Top Five Fridays - March 18, 2016 // Ski Industry News
#1: Mad River Glen Closes After Being Open for Just 45 Days:
We know, we know, talking about the lack of snow on the East Coast this Winter is even more useless than beating a dead horse. In truth, the pointlessness of it is more comparable to drinking a pack of non-alcoholic Beck’s. Either way, the news that Mad River Glen here in Vermont is powering down their lifts for the season still seemed shocking. Perhaps the most remarkable bit of information linked to this news though, is that they were open for just 45 days this season. That’s a month and a half. That’s the equivalent of December 1st, through January 14th. Given their opening and closing dates were more than 45 days apart, Mad River Glen was forced to close on multiple occasions throughout the Winter due to a lack of natural snow. But, try not to be too down about this bit of news. As you see in the ski report the good folks over at the Glen remain upbeat with an eye towards next Winter.
#2: 2015-16 Was the Warmest Winter on Record:
Speaking of this Winter’s weather, a report came out from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) stating this this Winter has been one of the warmest on record. Despite the bursts of snow across the West Coast (thanks to El Nino), average temperatures across the entire United States were consistently above average. Take Alaska for instance, where Alyeska resort had received 613” of snow through February 22nd, while still notching its second warmest Winter on record. Beyond that, the story was more of the same for all regions, whether it was California who also benefited from El Nino snow, or the midwest and East Coast where warm air combined with dry air to produce a whole lot of nothing. To us the question is always about what’s next. Without El Nino involved next winter, it’ll be interesting to see if we’ll return to cold, snowy Winters, or if it’ll be back to the draught like conditions of the last few years. Obviously we’re hoping for the former!
#3: Coors Light Called out For Encouraging Reckless Skiing:
Earlier this week, Coors Light released a new commercial, daring people to step outside of their comfort zone. Then, a day later, the ad was pulled from Canadian television. The reason for the quick change of events, is that the advertisement showed two a group of friends deciding to follow a sign pointing them “Out of Bounds”, in pursuit of a thrill seeking adventure. In the ad, the group skis the backcountry run and is greeted by a helicopter waiting for them at the bottom. Even if we ignore the ridiculousness of a random helicopter in the backcountry, the ad is still striking for its total disregard for the dangers present in the backcountry. As a result, the backlash was swift. Leading the charge was North Shore Rescue (NSR), an organization that’s all too familiar with having to perform backcountry rescues. Just this year they had to recover the body of a man who fell into the Montizambert drainage while riding out of bounds. After seeing the advertisement, Mike Danks, a team leader at NSR immediately Emailed Coors requesting that they pull the ad. A day later, they did. So while alls well that ends well, its worth taking note of the ridiculousness that is often promoted by beer commercials. And with that, here’s our official PSA: “Don’t believe everything Coors tells you.”
#4: Ski Instructors on the Verge of Unionizing:
It’s no secret that being a ski instructor typically isn’t a very lucrative job. Still, offering a ski school is a crucial component in the success of any ski resort, and so you might expect that ski instructors are treated like royalty at the hill. Unfortunately though, that’s not always the case, which is why the ski instructors at Beaver Creek have recently taken the first step towards unionizing. After successfully collecting enough preliminary signatures, the group is now set to vote on whether or not they will organize as a union, ultimately giving themselves representation to argue for fair working conditions. If the vote passes and the Beaver Creek ski instructors do unionize, they will be the first ski school to have successfully organized. No doubt that if this is the case, ski schools at other mountains will have their eye on Beaver Creek to see what, if any, changes will come about as a result of the union.