Top Five Fridays - September 2, 2016 // Ski Industry News
#1: Epic Pass Goes European:
Time for your weekly Vail update! Just yesterday it was announced that the Epic Pass, owned by Vail Resorts, has added 6 new European ski areas. Unlike North America though, ski areas in Europe actually consist of several individual mountains. On that list are French ski areas Les 3 Vallees, Paradiski, and Tignes-Val D’lsere, Skirama Dolomiti Adamello Brenta in Italy, 4 Vallees in Switzerland, and the Austrian are of Arlberg. Within these ski areas, there are actually 31 different ski resorts which are now a part of the Epic Pass. While the pass doesn’t give unlimited free skiing to all of these ski areas as it does its North American locations, it does provide multiple free lift tickets to each one, making it a pretty solid option for those looking to visit multiple European resorts. This latest addition gives the Epic Pass arguably the most diverse portfolio of options for multi pass owners, as it now has resorts participating in the United States, Australia, Europe, with the likely addition of Canada in 2017/2018 through Vail’s recent purchase of Whistler. So, if you’re trying to figure out which season or multi pass option is best for you and have been considering a European ski vacation, you might just want to give the Epic Pass a second look. You can find out more about this latest update from the Epic Pass website.
#2: Lake Tahoe Snowfall Forecasted to be 350-400":
Those living in the Tahoe region will tell you that things have been rough since having a pretty epic Winter back in 2011. For one weather related reason or another, Tahoe just hasn’t been on the receiving end of very many snowstorms. Well, according to meteorologist Chris Tomer, this could be the year that breaks the cycle. After last year’s El Niño event, Tomer’s been observing a switch to La Niña which should position the jet stream more favorably and bring considerable snow to the Tahoe region. Just how much though? In his current estimations, Tomer is forecasting 350-400”. In other words, things would be back to normal and significantly better than the infamous 2014/2015 season which brought a mere 133” to Northstar’s Summit. Of course there’s always the question of, “weathermen are wrong all the time, should I trust this guy?” While it’s a good thought to have, Chris Tomer happens to be one of, if not the best, mountain weather forecaster out there. More than just a local news meteorologist, Tomer also predicts mountain weather for mountaineering expeditions all over the world. According to his website, that’s helped his clients achieve a 98% summit success rate. Safe to say if there was ever a weatherman you should trust, Chris Tomer’s that guy!
#3: Waterville Valley Breaks Ground on Long Awaited Expansion:
Earlier this week, Waterville Valley announced that they've broke ground on an expansion that's been in the work ever since being initially approved by the U.S. Forest Service back in 2013. This marks the largest expansion at the resort in over 30 years, and comes with a price tag of over $2 million. The project, which is being referred to as the "Green Peak Expansion," is set to bring 10 brand new trails to Waterville Valley, totaling 45 acres of new on-trail skiing. Throw in the additional glades that will be accessible and the total expansion ends up being approximately 220 acres of new terrain. The area will be mostly beginner and intermediate terrain, and a new fixed-grip chairlift will bring skiers to the top of the new area. Perhaps the best news about all of this though, is that the expansion is set to be wrapped up by December 2016, just in time for this year’s ski season. To learn more about the project, head over to the Waterville Valley website!
#4: Dew Tour Hints at “Re-Imagined” Event Format for 2016:
As any freeskier will tell you, the sport of freestyle skiing progresses quickly. Whether it’s style or technicality, the urge to differentiate and push the boundaries of what’s possible drive the sport and causes monumental shifts in perception each year. Unfortunately, competition formats don’t progress nearly as quickly, resulting in repetitive formats that eventually feel restrictive to watch. That’s why when Mountain Dew released information about the 2016 Dew Tour this week freeskiers took notice. In a press release published on August 30, the Dew Tour announced that their contest would be returning to Breckenridge, CO on December 8-11 for their 10th year. Along with that news was the suggestion of a “reimagined vision of action sports competition.” While the details here were pretty vague (will it be a new format? A unique course layout?), one hint that we received was the tease of a new team competition in which riders under the same brand will be able to compete in specific disciplins. The team concept is something that’s worked well in the past at events like the Orage Masters where teams representing different ski sponsors were able to show off their personality both as people and as skiers. While further details remain unsaid at this point, it’ll definitely be something to pay attention to in the early part of this ski season.