Top Five Fridays - October 14, 2016 // Ski Industry News
#1: Uphill Skiing Goes Mainstream:
Here’s something we’ve been heralding for years: uphill skiing. Whether at the resort, during post season, or out in the backcountry, the trend of touring has plenty of merit. Now, it appears that the joys of touring are on the verge of becoming widely known. Earlier this week, Bloomberg posted an article claiming that, “Uphill Skiing Will Be Big This Winter.” For the most part, the article simply takes on the role of messenger, sharing with casual skiers what the diehards already know. Exercise, fresh snow, less crowds- these are all reasons why a core sect of skiers have shirked the commonly held belief that chairlifts are the best way to the top. All in all, there’s no real need for a hot-take here. Really, we’ve just found it interesting to track the progress of AT skiing as it becomes a more mainstream approach. It’s also worth mentioning that the article wraps up with an overview of a handful of resorts that offer unique uphilling options. If you’re interested in either keeping up with the growing trend or want to check out some different uphill travel destinations, we’d encourage you to go check out the article for yourself!
#2: Upper Mt. Baker Forecasted to Receive 149” of Snow:
As you know, we typically refrain from sharing snow forecasts. While it’s exciting for the locals, the rest of us just have to read on longingly as we miss out. This week though, Mt. Baker is expected to receive by far the biggest snow storm o the 2016-2017 ski season so far. Starting yesterday and lasting through Sunday, the upper elevations of Mt. Baker are expected to receive up to 149”. Again, that’s for the upper elevations which means that the resort will likely receive rain instead of snow. Regardless, when news of this much snow comes across our screen, we feel obligated to share it, even if it’s unlikely that it’ll get skied. If you’re curious, you can see the full forecast from NOAA here.
#3: Tamarack Homeowners Association Saves Resort:
Back about a month ago in early September, we brought you news about Tamarack’s murky future. At the time the resort’s current owners, New Trac, owed the state of Idaho a substantial amount of unpaid taxes. As a result, the state scheduled an auction for October 17th at which they planned to auction off key assets of the resort in order to make back the money they were owed. Also at the time, the Tamarack Homeowner’s Association expressed their desire to regain ownership of the assets and pay off the debt- preventing the state run auction. What was once a long shot has come to fruition as it was announced this week that the Tamarack Homeowners association has paid off all of the back taxes owed and is back in control of the resort. As a result, the auction has been called off and the resort plans to operate as planned this winter. Plus, with the Homeowners Association back in control, it seems as though the prosperity of the resort will be a top priority for a while. Congratulations to everyone involved!
#4: A Sigh of Relief: Newell Brands Will Not Close K2, Marker, Dalbello, or Volkl:
Easily the most monumental news of the last few weeks has been the question marks surrounding Newell Brands and their promised sale or closure of a number of ski brands. In past weeks, they’ve stated that their goal is to sell off businesses that fall under the “Winter Sports businesses within the Outdoor Solutions Segment.” This segment of their portfolio includes brands like K2, Marker, Dalbello, Volkl, and numerous other brands under the umbrella of these parent companies (Line skis, Full Tilt, and Ride Snowboards for instance). Initially, Newell brands announced that they planned to close whatever brands they could not sell off by the beginning of 2017. That set off some panic amongst speculators in the ski industry, ourselves included. This week however we received some reassuring news in the form of a press release from ISPO. In the report, Newell Brands clarifies that their goal isn’t to abandon or shut down companies, but rather they intend to find buyers for all of the businesses that they’re selling. Going further, it’s also mentioned that K2, Marker, Dalbello, and Volkl are expected to remain unchanged until a buyer is found. While this does raise a few questions (Then why did Seth Morrison leave K2? Does this apply to sub-brands such as Line Skis and Full Tilt?), it’s reassuring to know that some of the biggest brands in the ski industry aren’t as near to the chopping block as many of us thought.