Top Five Fridays - October 2, 2015 // Ski Industry News
Ski in Peace to Erik Roner:
We didn’t want to list this as a simple number in our weekly news column, but we do feel obliged to share the heartbreaking news that skiing has recently lost another legendary athlete. Earlier this week, Erik Roner died while skydiving in Tahoe for a charity golf tournament. He was one of four sky divers to jump that day, and was scheduled to be the third one to land when his descent went horribly wrong and he struck a tree. It goes without saying that this is a devastating loss for both the ski community, as well as his wife and two daughters. In situations like this, it’s hard to properly convey the value and importance of the life we lost. Rather than make an attempt at expressing these thoughts, we thought it would be more appropriate to pass the mic to Travis Pastrana- one of Erik’s closest friends.
Now, on to the news.
#1: Supreme Court Hearing Avalanche Risk Case:
Alright litigators, roll up your sleeves, get your pens out, and pay attention because the world of ski liability may be getting rattled soon. Currently in Colorado, the State Supreme Court is hearing a case that puts to test the language included in the Colorado Ski Safety Act. The law, which was initially passed in 1979 and has been amended in 1990 and 2004, acts to protect ski areas from a slew of conditions and inherent dangers of skiing that could result in liability lawsuits, unless the resorts paid for numerous specific forms of insurance coverage. Rather than complicate the process, the Colorado Ski Safety Act was created as an umbrella of conditions that ski resorts are automatically protected against when a skier agrees to use their services. Pretty plain and simple right?
Well, not so much. On January 22, 2012, Christopher Norris was skiing inbounds at Winter Park when he was caught in a small avalanche to the side of an expert run. Now, the question is whether or not Winter Park is responsible for the death, as prosecutors argue that Winter Park should’ve closed the area when they found out about that day’s high avalanche danger. Defense lawyers argue that the resort is covered by the Colorado Ski Safety Act, as the specific conditions needed to create an avalanche are individually listed in the law. The crux of the problem, and why it’s reached the Supreme Court, is that the law doesn’t explicitly list avalanches as being an inherit risk of the sport. Now, it’s up to the Supreme Court judges to determine whether or not the list of risks is comprehensive, or if it’s simply a subset of examples of types of risk. Honestly, it’s a tough call, and one that could ultimately lead to a revision in Ski Safety laws in multiple states. Safe to say, we’d hate to be the judges of this one!
#2: Tired of sitting in bumper to bumper ski traffic? So is Colorado:
Colorado skiers rejoice: the Colorado Department of Transportation is looking into creating an express lane for weekend ski traffic. If you’ve ever commuted on I-70 in Colorado on a weekend day in the Winter, you’ve no doubt experienced frustration at the slow going traffic as skiers flock to the mountains. The state of Colorado took notice of the issue as well, and saw an opportunity to turn a 13-mile stretch of highway shoulder into an express lane. Unlike most flexible express lanes that are open to alleviate workday commuting, this express lane would be unusual in that it would only be open 72 days a year for Winter weekends and Monday holidays.
Alright, now Colorado skiers cringe: the price tag on using this express lane could be as high as $30 during peak traffic. For the mathematicians out there, that’s about $2.30 per mile, or about two dollars, a quarter, and a nickel more than we ever pay to drive any miles on our roads here in Vermont.
#3: Dubai’s Obsession with Putting Snow in Weird Places Continues:
Leave it to Dubai to feel the need to put snow where it shouldn’t be. Earlier in the year, we told you about Dubai’s ambitious plan to build an “indoor snow village.” While we think that’s a pretty ridiculous idea, it doesn’t come close to comparing the latest innovations from Desert Snow, a Dubai company that specializes in creating both artificial and real forms of snow. The latest from them are their snow rooms, which they bill as the opposite of a sauna. Confused? We are too, but we’ll try to explain: basically these guys have their sights set on bringing indoor snow to the residential market by creating small rooms in your home where it’s always snowing. While this might seem crazy to us skiers who are used to snow and find comfort in basking in the heat of a sauna or a hot tub- it is reasonable to think that maybe those who live in the desert could seek relief by jumping into one of these frozen rooms. For good measure, we’ll leave you with this quote from Ben Elliot-Scott, a representative of Desert Snow, “If you look at Finland, the traditional thing to do is to use a hot sayna then go outside and roll around in the snow or jump in a lake. It gets the circulation going and it’s quite good for cellulite.”
#4: X Games Real Ski Comp Voting is Open:
As of Wednesday, X Games Real Ski Backcountry competition edits and voting are now live! If you’re not familiar with the X Games Real Ski Backcountry contest, then it’s time to find out. Officially a part of the X Games competition, the Real Ski event is an online competition featuring five top skiers. To enter, each competitor submitted a short edit that was a compilation of their footage from the previous Winter. The edits are then posted online by ESPN, where everyday people like you can place a vote for your favorite edit. Whoever receives the most votes will be the Fan Favorite winner. Voting is set to conclude on October 11, at 11:59 PM, and the winner will be announced on Monday October 12. For more info or to watch the entries and place your vote, head on over to the Real Ski Backcountry 2015 website.
#5: And Now, the Edit of the Week:
This week we were blessed with a new edit from Sander Hadley, a skier out of Utah who we've had our eye on for a couple of years now, and one who is finally starting to crack the freeskiing scene. What we love about this edit is that it's not only a touching tribute to Sander's father who passed away in May of 2014, but also his unique approach to the mountain. He's got double flips, park tricks, big mountain lines, cliffs, and just about any other obstacle you can throw at him. What's most impressive about Sander though is that he doesn't seem to be skiing to impress anyone besides himself. This edit is chock full of small hits that he takes to the next level. It's reminiscent of skiing in the backyard as kids, or exploring new zones and new mountains with friends. It's not about the lights, cameras, or action for Sander. For him, skiing appears to be truly about making yourself and your crew happy. So big ups to Sander on this one, and we'll keep an eye out for whatever else he releases this season!