Top Five Fridays - July 3, 2015 // Ski Industry News

Top Five Fridays - July 3, 2015: Lead Image

You know it’s skiing’s off season when there’s a constant stream of news regarding ski area’s going up for sale and changing ownership. This week’s no different as we saw one of the largest American ski resorts make an international purchase. We’re also reminded this week of the vulnerability of the ski industry due to our reliance on snow. Plus, we have an update in the ongoing lawsuit aimed at forcing Alta to open it’s doors to snowboarders. Read the full story below to find out what happened this week in skiing!

#1: Alta Successfully Defeats Lawsuit, but the Fat Lady Has Yet to Sing:

Top 5 Fridays: Alta Lawsuit Being Appealed

As we’ve reported in the past, a group of snowboarders freedom fighters are attempting to force their way onto Alta’s chairlifts by suing the resort for their discriminatory practices. The group, known as “Wasatch Equality”, took Alta to court, claiming that they were violating the 14th Amendment by excluding snowboarders from their resort. Alta thought the claim was ridiculous, and about 10 months ago, in September 2014, a judge agreed by tossing the case out. You would think that’s the nail in the coffin, but snowboarders are a resilient bunch and they’re now asking the federal appeals court to re-open the case. While it’s unclear whether or not the case will be given a second chance, it’s easy to assume that Alta’s lawyers are probably at their wit’s end.

#2: Vail Closes Deal on Purchase of Australian Resort:

Top 5 Fridays: Vail Buys Perisher Resort in Australia

Well just like the in the off season of any great sport, there’s been a whole lot of “trades” going on in the world of skiing. We’ve already told you about two new “free agents” on the market in Spout Spring, OR and Marshall Mountain, MT, but now one of the biggest teams in ski sports has thrown a hailmary in drafting Perisher, Australia’s largest resort by visitors. That’s right, this past week Vail Resorts made what’s being called (mostly by me) a “mega-move” in purchasing Perisher in New South Wales, Australia. The logic behind the gamble is that by owning a resort in the Southern Hemisphere, Vail now has access to customer year round, with the ultimate goal of luring Australian skiers to their other resorts. So much like the New York Knicks will now have to wait and see if their international draft pick in Porzingis pays off, Vail will now have to cross its fingers and hope that the $134.8 million deal will ultimately attract more Australians to its resorts here in America.

#3: Worst Australian Snowfall in 50 Years:

Top 5 Fridays: Worst Season in 50 Years for Australian Resorts

Speaking of Australian ski areas- it turns out that Vail may have wanted to look into recent weather reports before buying a resort there. Unfortunately it seems as though the dry weather trend that affected West Coast ski resorts this winter isn’t exclusive to America. According to a report from The Daily Mail, Australia is facing a similar struggle this year. Typically the beginning of June is a holiday season in Australia, making it one of the busiest weeks at ski resorts. Unfortunately this year, there was little, if any snow and it’s starting to seem as if climate change is threatening the ski industry on a global scale. To all of our Australian friends- hang in there. If us East Coasters know anything, it’s that a good storm can literally happen over night!

#4: Whistler Points its Guns at Saving a Glacier:

Top 5 Fridays: Whistler Blackcomb to Use Man Made Snow to Rescue Glacier

Photo: Whistler Blackcomb

On literally the opposite end of the globe, Whistler Blackcomb, located in British Columbia, Canada, has approved an experimental plan that it hopes will slow the melting of the Horstman Glacier. More than just an environmental effort, Whistler hopes that by adding man made snow to the glacier will slow its melting and preserve its unique purpose of offering skiing and snowboarding in North America throughout the Summer. Each June and July, numerous ski and snowboard camps as well as visitors make the journey up to the glacier to keep their winter stoke alive through the summer months. Recently though, the glacier has been in rough shape after multiple low snow winters and hot summers. The threat of losing the glacier would have both environmental and economical repercussions that Whistler hopes to prevent. While the idea of making snow on the glacier has been discussed for years now, the severity of the issue has finally prompted the resort to take action. For more information regarding this issue, we encourage you to read the excellent article about it over on Powder Magazine’s website.

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

In honor of all the Southern Hemisphere related news this week, we figured we’d select this stand out edit from New Zealand shredder Finn Bilous. At the rip old age of 15, Finn already has a bigger bag of tricks than myself, you, and probably all of our friends combined. For proof, look no further than the edit above.


Written by Matt McGinnis on 7/03/15