Top Five Fridays - August 14, 2015 // Ski Industry News
#1: Aspen Snowmass Wants to Make On Hill Sleeping Huts a Thing:
So here’s a cool idea: creating side country sleeping huts so visitors to a resort can get an alpine touring/camping experience without needing all of the expensive, heavy, extra equipment needed for a full overnight backcountry expedition. Well, that’s kind of what’s happening at Aspen Snowmass, except their proposed sleeping huts will be on the mountain. In the updated Master Development Plan that they unveiled last week, Aspen Skiing Co. laid out a number of plans and ideas to help strengthen their image and pioneer new ideas in the ski industry. Amongst these ideas is a plan to create 3 on-hill sleeping huts that can accommodate 10-20 people. According to the plan, “These huts are intended to offer guests during winter and summer months, who may not have the proper equipment or sufficient stamina to use the backcountry hut systems, a similar on-mountain overnight experience.” To us, this seems like a cool idea and potentially a way to take steps towards growing the Alpine Touring side of the sport. Imagine a resort that had all of the amenities you’ve come to expect, but also owns a large swath of side country land that has huts, allowing skiers to tour out, stay over night, and continue finding lines in the morning. A resort like this would be the best of both worlds- a world class ski resort, with peaceful backcountry terrain that would allow skiers to get back into the nature side of our sport. While the Aspen plan doesn’t go quite that far, we can only hope their idea works out and steers other resorts in that direction.
#2: Mt. Hood Forced to Close Glacier Early:
Another week, another sign that global climate change is more than just a bad dream. We’ve already discussed Whistler Blackcomb trying to save their glacier by blowing man made snow on it, and now it seems as though Mt. Hood, Oregon might want to consider taking similar actions. Earlier this week, Mt. Hood shut down its lifts for the Summer approximately 5 weeks earlier than normal. The reason of course, is that there wasn’t enough snow to keep the glacier open for skiing or snowboarding. Typically, the glacier at Mt. Hood is able to stay open until early September before briefly closing before the Winter season picks back up. This year though, the traditional Spring snow storms were replaced by heat and rain, setting the glacier up for a rough Summer. Despite the growing murmurs in the industry about the impacts of climate change on the ski industry, Timberline employees remain hopeful that next season will bring heavy snows which will revitalize the glacier and allow things to return to normal next Summer. For the sake of Summer skiers everywhere, we hope so too.
#3: Two New Mountains Join Mountain Collective Pass:
Here’s some exciting news: It was just announced that Stowe Mountain Resort and Taos Ski Resort in New Mexico have both joined the Mountain Collective program. The Mountain Collective pass is a special take on season’s passes that allow the pass holders to check out resorts all over North America. With the pass, skiers and snowboarders are given two day tickets to each one of the participating resorts: Alta-Snowbird, Aspen-Snowmass, Jackson Hole, Mammoth Mountain, Ski Banff-Lake Louise, Stowe, Sun Valley, Squaw Valley-Aspen Meadows, Taos, Thredbo, and Whistler Blackcomb. In addition to two day tickets, the Mountain Collective pass also allows pass holders to purchase additional day tickets to any of these resorts for 50% off. If you’re the type who would rather check out multiple resorts in a year and aren’t afraid to travel, then you’ll definitely want to take a look at the Mountain Collective pass!
#4: After a rough Start, Chile is Having a Hell of a Year:
After having a rough start to their Winter, Chile’s been making up for the early lack of snow in a big way. About a month ago, Chile got their first major snowstorm of the year, with between 5 and 6 feet of snow falling over the course of a week. That storm allowed the resorts to finally open after waiting for about a month. Since then, there’s been well over 100 inches of additional snowfall, bringing the total snow fall to date to over 185 inches at Chile’s Portillo Resort. Of that 185 inches, 85 inches have fallen in the last 7 days. So while the season may have been off to a slow start, it’s safe to say that the last month’s ridiculous snowfall is surely making up for the wait for South American skiers. It’s also safe to say that we’re experiencing unprecedented levels of F.O.M.O. here in Vermont!
#5: And Now, the Edit of the Week:
For a guy like Martin Lentz, nothing seems to matter when he's skiing. Rocks, ropes, heights- all of it's irrelevant as he blazes his own path down the mountain. In his late-to-drop but quick-to-impress season edit, Mr. Lentz will make you question everything you thought was acceptable in skiing. Thanks Martin.