Aspen, Vail, and Loveland just received their first snow and Tuckerman’s, its first frost, which means its time for the seasons first “rant” post, inspired by the recent sale of the Colorado Front Range resort, Echo Mountain. Echo Mountain was purchased by Pykkonen Capital, owned by Denver’s own Nora Pykkonen with intentions of turning Echo into the Ultimate Race center.
For those unfamiliar with Echo Mountain, it has been operated since 2005 with a focus on building a multitude of freestyle features. Although I have never personally skied Echo, I have heard the whole place is one big terrain park, sounds pretty fun to me.
Pykkonen has other plans for Echo, which includes everything on the complete opposite side of the spectrum of the sport, race, race and more race. The new owner has announced she has no plans for catering to what has turned into a large existingcustomer base, translation, no jumps, no jibs, no tweaking, no backies and definitely no frontsies.
I come from a race background and loved every second of it, okay, maybe I wasn’t such a fan of standing at the top of a course freezing my arse off in a super tight jump suit, but there’s no doubt I am the skier I am today because I raced. On the flip side I was also one of the kids doing absurd amounts of push-ups as punishment for lapping the park any second I could without permission from a coach. If only you could have seen my nine year old biceps.
Speaking of nine-year old skiers, Nora Pykkonen has one and she hopes to be on the U.S. team some day. Didn’t we all want to be on the U.S. ski team when we were that age? I think I actually thought for a while I was Tommy Moe, that didn’t mean my parents went out and purchased a ski area for me. Pykkonen claims she almost moved up to Vail to suit her little shredder’s needs but instead purchased a Hill of her own, sounds logical. Especially when Ski & Snowboard Club Vail has one of the better race programs in the country and an Olympian producing pitch to train on.
I have to play Devil’s Advocate on myself and recognize how it is possible for U.S. Ski Team material to come out of small ski areas. George’s Home Mountain, Buck Hill is a perfect example of a speed bump-of-a-hill churning out tons of talent. Maybe the Mom does have a good plan, but not even one kicker or one down flat down?
My argument is this: it’s really not too difficult to make room for everyone…I hope I’m not coming off as an ultra crunchy bro who’s favorite band is Patchouli Roach Clip. Mount Hood is a perfect example of the negotiation of space for both parties, not a massive amount of room considering how many camps go on at once. So isn’t my home hill, West Mountain, park on the left, training hill on the right, living in harmony? No, just common sense.