Top Five Fridays - July 28, 2017 // Ski Industry News
#1: Our 2018 Ski Test is Live!
Let’s kick things off this week with some news of our own: our 2018 Ski Test is now live! Yesterday afternoon, we officially launched our 2018 ski test, an effort we’ve been working on since we first tested over 120 skis over three days back in April. We’re proud of this ski test, not just because it looks great and it’s packed with solid content, but also because it brings the ski testers themselves into the fold, creating a test that’s based more off of which ski is right for which skier, than which ski earns the highest score. Followers of our blog have probably heard us talk about this concept multiple times: there is no best ski, but there probably is a best ski for the preferences of any particular skier. By including full profiles and quotes from our 38 ski testers, we hope to create an experience in which you can find a few ski testers that you identify with, see what skis they tested, and hear how they thought each ski fit their personal styles. All in all, it’s a different, more expansive take on the traditional ski test, and we hope you’ll spend some time browsing its pages. You can get started right here.
#2: Avalanche Fatalities Were Way Down This Season:
Here’s a bit of good news: despite the heavy snowfall seen across the Western United States last winter, there was a total of just 12 avalanche fatalities. That’s dramatically lower than the 5 year average of 27 avalanche deaths per year. It’s an interesting dynamic, to have a steep reduction in avalanche fatalities during a season in which multiple western resorts had record breaking snowfall. Typically, you’d expect to see a direct relationship between the two, but a number of factors contributed to curbing that trend this season. In an article published by Snow Brains this week, editors there reached out to a number of avalanche centers to try and better understand these factors. While there was no strict consensus on a leading factor, they did largely agree that improved avalanche awareness, better equipment, stable snow conditions, and access to information regarding current avalanche conditions through avalanche centers all played a role in this season’s success. In all honesty, there’s a ton to unpack here, so we fully recommend giving this article from Snow Brains a read.
#3: Vail Makes an Epic Promise:
Here we are, another week, and another headline from Vail! This time, things are a little different though as the news isn’t related to another expansion of their empire. No, this time the news is in regards to their newly announced “Epic Promise for a Zero Footprint.” In other words, Vail announced this week that they are looking to run entirely on renewable energy, and to fully offset their environmental impact by 2030. Right off the bat, there’s three things that jump out at us here. First, this promise isn’t just for Vail Resort in Colorado, it extends to all of the Vail owned resorts worldwide. If Vail is successful in making their empire 100% eco friendly by 2030, it’ll set a huge precedent for others in the ski and resort industries. Secondly, 2030 is just 13 years away. That’s important because it means Vail will have to act fast if they’re serious about this commitment, resulting in huge amounts of spending in the localities of each resort. Think about it like this: if Vail wants Stowe to run on 100% renewable energy, they’re going to need to install a ton of solar panels, wind turbines, or other green energy systems. That’s going to require massive purchase orders from area businesses, resulting in a boost to the local economy. Now repeat that thought process for each resort that they own and it'll become apparent how large of a financial impact this decision has. Finally, the last implication to consider is whether or not this will slow their geographic growth as this may signal a shift in spending from expansion to sustainability. Regardless, it’s a promising move from one of the most influential businesses in skiing. To find out more, check out this article from the Denver Post, and read more about Vail's Epic Promise here.
#4: The Outdoor Retailer Show Sets Up in Utah One Last Time:
Lastly, let’s end this week with a quick update from the Outdoor Retailer show. As you likely know, the show has made the decision to head to Denver after Utah’s politicians showed a lack of motivation to protect the state’s national parks. As such, this week was the last time the OR show will be hosted in Salt Lake City, giving the show an emotional aura. Attendees and vendors alike both recognized that the city they were doing business in, and had done business in since the 1990’s, had failed them and that they’d be relocating for the next show. According to an article from the Park Record, it seems as though it was an emotional event. On one hand, both vendors and attendees cherish the area as Salt Lake City features both the size of a capable host, as well as virtually instant access to mountainous terrain. Plus, with Park City right up the road, there’s the draw of a bustling downtown mountain district. To be sure, nobody involved in the Outdoor Retailer show has any qualms with the city itself or the geography of the area. Rather this move was spurred by politics, a fact that Peter Metcalf (founder of Black Diamond) summed up well in saying, “it’s melancholy, mixed with frustration, bewilderment, and a degree of anger over our political leadership.” To read more on this, check out the full writeup from the Park Record.