Top Five Fridays - February 12, 2016 // Ski Industry News
#1: Tupper Mountain Decides to Not Open This Season:
Ok nature, we get it. Last year a few of us might’ve taken a little too much sadistic pleasure out of the West coast having a bad snow year, while the East coast triumphed. We’ve been learning our lesson all season with a lack of snow and rain showers in Central Vermont in February. But enough is enough alright? You don’t have to bring it to the point where a great feeder hill like Big Tupper Mountain throws the towel in and decides it’s not worth opening at all. And yet that’s exactly what’s happened. This week, the volunteers who band together to operate the ski area voted to not open the area this year, purely on account of the weather. While they remain committed to opening the resort for future seasons, you, mother nature, have proven that it’s really all up to you. So please, let us stop putting stock in these stupid sacrifices to Ullr and ridiculous snow dances, and just help us out next time around. Please?
#2: Echo Mountain Files for Bankruptcy (But Everything Should Be Fine):
Echo Mountain in Colorado is the closest ski area to the metropolitan area of Denver. Yet despite this almost fail proof statistic, the mountain has struggled to remain open and changed ownership multiple times over the years. The most recent news in the ski area’s saga is the announcement this week that resort owner Nora Pykkonen has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It’s no surprise really, as Pykkonen’s initial plan that she set in motion when she bought the resort back in 2012 was to create a private ski resort for the area’s avid ski racers. Well, after a strong start, interest from ski racers began to dwindle as the $5,000 exclusive memberships became too hard to swallow. Conversely, Pykkonen found herself turning down almost exclusively first time visitors. Again, Echo Mountain is the closest ski area to Denver, so to hear that the ski area was inundated with beginner skiers really isn’t that surprising.
Ms. Pykkonen saw the writing on the wall and wisely switched her business model and opened for public skiing this Fall. Since then, her business has turned a page and become quite profitable with the influx and support of beginner skiers. Still, the boost in traffic would prove to be too little too late, forcing Pykkonen to file for bankruptcy this week. The reality is though, this isn’t the worst thing. With a new business plan in place and strong financial figures from this season, it’s likely that this bankruptcy will help restructure the business and could ultimately help bring the mountain back to success. Or not. Honestly with Echo Mountain, it’s anyone’s guess. For anyone interested in business or case studies, definitely give this article from the Denver Post a read for a more detailed account of the situation.
#3: The Polartec Big Air at Fenway is TONIGHT!
Back in September, we told you that the Fenway Park in Boston, MA, home to the Boston Red Sox, was set to host a USSA sanctioned Big Air event. Well, the time has come and the event officially kicked off yesterday with the snowboard side of things. Tonight, skiers will compete under the lights at the stadium for Big Air dominance. Of course what makes this event spectacular isn’t the roster of skiers or the concept, but the venue. In order to pull this event off, teams have been at the stadium for the past week preparing the scaffolding, making snow, and dialing what must be a mountain of logistics. It’s certainly not all for naught though as the images and hype surrounding this event has already caused quite the stir on social media. We’ll be down there in person for tonight’s events and hope to capture enough behind the scenes shots to piece together a recap for you next week. In the meantime, keep your eye on social media and be sure to watch live coverage of the event tonight at 8:30 on NBCSN, or Saturday February 13th on NBC at 5 PM.
#4: X-Games Real Ski Street Comp Kicks Off:
With the Aspen X-Games wrapped up, it’s time for the Real Ski Street competition! Much like the Real Ski Backcountry competition, the Real Ski Street contest features 6 hand selected skiers who’ve put together the most ridiculous edits from the past year. Unlike the Real Ski Backcountry contest though, the Real Ski Street edition is focused solely on skiers hitting urban features. That is, skiers performing tricks on obstacles that they’ve found around urban, suburban, and rural environments. The bottom line here is that these features are neither in the backcountry, or require a lift ticket to access. In this year’s contest, there are edits from Tom Wallisch, Cam Riley, Will Wesson, Ahmet Dadali, JF Houle, and Clayton Vila. Every skier in this thing put together an absolutely incredible edit that will be sure to have your jaw dropping. To check out the edits and vote for your favorite, head over to the X Games Real Ski Street Website!
#5: And Now, the Edit(s) of the Week:
Finally, it’s time for the Edit of the Week! Only this week, we were blessed with so many great edits that we couldn’t choose just one. Instead, we’re giving you three edits, as well as this link to the X-Games Real Ski Street edits which are all absolutely insane. Enjoy!