Top Five Fridays - December 4, 2015 // Ski Industry News
#1: Hunter Mountain Ski Area Sold:
It was announced on Monday that Hunter Mountain Ski Resort in Hunter, NY is being sold to Peak Resorts, an umbrella corporation that currently owns 12 ski areas, and operates 13. The price tag for the sale came in at $36.8 Million, which is approximately six times the current annual profit for the resort. From an outside perspective, the move seems logical as Peak Resorts has built their portfolio around ski areas near large metropolises. According to their own figures, a majority of their “resorts are located within 100 miles of major metropolitan markets, including New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland, and St. Louis.” Hunter Mountain of course, is just over 100 miles away from New York City, positioning itself as the closest ski resort to posh city skiers. So while Hunter locals may be groaning at the thought of an influx of skiers from the city, they should remember that with new ownership will likely come a slew of improvement aimed at making Hunter Mountain better than ever.
#2: Mikaela Shiffrin's Record Setting Rollercoaster Weekend:
It was a roller coaster of a weekend for Mikaela Shiffrin in Aspen as she lost heartbreaking race on Friday, but stormed back to win two consecutive events on consecutive days. Starting on Friday, Mikaela looked poised to win her first Giant Slalom of the season when she took an unexpected fall as she rounded the third to last gate before the finish. Instead of feeling discouraged though, Mikaela took the opposite route, using her frustration to fuel an internal fire that would propel her to a World Cup Slalom victory on Saturday. What’s remarkable about her win wasn’t the fact that she was the first American to win a World Cup event in Aspen in 34 years. The amazing part of the victory is that she finished a full 3.07 seconds ahead of second place. In case your jaw hasn’t dropped yet, consider this: the cumulative time difference between second and fourth place was .81 seconds. Put more clearly, the next three finishers were within one second of each other. Now here’s the real news: Shiffrin wasn’t done. On Sunday, her third day of racing, she won a second World Cup Slalom race, this time with a margin of 2.65 seconds. That’s the first time an American has won twice at Aspen in back to back days. The moral of the story here, is that if you’re not a fan of Mikaela Shiffrin, it’s time to get on board. If you’re competing against Mikaela, best of luck not shaking in your ski boots.
#3: Boulder, CO Looking to Ban Skiing and Snowboarding on Chautauqua Meadows:
If you’re a Boulder, CO local who’s enjoyed hiking up to the Chautauqua Meadow to earn some early season turns, you might be disappointed to hear that the Boulder City Council is considering an ordinance that would prohibit skiing and snowboarding at the meadow. The issue has come about as the result of a city ordinance that defines the meadow as the only place to legally “slide.” Sliding of course is a generic term and refers to sledding, skiing, snowboarding, and any other method of moving that relies more on gravity than a person’s own propulsion. As a result, the Chautauqua Meadow has been actively used by both sledders, as well as skiers and snowboarders. The situation has resulted in numerous high speed collisions. The ordinance currently in front of the Boulder City Council would clarify the term “sliding” in hopes of designating the meadow as only allowing sledders. The argument of course is that skiers and snowboarders have plenty of backcountry and ski resort options, whereas the Chautauqua Meadow is the only area available to sledders. While it all sounds reasonable it’s still hard to swallow that our sport is being banned from a public space. If you live in Boulder, CO, what do you think? Have you ever skied at Chautauqua Meadows? Is this ordinance fair?
#4: Kaya Turski Returning to Canadian Freestyle Ski Team:
Now here’s a piece of news we were excited to see! Kaya Turski, arguably the reigning queen of free skiing, has announced that she’s returning to competition for the 2015-2016 season as a member of the Canadian Freestyle Ski Team. This should come as exciting news, especially for female free skiers, as Kaya is often thought of as one of the driving forces behind women’s freeskiing progression. After tearing her ACL just 3.5 months before collecting her eighth X-Games gold medal, the injury final caught up with Kaya at the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, where her nagging injury (coupled with an illness) caused her to finish 19th in slopestyle. Now, almost two years and another surgery later, Kaya is back on snow, feeling confident, and is ready to re-enter the competition landscape. After watching her dominate the women’s freestyle ski scene for years, it’ll be exciting to watch Kaya attempt to pick up where she left off as she competes in this winter’s Dew Tour circuit and the X-Games. Of course if all goes well for her, Kaya hopes to be back in full form for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Best of luck Kaya, we can’t wait to see you back out there!