Top Five Fridays - June 17, 2016 // Ski Industry News
#1: Old News, New Updates::
This week, we’ll start with a couple of loose ends to tie up from past weeks. First up is an update from a bit of news we brought your last week when we reported that the state of New York was attempting to pass a bill that would require kids under the age of 14 to wear helmets while skiing or snowboarding. When we reported, we expressed a bit of skepticism about whether or not it was a law that could be reasonably enforced. Turns out, it’s a non-issue as the bill failed to move through the Assembly. Regardless, we still encourage helmet use by everyone on the slopes. It’s a safety thing, not a legality issue.
The second bit of news we want to update you all on is that the group of snowboarders known as Wasatch Equality are continuing their efforts to force Alta to allow snowboarding. Despite having their case recently thrown out by an appeals court back in April, this week they’ve petitioned the federal court to re-hear the case. Considering the fact that the appeals court simply threw out the case before even hearing it, the chances look slim for Wasatch Equality. Still, we’ll keep you posted as more news comes to light.
#2: Tomorrow Today, News From the Future of Skiing:
It’s no secret that ski resorts are perpetually stuck in a “keeping up with the Jones’s” mindset. Whether it’s the arms race for acquiring new resorts to tack onto their multi pass, blowing snow in unseasonable temperatures, or adding new amenities like summertime mountain rollercoasters, ski resorts are constantly trying to stay one step ahead of their competition. In that light, we share the news that Madrisa Ski Area, a resort in Switzerland, is installing a new chairlift that will utilize lasers to determine the rider’s height and adjust the seats accordingly. At first thought, this seems hyper ridiculous. I mean, are humans really at the point where we can’t bend our knees the right amount to sit on seats of different heights? On second thought though, we’ve seen our fair share of kids struggle to safely get onto a chairlift, so it kind of makes sense. In addition to the laser technology, the chairlift will also have heated seats as well as a protective bubble that automatically lowers in inclement weather. It’s a far cry from the days of single chairs and rope tows, but hey, change is good right?
#3: All of Montana’s Glaciers Will Turn to Dirt in 14 Years:
Here’s an unfortunate dose of reality: According to NASA, all of the glaciers in Montana’s Glacier National Park will disappear by 2030. If you’re not keen on math, that means in just 14 years one of America’s biggest national parks will have entirely lost its namesake. For more perspective, consider this: in the mid 19th century, the park had over 150 glaciers. In 2010, there were just 25. In 14 years, there will be zero. None. So why is this skiing news? Well, it’s another reminder that the sport we cherish is at a huge risk of being brought to an end thanks to climate change. While this doesn’t mean that in 14 years there won’t be snowy winters, there will be, but they’ll likely be shorter in season and less predictable. Take for instance the year-to-year trends from just the last two seasons. While two seasons ago Vermont was the place to be, last season was one of the worst on record. On the West coast- it was the opposite. This season brought plenty of snow while the last few years have been unseasonably dry. It’s a troubling trend for sure, and one that we’ll be watching warily as it develops.
If you’re interested in learning more about climate change’s impact on skiing or want to get involved in helping, check out Protect Our Winters (POW).
#4: New Ski Video Game Appears to Be... Game Changing:
Ok, so l apologize for the bad pun. It was easy and cheap and I did it. I’m sorry. Now, moving on. Skiers who also happen to b video game fanatics will undoubtedly be extremely excited to hear that Ubisoft has just announced a brand new open world style backcountry skiing game titled, “Steep.” Set entirely in the Alps, the game includes a mix of skiing, snowboarding, paragliding, and wing suit flying. The gameplay sounds unique too, as it’s set to be a multiplayer concept in which players can initiate their own unique challenges to one another. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this exciting new game though, is that it just simply looks amazing. Unlike previous attempts at ski video games which have had awkward animations and less than impressive graphics, Steep looks to have incredibly realistic graphics and smooth gameplay. To top it all off, multiple professional athletes have contributed their voices to the trailer, showing an ability for the game makers to pick up professional endorsements- a good sign in their ability to put together a fun, realistic game that’ll get a stamp of approval from skiers and gamers alike.
Steep is set to be released in December, presumably in time for Chistmas, on Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC. If you can’t wait to play it, you can also register for your chance to be a beta tester here.