Stewart Spooner – Dropping the cliffs circa 1999.
The Orchard’s Cliffs, located about two-thirds the way down the Powder Fields at Red Mountain, is one of my favorite areas on the mountain. With at least a dozen classic steep short lines and drops, and one of the few cliff areas with an open run-out (much of which I’ve maintained over the years) I ski it at least once per day and often more whenever I’m skiing on Granite. So although I’d heard rumors, I was surprised and dismayed to find the whole area marked off (I skied it regardless of course) as closed today. Apparently (a short message on the white-board at the base of Motherlode was the only actual notification) the cliffs are going to be made over into a slope-style venue for a portion of the Red-Bull Cold Rush, and will presumably remain closed for the next 10 days until the event is completed. I’m unimpressed with the Coldrush, which just seems to be advertising masquerading as sport, but closing the Orchard’s Cliffs for 10 days, and likely rendering the area unskiable for a long period afterwards, is just another example of Red’s disregard for the regular skiing public. Enough of these half-baked promotional ideas, surly there are more fundamental issues to address: funding proper maintenance so the lifts run reliably, investing in summer grooming, serving healthy tasty food at reasonable prices, and keeping the ski runs open and slope-style events in the terrain park- where they belong. Until then I’ll just bear witness to the madness, and enjoy the uncrowded slopes.