Top Five Fridays - January 8, 2016 // Ski Industry News
#1: Parties Over! Fat Skis May Cause Knee Injuries:
There’s no doubt that if you’ve been a frequent skier over the last few years you’ve noticed an incase in waistlines. No, we’re not talking snowpants- we’re talking ski widths. Thanks to serious advancements in rocker technology, skis have been able to increase their width without the traditional sacrifice of maneuverability. For the most part, skiers have embraced the change as today’s skis are more stable, powerful, and versatile than skis of just 10 years ago. But now for the first time the health impacts of fatter skis is being called into question. Earlier this week, Discovery News posted an article suggesting that fat skis may cause damage to a skier’s knees. The claims are being made by John Seifert, a professor of sports physiology at Montana State University. According to Professor Seifert, his research has shown that the additional width of the skis causes a skier to have to apply more torque to through the knee in order to get their ski on edge. His findings also show that this pressure is higher on groomed trails or in less than 6” of snow. The one reassuring bit of information in this article is that he has yet to find conclusive evidence that fatter skis have lead to more knee injuries. The entire article over on Discovery News is interesting to say the least, although our personal belief is that while fatter skis may require more pressure, it’s hard to imagine the increase causing much long term damage. If you’re interested in hearing more about this subject, we definitely encourage you to give the full article a read!
#2: Skiing's Attack on Drones Continues:
Readers of Chairlift Chat are probably well versed in all things involving drones and skiing. Last week we reported on a nearly devastating accident at a recent World Cup ski event in which a drone fell out of the ski, missing Austrian skier Marcel Hirscher by mere feet. As a result of that incident, the FIS quickly banned drones from filming future events. This week, fall out continued as the ban on drones was extended to Aspen/Snowmass as well as Copper Mountain where both resorts have put forth an official policy banning both commercial and private drones. Additionally, ESPN announced that drones would be banned from X Games as well, specifically referencing the recent World Cup events. As you might have guessed, there’s sure to be more back and forth involving drones at ski resorts, and we’ll make sure to keep you posted on the latest.
#3: Crested Butte to Allow Winter Fat Biking After Hours:
Are you a fan of the new fat bike trend that’s popped up in the mountain biking scene in recent years? If so, you’ll want to pay attention to this next bit. In Colorado, Crested Butte Resort has just announced that they will allow fat bikes on their slopes in designated areas before and after operating hours. Citing their existing popularity with mountain bikers in the summer, Director of PR and Innovations Erica Mueller explained that, “it makes sense for us to continue the trend in the winter by being one of the first areas to offer fat bikers access on the resort.” Considering there are no lift tickets to be sold or concessions to be sold to after hours riders, it’s nice to see a resort taking a step towards improving their services for the sake of recreation and not their bottom line. Between this bit of news and the growing trend with ski resorts to allow uphill skiing, it’ll be interesting to see if more ski resorts follow suite or if they’ll find a way to monetize these activities.
#4: Paralympian Checks Off First Descent of Silverton on a Adaptive Ski:
Here’s a feel good piece of news from this week: This past weekend, two time Paralympic Skier Alana Nichols’ made multiple first descents at Silverton, CO on her adaptive Monoski. Paralyzed from the waist down after a backflip attempt went wrong when she was in high school, Alana vowed to never let her injury hold her back or become a roadblock to her dreams. After relearning how to ski with an adaptive mono ski, Alana grabbed her first two Paralympic gold medals at the 2009 games after finishing first in downhill and Super-G. Since then, she’s retired from ski racing but certainly hasn’t slowed down. Her multiple descents this past weekend marked the first time an adaptive skier conquered the notoriously challenging terrain at Silverton Mountain. Her determination and hard work should serve as a reminder to us all that no challenge is too difficult to overcome if you have the right mindset and work ethic. So with that, HUGE congratulations to Alana Nichols for continuing to prove to herself and the world that setbacks don’t have to become roadblocks. You can also read more about Alana's life story and historic descent over at the Durango Herald.
#5: And Now, the Edit of the Week:
Seeing as we're currently in the depths of one of the worst snow years in recent record, it seems only appropriate to choose this edit from Ski the East featuring endless powder and cliffs from Stowe last Winter. For all of you East Coasters who are going through the struggle with us, it's time to reminisce.