Top Five Fridays - May 20, 2016 // Ski Industry News
#1: A Troubling Trend in Ski Towns:
Unfortunately we have to start this week with a piece of somber news. While it’s never a fun thing to talk about, National Geographic released an article this week highlighting a troubling trend amongst ski towns. The trend is, unfortunately, suicide. There are a number of statistics citing the rise of suicide in ski towns, but perhaps the most startling is that San Miguel County, home to Telluride Resort, had a suicide (by firearm) rate nearly six times the average last year. Other stats cited in the article point out high rates of suicide in a number of Rocky Mountain states, as well as specific counties which are home to ski resorts.
As skiers living in a ski town (Stowe, VT), we feel compelled to bring attention to the issue, even if it’s uncomfortable. In addition to statistics, the article also takes a swing at compiling a list of causes for this. Amongst their theories are a number of social norms which are typically what draw people into ski towns in the first place. Apres ski parties, trading salaries for ski days, and leaving the proverbial “nest” for greener pastures all draw young people to mountain towns. As the article points out though, this lifestyle often results in a lack of community, limited financial success, and even troubled relationships. There’s a lot to discuss on this end, so we’ll refrain from writing an essay on the subject. If you’d like to read more about the issue, we’d encourage you to give National Geographic’s article a full read. And for all of our friends here in Stowe and in ski towns everywhere, be safe, be happy, and don’t be afraid to reach out if you’re feeling down.
If you ever find yourself in a dark place, you can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline here.
#2: Snowmaking Has Begun in New Zealand!
Phew. Now that the heavy stuff is out of the way, let’s get back to some skiing news that’ll bring a smile to our face- especially skiers living in the Southern Hemisphere. Earlier this week, two New Zealand resorts, Coronet Peak and Mt. Hutt fired up their snow guns for the first time this year! With temperatures dipping to -7 Celsius at Coronet Peak, the mountain was able to make approximately 600 cubic meters of snow. With a promising forecast featuring temperatures hovering around freezing during the day, and dipping below freezing at night, Coronet Peak is expecting to open for business on June 11th. Last year the resort opened on June 13th, so things are looking to be on track for another great season down in New Zealand!
#3: Killington Receives One of Winter’s Biggest Storms, Remains Open:
Alright, this is just getting plain weird. After a totally lackluster ski season here in Vermont, the cool weather just refuses to go away. Case in point: Killington Resort. Until this past Sunday night, the resort had received a total of 76” of snow, year to date. After about 5” of snow fell though, that total sky rocketed to 81”- an increase of just over 6%. Killington wasn’t the only Vermont resort to see snow Sunday night though. Mad River Glen, the “ski it if you can” resort that’s turned the draught into a comedic run also received enough snow over night to merit another hilarious snow report. The difference between the two though? Despite the odds, Killington Resort is still open for business, operating on a weekends-only schedule. So, if you’re a New Englander who’s jonesing for just one more day, head up to Killington where you might be lucky enough to find some fresh mid-May snow!
#4: New Jersey’s Year Round Ski Resort Partners Up:
When news broke that the new “American Dream” mega-plex in New Jersey would include a year round ski resort, we made sure to let you all know. Now, it looks like the developers behind the Big Snow America indoor ski resort have taken the next step in insuring their business will be a success. Realizing that in order to populate the indoor ski area there would need to be a big enough market of capable skiers and snowboarders, Big Snow America has partnered with SNOW Operating, an industry leader in implementing and managing ski school programs. Currently, SNOW Operating works with some of the biggest resorts in North America, such as Killington and Aspen, to help create successful ski and snowboard learning programs. The benefit of such programs is two fold: first, the resort is able to make money on teaching people to ride, and second, educational programs create a customer base that’s sure to increase the overall sales of lift tickets. As outsiders looking in, we’re pretty curious to see how things play out with this, and it’s certainly encouraging to see that a successful indoor ski area is being treated like a core part of American Dream’s plan and not simply an afterthought.