Top Five Fridays - May 6, 2016 // Ski Industry News

Top Five Fridays May 6, 2016: Lead Image

Image: Ski Utah's Facebook Page

#1: Local FOX News Channel Suggests an “Epidemic” of Ski Injuries:

Top Five Fridays May 6, 2016: Comparison of Deaths by Activity

An infographic from our "Finding the Limit Article". Think skiing is unsafe? Take a look at how it compares to some of your other favorite activities. Skiing is that dot on the right.

We start off this week with a bit of a rant. About a week ago, Fox 31 Denver aired an investigative report under their “FOX31 Denver Problem Solvers” series that set out to pull the curtain back on injuries at ski resorts. In their report, the “Problem Solvers” took aim at Colorado ski resorts who don’t publish the number of injuries at their resorts. Utilizing the example of a lifelong skier who suffered a broken leg on the slopes, as well as some off the cuff remarks made by a ski patroller riding a chairlift (who didn’t seem to realize he was being filmed), the muckrakers were able to paint a picture of a ski industry conspiracy to hide an insane number of ski area injuries. At one point in their article, the injury rate was referred to as “an epidemic.”

If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you might’ve caught a story that we published a few weeks ago titled, “Finding the Limit: Reflections on the Cost of Skiing’s Progression.” Upon originally conceiving the idea for the article, we suspected that we’d find risky on slope behavior resulting in an increase in injuries, much like the FOX31 Problem Solvers. Only, that’s not what we discovered. In the course of our research, we were actually amazed to find out how safe of a sport skiing is. If you want the whole story, we suggest giving it a read, but for now, we’ll leave you with this little anecdote: In the world’s of skiing and snowboarding, the current death rate is approximately 2.88 deaths per million visits . Bicycling on the other hand, is almost 7.5x more dangerous with 21.2 deaths per million. So, are we saying that the FOX31 Problem Solvers are wrong? Well, not necessarily. Between their two testimonies, they had every right to believe what they were publicizing. What we are saying though, is before misleading their audience, they should do a bit more research!

#2: Alta Level’s Up with Expansion Plans:

Top Five Fridays May 6, 2016: Mt. Baldy at Alta

To tram, or not to tram? Alta says yes. Image: Alta's Facebook Page

Phew, now that that tirade’s over, let’s get into some good news! As you know, it’s the time of year when ski resorts unveil new developments and master plans. Such is that case at Alta, where it was announced this week that the US Forest Service has given initial approval to the resort for a number of upgrades and developments. Amongst the list of plans is a new tram that would take visitors to the top of Baldy, a new chairlift to a point on Germania Ridge, and a high speed quad that would replace the Supreme and Cecret Lifts. Beyond this, there are 9 other updates and changes planned, including lodge upgrades and traffic flow improvements. Of course, as is usually the case, the project won’t be green lit until the public has time to voice an opinion and an environmental assessment is completed. Still, representatives of the resort are confident that their plan will be approved and big changes will be coming to Alta soon. Finger’s crossed!

You can view Alta's development proposal as submitted to the U.S. Forest Service here.

#3: Speculation Surronds Colorado’s Eldora Resort:

Top Five Fridays May 6, 2016: Eldora Mountain Resort

Despite uncertainty, Eldora Mountain Resort's future looks bright. Image: Eldora Mountain Resort's Facebook Page

Since late fall, Eldora Mountain Resort, located just outside of Boulder, CO, has been in the news as it tries to expand its resort within its existing boundaries. Now, the resort is back in the news for a slightly different reason. Earlier this week, the rumor mill started churning with murmurs of a potential sale of the resort. So, who is involved in possible sales talks, if they’re happening at all? Well, that would be the typical culprit, Vail Resorts, as well as Utah’s Powdr Enterprise. These names really aren’t that surprising as Vail has been consistently buying new resorts over the last few years, ranging from tiny feeder hills in the midwest, to resorts in Australia and even Utah’s Park City and Canyon Resorts. On the other side, Powdr Enterprise, as the name would suggest, also has its hand in a fair share of resorts, ranging in size from Soda Springs, CA to Mt. Bachelor, OR. So what will come of these rumors? Well, it’s simply too early to tell. Maybe Eldora will sell to one of their bigger competitors, or maybe they’ll tough it out and continue working with the US Forest Service to find an acceptable expansion plan. Only time will tell, so stay tuned!

#4: Climate Change Talks Heat Up in Utah:

Top Five Fridays May 6, 2016: Utah Ski Image

In the future, this could be the scene at Utah ski resorts in the thick of Winter. Not bad, if you don't like powder days. Image: Ski Utah's Facebook Page

Over in Utah, the Deseret News published an article discussing the current status of Winter in the state, as well as what impact it could have on an area that’s home to numerous ski resorts which bring in a substantial amount of tourists each year. A year ago, following the 2014-2015 ski season, the entire northwest had less than 10% of the average snowpack. It was this stat that got the ball rolling for a two day workshop that went down this past week in Ogden. At the work shop, numerous scientists and climatologists gathered to discuss the most recent data and trends in climate change, with a focus on how they might affect Utah’s ski tourism. The risk is high: among the troubling stats in the article is the fact that 19 percent of the area’s visits (3.9 million total) are attributed to winter recreation. Of that, 70% of the visits are for downhill skiing. Without a consistent promise for the lightweight, dry snow that Utah is used to, the future of skiing in the region is questionable. Yikes.

#5: And Now, Your Edit of the Week:

#6: Bonus Edit!

At, we pride ourselves on being a retailer that's for skiers, by skiers. When you contact our customer service department or read our gear reviews here on Chairlift Chat, you're getting the honest truth from people who use these products as passionate skiers. As the scientist with a pair of toddlers at home might say, "the proof is in the pudding."


Written by on 5/06/16