Orchard’s Cliffs Closure


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.


Filed under Red Mountain

16 responses to “Orchard’s Cliffs Closure

  1. Francois

    That’s how she goes. You have been here 14 years? You should know there are better places than the Orchards.
    And I am being polite.

    Lte’s talk about the $2.75 day old muffins at the cafeteria………..

  2. Yes I do know my way around the mountain, and I will certainly adapt (although Orchards can sometimes be the run of the day). But as one who has payed for my pass, and highly values the skiing here, I don’t accept that terrain closures are valid. Those involved with the event (like yourself) are obviously getting something out of it, but for the other dedicated skiers it’s entirely an imposition. Sure the food sucks, but I can always bring my own.

  3. Francois

    You obviously have an answer for everything. Why didn’t you buy the ski hill when it was for sale???

    “Those involved with the event (like MYSELF) are obviously getting something out of it”…. yes you are right. I am getting the satisfaction of helping people out. Sometimes you (we) just need to stick our head out of our ass and work around it.

  4. Francois

    .,..oh and as far the other dedicated skiers it’s entirely an imposition. I’d like to be introduced to all these so called dedicated skiers.

  5. Jock

    Hi Francois
    I’m Jock, keen off-piste skier, still learning my way around Granite and loving it, and hate being imposed upon by barracades in the trees. Stewart’s right, quit whining. Great picture Stewart.

  6. Francois

    Quit whining? This what his blog is all about.
    You should be happy, a roped area(in this particular case) means you can just duck under and enjoy the snow. It wont kill anybody and it’s not a permanent closure.

  7. While I don’t accept that my Blog is all about whining (though I occasionally indulge in provocation), it’s great to see some lively discussion. As Francois’ points out , there are only soft closures at Red Mountain (courtesy of our enlightened ski-patrol) so we’ll continue skiing the Orchard’s Cliffs – I expect it’s going to be good tomorrow.

  8. Michelle Laurie

    Orchards is a great run and 10 days of closure is ridiculous. Perhaps 3 days or less would be a more reasonable compromise.

    As for the food – I will add that the $6 bowl of soup at Paradise is indeed one of the worst values for money in the region.

  9. Francois

    soft closure + hard rock muffins = lively discussions

  10. Pete in Narrabeen

    Luxury…. sheer luxury. I look forward to the day I return to the hill, and can choose to duck the rope or hit roots, slides etc. with unlimited fresh track choices. Ropes are great, they keep lotsa people out. Comps can suck, the beer “sponsor” doesn’t give out freebies and the daily skier suffers on the chair. Unfortunately in the end greed and money overpower peacefull status quo. (Remember the old granite chair fiasco in the early 90’s when season’s pass holders weren’t even allowed on the mountain for the American long weekend holiday due to anticipated congestion and cat access only up to paradise on the hill?). Stewart is on the money with focus of the ski hill needing to be on maintaining infrastucture (and realising they have an opportunity to market a unique niche of awesome terrain rather than try to copy a “formula” to become another Whistler or such). These places already exist so the experience is available for those who so wish. If enough fools with money are allowed to govern the direction of progress experiences such as that at Red will become extinct except for the memories of the fortunate that came before the “visionaries” with their “develop at all cost” coin.

    Peace and pow to you all


  11. Cam

    I have to agree with Stewart’s comments. Keep the silly event off Red if its going to impose on pass holders skiing. I can see only negative results from ‘Red Bull’ and would rather have events that locals can participate in, if such competitions are needed.

  12. Gilles

    Nice web site !!! I like the picture of Roberts. I will spend more time looking at the site. Hey! I hope that a few facts might answer a few of you( I doubt it). There is 3 locals in the comp, which keeps the Red tradition of producing high level skiers going! Plus Red Bull hires everybody, so creates employement! Some of us are happy about that! And one fact remains: Blody hell that’s a great mountain we have to ski on !!!!

  13. Thanks Gilles. Great to see the event organizer contributing to the discussion with some positive points about the Cold-rush, and a reminder that yes we do have a great mountain to ski on.

  14. Gabe

    holy fuck there’s some funny shit on this blog…just heard about it today…since were on the topic of closed areas i just wanted to let everyone know that everthing skiers left of high spirits to the microwave is also off limits, stay out fuckers…it’s mine….love Gabe

  15. Francois

    Cam you are a wanker.

  16. Gid

    Man it’s great to see my friends involved in lively discussion about these topics. Keep givn’r. Gabe, don’t steal my line – heh, (-:

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