Top Five Fridays - February 5, 2016 // Ski Industry News
#1: A Tale of Two Winters:
As I write this, it’s 45 degrees Fahrenheit here in Burlington, VT. It’s also February 4th, 2016. Typically, only one of those facts could be true. But, not this time around. In fact, this winter in Vermont has been so unseasonable that two ski areas are being forced to temporarily close due to a lack of snow. On the flip side, El Nino has lived up to and even surpassed expectations for its impact on the West coast. According to a video posted by the California Department of Water Resources, certain areas of the Sierra Nevada’s are currently at 130% of their average annual snowpack. That type of statistic is not at all unusual this year on the West Coast where ski resorts are finally getting relief after last year’s dismal snowfall. Of course us East Coasters would do best to stifle our frustrations and remember last Winter when we were the beneficiaries of persistent snow. All in all, the last two years have been a tale of two drastically different winters for both the West Coast and East Coast.
#2: Giant Ski Area Near Whistler Gets Environmental Approval:
If you’re living out near Whistler, Canada, then you’ll be either excited or frustrated by this next bit of news. This week, the proposed Garibaldi at Squamish resort received environmental approval to move forward with their resort. The environmental certificate didn’t come free though. In order to best ensure good relations between the resort and the community, the approval came attached to a list of 40 conditions that the mega-resort will have to meet. Amongst the requirements is an in depth system that will allow the public to monitor the resort’s water usage which has had limits placed on it in order to ensure a low environmental foot print. If the process goes according to plan, those behind the project hope to turn the area into a four season, 2,759 hectare resort. The projected cost of the resort is $3.5 Billion, and the last of four construction phases should be completed in about 20 years. For more information regarding the proposed resort, check out this article from the Squamish Chief.
#3: ESPN Airs Replays of the Extreme Sport of Halo Rather than Ski Slopestyle Finals:
Last week we mentioned that the Halo World Championships would be making an appearance at this year’s X-Games event. We groaned about it a little bit, but held back as we figured ESPN would be savvy enough to only air Halo footage during downtimes in between events. For the most part, that’s how it played out. Then Sunday happened. On the last day of the event, during the Men’s Ski Slopestyle finals, ESPN decided to loose credibility by airing previously shown Halo footage rather than final runs from the slopestyle event. Predictably, skiers across the board were quick to show their disdain for the choice. Amongst the vocal was Kristi Leskinen, a pioneer of the women’s free ski scene and X-Games medalist. In a tweet, Kristi summed up what most skiers were thinking- With no disrespect to Halo or E-gamers, X-Games medals should only be awarded to athletes who are putting their well being on the line in order to compete and progress their respective sports. While there was some unavoidable push back, much of the freeski community is in agreement and we’ve got to wonder if this puts the writing on the wall for the X-Games. It’s too early to say for sure what this will do the the event’s positioning as the preeminent event for extreme winter sports, but following this trajectory would certainly be a detriment to their credibility. That’s all we have to say on the subject, but if you’re looking for a hilarious, although somewhat vulgar, take on the situation, head over to this article on Newschoolers.com.
#4: X-Games 20 Recap and Results
Despite this year’s follies, the X-Games are still one of, if not the biggest events of the year for freestyle skiing. With Men’s and Women’s Slopestyle, Superpipe, and Men’s Big Air all getting air time on national TV, the X-Games are by far the sport’s biggest yearly marketing avenue. As such, professionals don’t hold back, often resulting in brand new tricks and unforgettable moments. This year was no different. Despite heavy snowfall, the Men’s ski Big Air competition went off in amazing fashion. Ultimately, it was the rookie Fabian Bosch who’s stream of triple flips won him the top spot on the podium. Also of note were Bobby Brown’s immaculate double flips (earning him second), and Henrik Harlaut’s ridiculous Rodeo 180 (yup) and last chance double attempts while the conditions were a few miles per hour short of a blizzard. While each of this year’s events had notable moments, it was probably the Women’s Slopestyle event that ultimately stole the show. Shortly after winning the Dew Tour Slopestyle event, 13 year old Kelly Sildaru doubled down on her performance by taking first place at the Women’s X-Games Slopestyle event. Now that we know her Dew Tour victory wasn’t a fluke, we can all start looking forward to approximately a decade of domination from Ms. Sildaru.
If you’re interested in seeing a full list of results as well as highlights from winning runs, head on over to the X-Games Website.
#5: And Now, the Edit of the Week:
Over the last couple of winters, a few of our friends have transplanted themselves out in Jackson Hole, WY. This week, they decided to make us insanely jealous with a quick, 2 minute feel good piece showcasing seemingly endless powder runs. East Coasters beware: this one is guaranteed to bring on the FOMO.