Top Five Fridays - May 19, 2017 // Ski Industry News
#1: EpicSki.com Forums Go Offline:
You know that saying, “do you want the good news or bad news first?” Well, this is the internet which means it’s a one-way conversation and you don’t have that choice. This week, we’re starting with the bad news. One week ago, on May 12th, our friends over at EpicSki.com went offline after an 18 year stint as one of the go-to web communities for skiers. The initial announcement of the impending shutdown was made on April 24th with a blog post that explained the reasoning. In short, and put as plainly as possible, the company that was hosting EpicSki.com decided to withdraw support from their forum functionality. If you ever visited EpicSki, then you know the forum was the centerpiece of the website and the main reason skiers went there. Without having the capabilities to provide an integral part of their website, and after exhausting all options, the team behind EpicSki made the undoubtedly difficult decision to terminate the site.
Followers of EpicSki and/or SkiEssentials might recognize that we’d developed a strong relationship over the years. Whenever we’d post an article here, we’d share it on their forums and socialize with their users. Heck, there were even times when we’d jump in on a random topic forum if we thought we could add a touch of insight. Unfortunately though, those days are officially over. We wish all of our friends at EpicSki the best of luck moving forward, and we sincerely thank you for creating a website that brought joy to many over the last 18 years.
#2: Mountain Creek Ski Area Files for Bankruptcy:
Phew, now that we’ve got the bad news out of the way, we can move on right? Well, sort of. Maybe. It depends on how you take this next bit of news: earlier this week, Mountain Creek ski area in New Jersey filed for bankruptcy. Now, when most people here that word, they likely think the business is closing up shop forever. In reality though, there are multiple reasons to file bankruptcy, including using it as a means to eliminate or restructure bad and unpayable debts. As it turns out, that’s more or less the move that’s being made by Mountain Creek here. When the current owners of the resort purchased it back in 2015, they also bought all of the debt from the previous owners. According to an article published by NJ.com, that debt’s been a major factor holding the ownership back from accomplishing their goals of turning the resort into a 4 season destination. By filing for bankruptcy, they hope to be able to restructure their debt, continue daily operations, and ultimate posture themselves for growth, starting with the opening of their new waterpark this summer. All in all, there’s nothing earth shaking about this news. Even the mayor barely offered a reaction saying, “It’s not a surprise to me… They’ve never really developed into a true, four-seasons resort.” So with that, it’s back to the waiting game to see if Mountain Creek can successfully use a bankruptcy filing to right the ship, or if it will it continue to flounder.
#3: Largest Indoor Ski Area in the World Set to Open in June:
Here we go! Here’s a bit of news that’s inarguably upbeat. If you were to dig a hole straight through the earth, you’d end up in a country called China, a place that’s currently putting its mite behind growing interest in winter sports amongst its citizens. Why, might you ask? Well, because despite a perennial lack of snow, China is signed up to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, which certainly seems a bit odd. Cue this week’s news: next month, the world’s largest indoor ski area is scheduled to open in China. Wanda Ski Park, located in Harbin, China, is a massive indoor ski park, measuring in at almost double the size of the world’s currently largest indoor park. In addition to multiple chairlifts, the “resort” will also have 6 ski slopes including a terrain park. Beyond skiing, the indoor snow center also has snow tubing and a number of fun zones (including a castle) for the kids to play in. To learn more about the Wanda Ski Park, or to see more pictures, check out their Facebook page here.
#4: University of New Mexico Ski Team Reinstated :
Finally, let’s wrap things up with a piece of very exciting news. Although we didn’t report on it initially, many of you likely heard that the University of New Mexico’s ski team was cut back in mid-April. At the time the $600,000 cost of the program was cited as the reason behind its demise. This decision was particularly painful and confusing for many as the UNM ski team was the most successful sports program on campus, racking up 17 Individual NCAA Championships, and 1 Overall NCAA Team Championship in it’s short 50 year existence. Understandably frustrated, ski team members, students at the university, and the ski racing community at large rallied behind the team, collecting thousands of signatures and creating a public outcry that resounded across the world of skiing. This week, UNM’s Vice President of Athletics, Paul Kreb, reinstated the program saying, “This has obviously been a very emotional and difficult month, but I’m extremely happy that something was able to be worked out.” It’s a simple statement that doesn’t reveal too much about the decision making process, but for the ski racing student athletes at UNM, it’ll suffice. Congrats to all those who helped bring the racing Lobos back!