Peter Shelton

The Need for Speed

Posted in Ski history, Ski racing, Watch columns by pshelton on August 8, 2013

[In honor of the recent speed skiing exhibit at the Telluride Historical Museum, I found this article in my files, written for Diversions magazine, back in 1982.]

Marti Martin Kuntz hops down out of the helicopter and unhooks her skis from the struts. They are not powder skis, though the chutes and bowls here in Colorado Basin above Silverton sparkle with 18 inches of fresh powder snow. These skis are 235 cm long, almost seven feet, nine inches, straight and slick and heavy.

Marti’s ski suit is like a second rubberized skin stretched white over her body. Slashes of red identify the manufacturer, Snofox, and Marti’s sponsor, the Telluride Ski Resort. She’s carrying a teardrop-shaped helmet under her arm and has turbulence-cutting, Styrofoam fins, called fairings, sweeping back from her calves. She wears yellow kitchen gloves, and her poles have so many curves built into them they could represent a traditional ski descent.

But Marti’s not going to be making even a single turn on the snow. The Telluride ski instructor is going down straight, trying for a new women’s speed skiing record. (more…)

Hot Buttered Corn Snow

Posted in Ski evolution, Ski racing, Watch columns by pshelton on April 5, 2013

Powderhorn’s closing day on Easter Sunday delivered perfect corn. Corn snow, that is. (more…)

Le Raid Blanc, Part Deux

Posted in Personal History, Ski racing, Watch columns by pshelton on March 14, 2013

From the sound of it, the randonée course Janelle Smiley faced at the World Championships in Pelvoux, France last month was fiendishly difficult. But it was just one day, or part of one day.

Rando races in this country are similarly staged as one-day events. The Grand Traverse leaves Crested Butte at midnight, with the fast teams arriving in Aspen for breakfast. The Sneffels Half Loop departs at sunrise from Last Dollar trailhead and finishes at beer-thirty in Ridgway.

But when we, Team Smugglers’ Notch, did Le Raid Blanc in 1987, we raced for six days straight, with a couple of “specials,” or stages, each day, the times accumulating like they do on the Tour de France. (more…)

Le Raid Blanc: Old School Rando

Posted in Personal History, Ski history, Ski racing, Watch columns by pshelton on March 8, 2013

As our team, representing the Smugglers’ Notch resort, lined up on the Italian side of the Matterhorn for the first stage of Le Raid Blanc, a pretty blonde woman stepped up and handed us RECCO strips. They looked like Band-Aids. “Pour le . . . uh, for ze shoes,” she said. We stuffed them in our pockets; we didn’t have time to stick them on our ski boots. (more…)

Holding On and Letting Go in 2013

Posted in Confessions of a Grandpa, Ski racing, Watch columns by pshelton on December 28, 2012

I resolve to age gracefully. Ha! Show me a 64-year-old man who feels, inside, like a 64-year-old man and I’ll show you a corpse. “Yours sincerely, Wasting Away.”

Speaking of 64, since when did Paul McCartney’s sweet, it’ll-never-happen-to-me vision of old age come true? “Will you still need me, will you still feed me . . . ?” (more…)

Keep the World Cup

Posted in Ski racing, Watch columns by pshelton on December 21, 2012

Telluride Ski Resort owner Chuck Horning has said that all aspects of the ski area operation should be up for review. Is hosting the FIS ski- and snowboardcross World Cup, for example, worth the expense? Especially in a low-water year when snowmaking resources might be better allocated to opening terrain for paying customers?

My answer is an unequivocal yes. Early-season weather will forever be fickle; there will be big years and lean ones. The World Cup is a marketing coup of immense and, unfortunately for some, intangible value. (more…)

Lindsey Vonn, Drama Queen

Posted in Ski history, Ski racing, Watch columns by pshelton on December 6, 2012

Drama queen Lindsey Vonn took all the drama out of the races in Lake Louise last weekend, winning three in a row (two downhills and a super G), despite a stomach bug that had hospitalized her for two days and nights. (more…)