Top Five Fridays - November 23, 2018 // Ski Industry News
#1: World Cup Ski Racing Action Recap:
We start this week by admitting to a slight oversight that we made last week, when we said the circuit was on break for another week before resuming in Killington. While that was partially accurate, this week’s Slalom races in Levi, Finland completely slipped our mind. That was our bad. The good news of course, is that we get to recap a week of races! Starting with the women, we’re excited to share that Mikaela Shiffrin has won her first slalom event of the season, and 33rd ever! Not only does this bode well for Shiffrin’s season ahead, but it also puts her just 2 Slalom victories behind the all time leader Marlies Schild, who has 35 gold World Cup Slalom medals to her name. On the men’s side, things were much less exciting for us Americans, as no U.S. Ski Team member’s managed to qualify for the race. Instead, the big news of the men’s slalom race was Marcel Hirscher, who took home the gold medal and got his season off to a promising start. Next up: the men’s circuit travels to Lake Louise, Canada for a Downhill and Super G race, while the women head to Killington for a Slalom and Giant Slalom race. We'll have another recap of all the action next week, so be sure to check back!
#2: Lindsey Vonn Injures Knee, Not Season Ending:
Now, for some not-so-fun ski racing news: this week while training on a Super-G run at Copper Mountain, Colorado, Lindsey Vonn crashed, injuring her knee. Fortunately though, after being rushed to a local hospital, it was determined that the injury doesn’t require surgery, therefore not putting an immediate end to Vonn’s final season before her retirement. While that’s certainly good news for Vonn, it comes at a frustrating time for her as, not only is the season just getting underway, but she’ll also be forced to sit out of the upcoming Lake Louise events, where she’s won a total of 18 races throughout her career. As many ski race fans know, the side plot to Vonn’s final season is whether or not she’ll find her way to the top of enough podiums to claim the title of “Most World Cup Victories of All Time.” Currently, that belongs to the legendary Ingemar Stenmark who’s set the high mark with 86. Vonn on the other hand, has 82. Last year, Lindsey snagged 5 World Cup victories, while averaging approximately 7 per year while healthy. In other words, with just 4 first place finishes away from sharing the title, and 5 away from claiming it, being unable to race in Lake Louise presents a significant challenge that Vonn will have to overcome as she pursues her ultimate goal. For more on this, check out the quick recap from the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team.
#3: An Update on Vail’s Epic Promise Progress:
Moving right along, we learned more from Vail this week about steps they’re taking to make good on their Epic Promise. As a quick refresher, Vail’s Epic Promise is the company’s stated commitment to leaving a zero environmental footprint through all of its 17 resorts by 2030. For an empire of ski resorts that require an incredible amount of energy and water (think: snowmaking) to run, it’s a pretty lofty goal. Still, Vail does seem committed to the idea, and even made two announcements eariler this month that signal the first real steps toward realizing their goal. First up, they announced a long term contract with Lincoln Clean Energy to purchase an equivalent amount of wind energy needed to power each of their 17 resorts by 2020. Secondly, they also announced a partnership with Eco-Products, a producer of compostable single use eat and drink ware, as commonly found in the food industry. With this partnership, Eco-Products and Vail will replace all single use plastic products, with Eco-Product compostable versions at all customer facing food and beverage vendors at all of its resorts. In addition to these two main highlights, the official press release also mentions smaller scale endeavors, such as supporting the growth of local Utah and Colorado solar suppliers Xcel Energy and Rocky Mountain Power through contractual commitments that allow the two businesses to expand their solar arrays. While there’s still plenty of work to be done before Vail makes good on their Epic Promise, this latest news suggests that the company has every intention of putting their money where their mouth is. To learn all of the details, check out the official press release from Vail Resorts!
#4: Utah Avalanche Center Announces New Online Course:
Finally, we’ll end this week on a strongly positive note as we’ve just learned about an amazing new program from the Utah Avalanche Center (UAC). This week, the UAC launched a new online avalanche education program as part of their “Know Before You Go”, or KBYG, effort. As you can likely guess, the UAC’s primary goals include raising awareness of the dangers of avalanches, and educating backcountry enthusiasts about avalanche mitigation and survival. Over the last 30+ years, the Utah Avalanche Center has been one of the most prominent resources for avalanche education for both the Utah ski community, as well as skiers everywhere. This week, they’ve upped the ante on the second half of that statement by releasing the Know Before You Go online education program. Consisting of five different lessons, the KBYG program is touted as being a refresher, or supplement, to in person avalanche classes. So while it’s not meant to be a comprehensive education program, it should serve skiers well as a sort of avalanche awareness 101. And the best part? This program is available totally for free, which is exactly how it should be. To learn more or to take the 5 part course yourself, head over to kbyg.org/learn.