Top Five Fridays - May 13, 2016 // Ski Industry News
#1: Woodward Tahoe to Make Snow Year Round for Summer Skiing and Snowboarding:
It’s no secret that snowpack at Western resorts just isn’t what it used to be. From this year’s news that Beartooth Basin in Montana won’t be opening this summer, to last year’s news that Whistler would make snow on its glacier as a preventative measure, the only sure thing about summer skiing in North America, is that it wasn’t a sure thing at all. That is, until this week when the Sierra Sun helped share the news that Woodward Tahoe, located at Boreal Mountain Resort, has invested in a technology that would allow them to keep making snow all year long- no matter what the temperature is outside.
Their new piece of equipment is appropriately called the “snowfactory,” and uses little more than common sense to make warm weather snowmaking possible. Basically what it is, is a climate controlled shipping container that allows snow to be made internally before being shot onto the slopes through a hose. While one snow factory alone couldn’t possibly cover an entire resort with snow, its output of two tons of snow per hour is more than enough to keep a run open all summer long, with a consistently fresh layer of snow on top. It seems like a promising bit of technology, and one that you can be sure that we’ll keep our eye on.
#2: Beijing Enters Bid to Host FIS Freestyle Championships in 2021:
Switching gears now, Beijing is back in the news as the city has just entered a bid to host the 2021 FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships. So far, no other bids have ben announced, so at the moment it seems like the chances of this happening are pretty likely. From a strategic perspective, we have to speculate that the move is being made to ease concerns surrounding the city’s ability to host the 2022 Olympics. In case you aren’t already tuned in to that side of the story, Beijing won hosting rights for the 2022 Winter Olympics, despite planning the games at a mountain that receives just 39.3” of natural snow annually. Still, event organizers are adamant in their denial that this is a problem, which is where we suspect their bid to host the FIS Championships comes in. By putting in a bid, they’re showing their confidence that the venue will be both totally operational a year ahead of time, as well as fully capable of hosting winter sports events. It’s a strong diplomatic move, and one that hopefully works out to everyone’s benefit. On the other hand, if all else fails, maybe they can just invest in some snow factories like Woodward Tahoe did!
#3: LAAX Wants to be World’s First Sustainable Ski Resort:
Speaking of snow struggles, it’s become quite apparent that climate change is a reality that is most likely going to have a huge impact on the world of snow sports before influencing the rest of society. No one is more aware of this than LAAX Resort in Switzerland, who just rolled out a new initiative focused on becoming the first fully sustainable ski resort. The program is called “Green Style”, and its goals are lofty. Starting locally, the resort is aiming to utilize as many of its natural resources (wind, sun, water, etc.) to generate energy and snow. Looking beyond it’s own geographical footprint, Green Style aims to make the entire resort experience sustainable by sourcing fair trade and organic products, using sustainable construction materials, and influencing their suppliers and partners to follow in their footsteps. Again, it’s a lofty goal, but if LAAX can make it happen, it could be the pebble in the pond that creates a ripple of change throughout the industry.
#4: Serial Ski Thief Busted in Colorado:
If you’ve ever been the victim of ski theft, you know how much it sucks. It’s not even the value of the skis that’s the worst part usually. It’s the the fact that now you don’t have skis to use. No matter if they’re you’re powder boards, park skis, or frontside carvers, the point is that when you head back out from the lodge after lunch or a quick warm up only to discover that your skis are gone, your heart sinks. Your day is likely over, and there’s a good chance you won’t be replacing your sticks anytime soon. That’s why when news broke this week that a chronic ski thief in Colorado was busted with over a hundred pieces of ski equipment, the vigilante inside of us rejoiced. The way it went down is borderline comical, and potentially proof that the concept of karma is real. While cruising on I-70 in Colorado, Nicholas Broviak was pulled over for failing to signal. Upon approaching the vehicle, a Colorado State Trooper noticed that Broviak’s truck was full of ski gear- far more than any skier or snowboarder could possibly want or use. Thinking quickly, he was able to confirm that some of the equipment matched descriptions of multiple stolen reports. The result? Broviak was arrested and is being charged with multiple counts of burglary, trespass, and theft. Props to the Colorado State Troopers for this one!