Ear to the ground

“No - the other way.”

– Japanese tourist instructing his wife on which end goes first when putting on skis

Jibbing lands at Chapman

Looking for the perfect venue to brush up on your rail slides and other rad moves before hitting the big time at Purgatory? The first-ever terrain park at Chapman Hill is now open for public enjoyment, complete with a straight rail and an “S” rail for more advanced moves.

An informal group of Chapman ski hill boosters, city employees and snowmakers from Durango Mountain Resort began making snow in earnest at the in-town hill in late December. With only six nights of snowmaking and a little help from Mother Nature, the hill was ready for action. The park was completed late Christmas Day and reportedly drew a crowd until dark.

The terrain park is on the skiers’ right side of the hill with open lanes to skiers’ left for ski lessons.

If the experiment proves successful this winter, the city plans on turning snow-making into a permanent fixture at Chapman next year.

Studio in the San Juans

Attention local artsy types. If you’re looking for the perfect hideaway to perfect your craft, look no further than you local national forest. The San Juan National Forest will be accepting applications for the Aspen Guard Station Artist-in-Residence Program from Jan. 1 - March 1. The program, now in its 13th year, is open to painters, writers, poets, musicians, photographers, sculptors, performers and other artists. Those selected will get a two-week, all-exclusive stay at the historic Aspen Guard Station during the summer or fall of 2007.

The Aspen Guard Station is a rustic log cabin set in an aspen grove 12 miles north of Mancos. It served as a ranger station for the U.S. Forest Service after being built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

In return for their stay, artists are required to share their talents with the public through exhibits, performances, open houses or workshops.

Information on the program, instructions on how to apply, and a virtual reality tour of the cabin are available on the San Juan National Forest Web site at http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/a/.