiing, I think of skiers in gorgeous control of all the forces acting on them painting their way down a blank canvas. (more…)


Posted in Watch columns by pshelton on December 2, 2010

Some of the unguarded statements in the latest round of WikiLeaks documents have embarrassed diplomats and caused the U.S. government to wail like a child whose secret hiding place has been found out. Kill the messenger, they shout. Never mind that the message may, in fact, broaden understanding and lead, eventually, to a more realistic foreign policy. (more…)