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North Dakota Ski Area Guide -- Very Complete

  • Bears Den Mountain, Ft. Ransom 30 skiable acres on 290' vertical
    Specs: Summit elevation: 1190'; Base elevation: 900'. 3 Lifts: 1 double chair, 1 t-bar, 1 magic carpet. Uphill capacity: 2500/hr. Terrain Mix: 25-50-25. Longest Run: 2000'. Season: usually December to mid-March; Wed, Fri-Sun, holidays. Night skiing W & F. Rentals. Annual Snowfall: 35". Snowmaking: 100%.
    The SKInny: Formerly Fort Ransom Ski Area. Great little ski hill with uncrowded slopes. Beautiful prairie surroundings.


  • Bottineau Winter Park, Bottineau 40 skiable acres on 200' vertical
    Specs: Summit elevation: 2080'; Base elevation: 1880'. 5 Lifts: 1 triple, 2 t-bars, 2 handle tows. Uphill capacity: 2500/hr. Terrain Mix: 40-40-20. Longest Run: 1200'. Season: usually late November to late March, Thu-Sun. Night skiing. Rentals & Lessons. Annual Snowfall: 18". Snowmaking: 100%.
    Bottineau ski area The SKInny: Calling itself "The Jewel Above the Prairie," Bottineau is a smallish but pleasant ski area. Not much here to get your blood pumping, but decent skiing considering this is North Dakota. Seldom crowded, cheap tickets, quaint 60's era ski lodge. The triple added a few years ago, along with the always efficient t-bars keeps things moving, although there are rarely enough bodies to move.
    Signature Trail:
  • Al's Run .

  • Frostfire Mountain, Walhalla 30 skiable acres on 350' vertical
    Specs: Summit elevation: 1350'; Base elevation: 1000'. 3 Lifts: 1 triple, 1 double, 1 rope tow. Uphill capacity: 2600/hr. Terrain Mix: 25-25-50. Longest Run: 2600'. Season: usually late November to late March; Fri-Mon. Rentals & Lessons. Annual Snowfall: 35". Snowmaking: 100%.
    The SKInny: Located by the Pembina River Gorge, this is a beautiful, remote, get-away-from-it-all kind of place. Uncrowded, plenty of snow, unfortunately can be icy at times. Takes hits for being small, but if you want big, you've got to head a little further west. Really a spot for developing skiers, but not much else.
    Signature Trail: Prairie Smoke.


  • Huff Hills Ski Area, Mandan 80 skiable acres on 425' vertical
    Specs: 2 double chairs. Uphill capacity: 1600/hr. Terrain Mix: 40-50-10. Longest Run: 2600'. Season: usually late November to late March; Thu-Sun & holidays. Rentals. Annual Snowfall: 40". Snowmaking: 100%.
    The SKInny: Tends toward low ticket prices, small crowds. Liftlines can get long once in a while. Nice hill, scenic; a pleasant if somewhat easy day of skiing.
    Signature Trail: Liftline.


Best all-around Skiing Guide for Women...

Mom has a pretty raw deal on the average ski trip. They're expected to make sure every child is geared up and ready to go...settle the arguments, feed the family, prepare the snacks, pack the chapstick, and so on...and then ski the black diamonds with dad after the second lesson.

Sound familiar?

The book, Skiing: A Woman's Guide by Maggie Loring and Molly Mulhern Gross ought to be mandatory reading for every ski mom. It not only provides the basics for managing the gang, it also gives a step-by-step instructional guide from a woman's point-of-view. This link is to amazon.com, where you can usually pick up a used copy for about two bucks. Mom, it's the best two bucks you'll spend all winter.

Key

Hotshots are skiers who can ski anywhere, anytime, in any conditions, and generally enjoy showing off those skills. Wanderers are skiers who like to go exploring, to essentially get "lost" and move from face to face, seldom skiing the same trail twice. Newbies are the girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband who has never skied before, but gamely insists on going along. Obviously, Blues represents intermediate skiers, while Blacks refers to experts.

A note about ski area statistics: Although it's hard to believe, some ski areas are (gasp!) less than truthful with their numbers. Like the guy who lies about his, uh, shoe size, some ski areas believe that inflated numbers make their resort sound more appealling. When these numbers are obviously questionable, we put a note: (?!) and will attempt to verify the legitimacy of the claim.

A Signature Trail Is mostly subjective. Whether it's history, reputation, the view, or degree of difficulty...it's the run you have to do, even if it isn't necessarily the best the resort has to offer. If a ski area calls a trail by two names (one at the top, and another at the bottom) in an effort to claim more trails, we go by the upper name. If a trail is called "Upper Whatever" and "Lower Whatever," we simply list it as "Whatever" in this index.

Trail to Improvement

Probably the most helpful book I've seen to help you make the jump from strong blue to expert or hotshot level, is All-Mountain Skier: The Way to Expert Skiing, by R. Mark Elling. If you've tried to follow the recommendations in magazines and books, and had trouble mimicking the photos, this book somehow makes it all work, makes it understandable and easier to apply on the slopes. This link goes to amazon.com, where you can generally snag a used copy for about six bucks, or buy a nice squeaky clean one for about 20% less than retail.

-- Rick Bolger

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Because you are Jesus' personal representative in a dark place, in many ways you aren't like everybody else. But you keep loving them unconditionally and making them feel important, and doing the right thing without condemning them, and you are going to be (whether they admit it or not) one of the most important people in their life. Because people like you are rare and very, very valuable.
-- Ron Hutchcraft