Linking Turns: Whitecap recovers, planning your spring break trip and Taco Bell on the hill

Midwest Ski Journal likes to highlight a few pieces of skiing internet worth your time in Linking Turns. Find the best, most important, least important and otherwise links here each week. 

This week we look at an interview with the owner of Whitecap Mountain, which sustained and survived a base lodge fire in January. Then, we look at and add to a spring break ski destination list before tackling the question: Do we need Taco Bell at our ski areas?

TURN 1:The Resilience of a Wisconsin Ski Community (Clare Menzel/Powder Magazine)

This story completely eluded our radar at MSJ when it happened in January. According to this profile/interview from Powder, Whitecap Mountain in northern Wisconsin saw its newly renovated base lodge burn on Jan. 18.

The little-known ski area is just a few miles from Lake Superior and is close to the better-known Upper Peninsula hills. Still, Whitecap boast 400 acres of terrain and, as this story shows, has a loyal group of skiers who are helping the area through a tough time.

Before the first fire department arrived on scene, I knew that as long as we had electricity for the ski lifts, we were going to open Saturday morning on time.

The high [temperature], that Saturday, if I remember, was about 5 degrees. But these skiers are prepared for that kind of weather. I think there were a lot of people who came out just to support us.

Whitecaps owner David Dziuban (Powder Magazine)

The short interview is a great read and opened our eyes to a place we often overlook.

Best of luck to Whitecap as they navigate a tricky winter season. Good on the passholders and frequenters of the hill who showed up big for their home hill after the fire.

TURN 2: 7 Affordable Ski Trips for a Last-Minute Spring Break (Megan Michelson/Outside Magazine)

Spring Break is quickly approaching for many Midwesterners and, sadly, local ski hills are eyeing the end of their seasons already.

Sit down and plan your Spring Break trip before it’s too late.

While your coworkers and classmates flee to crowded beaches in search of fruity cocktails and UV rays, you’re hoping to grab some sunny turns before the ski season is over.

From the Pacific Northwest to Colorado to Vermont and West Virginia, this list can give you a starting point if you really don’t know where you want to go this spring.

The list, however, isn’t comprehensive. I would add Squaw Valley and Mammoth out west (they stay open until the 4th of July some years) and Mount Bohemia in the Midwest (I drank the Bohemia Kook-aid and I won’t apologize for it).

TURN 3: Taco Bell Opening First “Slide Thru” Window At Canadian Ski Resort (Francis Xavier/Unofficial Networks)

Nobody asked for this. Nobody needed this. But man, is that an eye-catching headline or what?

Yes, it’s true. Taco Bell opened a “Slide Thru” window at a Horseshoe ski area in Ontario for one day only March 2 to promote its Cheetos Chrunchwrap Slider.

I can confidently say I’ve never craved Taco Bell on the slopes. Not that Taco Bell hasn’t hit the spot in other venues, but the idea of scarfing a Cheetos Crunchwrap and then slashing moguls for an afternoon sounds like an accident waiting to happen.

Now, having slandered Taco Bell a little bit, I will come out in full support of the “Slide Thru” idea.

Why aren’t slide thrus at every hill, especially in the Midwest? If I could cruise through and pickup a sandwich and a beer just before the lift line, that would be a game changer. I can’t imagine they’d have a hard time doing business either.

Tangent/Rant: I’ve also always thought that stadium-style roaming vendors would be a great idea in the lift lines. Especially in super-crowded places where guests are waiting upwards of 20 minutes for a seat on a chair, having a beer vendor working the crowd would keep a lot of people happy and probably make a lot of money, too.

In summation: anti-Taco Bell, pro-slide thrus.

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