Top Five Fridays - July 22, 2016 // Ski Industry News
#1: It's Been Decided: Burke Mountain and Jay Peak Will be Sold Separately:
Just over a month after offering some speculative ideas as to what could happen to Jay Peak and Burke Mountain resorts we’re getting some of our first actual clues. Earlier this week, the Burlington Free Press published an article that stated the two mountains will be sold separately and not as a package deal. The reason for this seems to be that there’s a pressing concern to pay back investors who’d contributed significant amounts of money to the upgrades of the resorts and Burke Mountain in particular. Seeing as Ariel Quiros’s assets are currently frozen as he continues to deal with charges of fraud, the only way the investors can be paid back is through the sale of the resorts. As such, the sale of Burke Mountain finds itself higher up on the priority list than Jay Peak- a resort in which federal receiver Michael Goldberg is still unsure of the actual value. So what does this mean? Well, it basically puts the wheels in motion and makes any one of our 5 predictions (sort of) viable options. The only hitch of course is that it’s unlikely that there will be one buyer for both resorts. Still, if we were gamblers we’d go all in on our Elon Musk theory.
#2: New AT Binding System from KF Skis on Kickstarter:
Here’s a pretty cool news piece: a small company based out of Salt Lake City, UT known as Kitten Factory launched a Kickstarter campaign this week for yet another innovation in the Alpine Touring category. Reminiscent of an Alpine Trekker, KF’s new “A-Senders” take a similar approach in that they’re a separate AT attachment designed to clip into your bindings. The similarities mostly stop there though as the A-Senders take a light weight, technical approach by combining a full carbon body with pin-tech toe construction. The result is an AT option that gives anyone with a Rossignol FKS or Look Pivot bindings the ability to convert their downhill skis into a touring setup with the simple addition of this plate. Assuming the functionality is there, it’s an attractive option for anyone who loves skiing on a Look Pivot or Rossignol FKS binding, and would prefer to use their everyday powder ski for touring as well. This essentially eliminates the need for a second dedicated touring setup with a binding that's sure to compromise either the ski's flex or downhill ability. The A-Senders come with two small caveats though. First, as should be obvious at this point, the system is currently only compatible with Pivot or FKS bindings. Second, it’s also only compatible with ski boots that feature pin-tech and alpine functionality. While this style of boot is an emerging market, it does limit the number of potential customers for the company. Still, the idea and execution both look to be on point, so we’re hoping their campaign is a success!
#3: Newschoolers.com and Powder Magazine Announce "First Chair Festival":
Earlier this week Newschoolers.com and Powder Magazine announced the First Chair Festival- a music and ski film event taking place this September 17th in Salt Lake City, UT. So far not too many films or musical acts have been announced, but the premise seems legitimate. Some of you may be familiar with IF3- the International Freeski Film Festival that’s taken place in Montreal every fall since 2007. Well, the First Chair Festival (FCF) basically sounds like IF3 on steroids. In addition to promising to show the top ski films of the year, the FCF is also planning on hosting “a variety of national touring acts” to add music into the mix. Plus, there are also plans for a professional rail jam, food trucks, vendor tents, and a huge gear sale. All in all, the event sounds pretty sweet. If you’re going to be in Salt Lake City this September, you're going to want to put this one on the schedule. Tickets go on sale today so if you’re the type to lock in plans nice and early, head on over to the First Chair Festival Website and pick yours up!
#4: Vin Diesel Can't Cork 7 in the Jungle, so He Hires Professional Skier Stunt Doubles:
Some of you might remember the forest skiing from Sweetgrass Production’s Valhalla a couple of years back. The juxtaposition of skiing in an environmental completely devoid of snow was instantly memorable and caught the attention of skiers and mainstream news outlets alike. As it turns out, Hollywood noticed too. News broke earlier this week that professional skiers LJ Strenio, Cody Townsend, and Sandy Boville, working with Sweetgrass Productions, spent a few weeks last winter working as stunt doubles of Vin Diesel for the newest XXX Movie. It remains to be seen how exactly jungle skiing will play into the storyline, but we do know that the plot of the movie focuses around Vin Diesel’s character, who happens to be a former extreme athlete, as he tries to prevent a shadowy world government’s use of an unstoppable weapon. Whether this is your cup of tea or not, it’s still pretty sweet to see some of freeskiing’s most talented athletes put their skills to use in a Hollywood setting.