Ear to the ground

“Now there’s a sign you don’t see very often.”

- A Durango woman noting a “No Rollerblading Allowed” sign on a recent visit to Moab

Tomato in training

The Flying Tomato has selected the San Juan Mountains as his new “secret” training ground. Shaun White, Olympic gold medal snowboarder and Rolling Stone cover boy, is currently polishing his game in the shadow of Silverton’s Storm Peak.

Last week, crews completed a giant halfpipe in Velocity Basin on the north side of the Silverton Mountain Ski Area. The pipe is at the base of the old speed skiing course and below Silverton Mountain’s Grande and Hanging Valley runs. Red Bull, a major sponsor of White’s, reportedly built the pipe purely for the snowboarder’s training. Earlier this year, Red Bull brought in the Snow Cats and constructed the massive pipe, which is completely visible from the ski area.

The 22-year-old White has been a top professional snowboarder since the age of 13. A longtime participant in the Winter X Games, White has medaled every year since 2002 and has 14 X Games podium visits to his credit, including the first four-peat win by a male athlete in one discipline. His most recognizable achievement, however, was winning Olympic gold at Turin in 2006.

Nicknamed the Flying Tomato for his shock of red hair, White may be outgrowing the image. “He used to embrace it, even wearing headbands with a flying-tomato logo, but he has grown tired of it,” wrote Rolling Stone.

The name game

Fort Lewis College’s Skyhawk mascot finally has a name to call his own. After weeks of deliberation and hundreds of suggestions, the blue and gold bird now goes by the handle of Skyler the Skyhawk.

Skyler debuted his new name during the women’s and men’s basketball games last Saturday. Hundreds of fans cheered the announcement and then went on to watch both Skyhawk basketball teams defeat New Mexico-Highlands.

The quest to find a new name for the FLC mascot began weeks ago with a call for entries for the “Name the Skyhawk Contest.” Last week, Fort Lewis students and Durangoans voted on the 11 finalists and tapped “Skyler.” And the runners up were: Siigwanchi, Ute for “hawk,” in second place; and the ever popular Luke Skyhawker in third.