Top Five Fridays - June 16, 2017 // Ski Industry News
#1: Ski Resort Classifieds: Vermont Ski Area Available for Just $950,000!:
Let’s kick this week off with some East Coast news that ties in with a story from last week. As we mentioned, now’s the time of year when ski resorts across North America go up for sale, giving eager but broke ski bums an opportunity to day dream and drool over grandiose visions of how they’d transform their own ski area. Last week, Tyrol Basin and Blacktail Mountain went on the market, and this week a shuttered resort in our own backyard was put up for sale. Yup, that’s right, Maple Valley Ski Hill, a small ski area about 18 miles east of Mount Snow was listed this week. This particular listing could prove attractive to buyers for a couple of reasons. First, the asking price is just $950,000, making it one of the rare ski areas on sale for under $1 million. Second, the location of the ski area is a straight shot up Interstate 91, making it highly accessible from Western Massachusetts. Finally, the area comes complete with a lodge and multiple chairlifts, providing you with the basic infrastructure required to start. All in all, it could be a pretty good deal for the right buyer. To convince yourself that this ski resort is meant to be yours, you can find further details on the listing website.
#2: Two Renowned East Coast Ski Resorts Embark on Summer Developments:
Speaking of cool things happening on the East Coast, this week brought up news of a couple well known New England ski areas that are utilizing the off season to make some big improvements. For proximity’s sake, we’ll talk about Mount Snow first, which is located about 18 miles west of Maple Valley Ski Area. There, gold shovels were used this week as the resort ceremoniously broke ground on their construction efforts for a new lodge. Being built in place of the Carinthia lodge, the new building is expected to weigh in at $22 million and 38,000 square feet. In addition to the new lodge, Mount Snow is also putting about $30 million into its snowmaking program with the goal of doubling output, sextupling water storage capacity, and ultimately extending the ski season in both directions. All of these projects are being financed by the EB-5 program, which you might recognize as the lynchpin of the Jay Peak / Burke Resort fraud scandal from last summer. While it’s unlikely that anything of the sort arises at Mount Snow, we’ll be sure to keep our ear to the ground and let you know if it does.
Following our compasses further east, we come to Waterville Valley, another New England resort that’s spending a lot of money on upgrades this summer. In Waterville’s case, they announced this week that they’ve received the $7.5 million required to proceed with phase two of their master plan. In this phase, Waterville Valley will be upgrading their snowmaking system, while also upgrading chairlifts, renovating amenities, and most significantly, adding 10 new trails to the resort over 45 acres. Efforts are expected to start immediately, with completion expected in time for the 2017-2018 season.
#3: New Austria Skiing Technique Being Taught That Puts Style and Leisure First:
Alright, enough resort talk, let’s move onto something a bit more… intriguing. It’s not often that you read about drastically different ski techniques being taught, but that’s what happened this week. According to an article from InTheSnow.com, the ski instruction services around the Zell am See-Kaprun ski area in Austria are offering what they’re calling “aesthetic skiing technique classes.” In other words, it’s a way of skiing that’s focuses more on the style and aesthetic nature of the movements rather than the optimal technique to make you the best skier on the mountain. Essentially the difference is this: rather than continue to teach things like a wide stance and powerful carving techniques, this new style of instruction takes more cues from the days of straight skis. An upright posture, a slight bend through the knee, hip, and torso, and the reintroduction of pole plants all add up to a “more elegant, safer, and less stressful,” skiing experience. Ultimately the idea here is to encourage skiers to take a slower, more relaxed approach to skiing rather than the hard carving mentality that’s the current standard. In all honesty, it might be a good move for skiers who are out on the slopes for the overall experience and not necessarily to perform incredible athletic feats. As for us here at Skiessentials, well, we’re all incredible athletes so we’ll be sticking to what we know!
Endless Summer Endless Winter:
Lastly, let’s check in with the West Coast to see how their never ending winter is going. Spoiler alert: it’s going incredibly well. Earlier this week, snow was reported across the higher elevations of California, including at resorts like Mammoth Mountain and Squaw. While there are likely some residents protesting the June snowfall, it’s even more likely that the management teams at both Squaw and Mammoth continue to rejoice as their seasons push into historic territory. Already, Mammoth has announced that they will stay open until at least August, and potentially later if the weather cooperates. Over at Squaw, upper management has also pledged to stay open as late as snow conditions will allow, while guaranteeing lift service through at least the fourth of July. The irony of course, is that just last week we shared a story regarding low snowpack up at the Whistler glacier, and how it’s affecting businesses there. Ultimately though, it’s like our old friend Bob used to say, “The times they are a-changin.”