Top Five Fridays - July 31, 2015 // Ski Industry News
#1: Dick Bass, Co-Founder of Snowbird Ski Resort, Passed Away at 85:
We start this week’s recap with somber news. Dick Bass, ski pioneer, mountain climber, and perhaps most notably the co-founder of Snowbird Ski Resort, passed away this past Sunday, July, 26 2015. By all accounts, Mr. Bass was a truly incredible person. Having made small investments in Vail, Beaver Creek, Aspen, and Alta, Bass joined forces with Ted Johnson and established Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort in 1971. That’s just part of his story though. In addition to contributing to the transformation of the Utah ski scene, Bass was also the first person to climb the highest peak on all seven continents. In his efforts, Bass also became the oldest person (at the time) to climb Mt. Everest. Above all though, Dick Bass was a good guy. Colleagues and competitors alike have nothing but positive things to say about Mr. Bass’s personality. As Bob Wheaton, the President and CEO of Deer Valley, put it, “When I’d see him, he didn’t even have to open his mouth and I’d start smiling.”
Dick Bass was 85 years old, and the cause of death is listed as pulmonary fibrosis. Ski in peace Mr. Bass, and thank you for your contribution to the world of skiing!
#2: Vail Makes Combination of Park City and Canyons Ski Area Offical:
Speaking of developing the Utah ski scene, Vail made it officially official on Wednesday that they’ll be combining Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons Resorts into one ski resort for the 2015-2016 season. Ever since Vail purchased Park City for $182.5 million last year, it’s been widely assumed that this play was in the works. Last December Vail even announced their plan to connect the two resorts via chairlift as a part of a $50 million investment. In Wednesday’s announcement, Vail released a new Park City Mountain website, and detailed how they would be joining the branding identities of the two resorts. So while the announcement was nothing too surprising, it is notable that there’s no longer any doubt or speculation: Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons Resort are now one in the same.
#3: Fenway Park Might Host Big Air Event:
Switching coasts now, it was reported late last week that the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association and Fenway Sports Management (owners of Fenway Park in Boston, MA) are currently in negotiations to bring a ski and snowboard big air event to Fenway Park this Winter. Initially conceptualized in 2013, the goal of the event was to put broadcast an urban ski and snowboard big air on TV, in hopes that it would catch the International Olympics Committee’s eye and generate support for the sports inclusion in the 2018 Winter Olympics. Since then, snowboard big air has been approved with the Olympics, while ski big air was shot down this time around. Now, organizers of the event say it will celebrate snowboarding’s inclusion, while continuing to make a case for a ski big air event.
While the two groups have “agreed in principal,” there is yet to be a finalized contract which means this deal still has plenty of time to fall through. If the two groups are able to reach an agreement, then the event will be aired live on NBCSN with a second showing on NBC. As East Coast freestyle ski fans, we sure hope that these two are able to reach an agreement and bring an awesome event like this to an East Coast venue!
#4: Three New York Mountains to Convert to Solar Power:
In more good East Coast news, the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) has announced plans utilize solar energy to power New York’s three state run ski resorts. The three resorts, Belleayre, Gore, and Whiteface Mountain, are some of the largest ski areas in the state. The contract, signed with Borrego Solar, is set to last 25 years and should save the ski resorts as much as $14 million over the agreement period. Perhaps most important though, is the reduction in carbon emissions that will result from the conversion. According to ORDA chairman Pat Barrett, “With this initiative ORDA will substantially reduce its carbon footprint essentially akin to removing over 46,000 cars from the road over the life of the agreement.” No matter what side of the climate change argument you find yourself on, it’d be hard to argue against the benefits of this kind of reduction in emissions.
#4.5: Fun Fact: It Snowed in Montana and Wyoming. And it’s July.
While not necessarily the most earth shattering news, we thought it was worth mentioning that ski areas in Wyoming and Montana saw either their first snow of the 2015-2016 ski season, or last snow of the 2014-2015 ski season earlier this week on July 28. And while we’re positive that it won’t last, it should serve as a reminder that the start of a new season is quickly approaching. Get stoked everyone!
#5: And Now, the Edit of the Week:
This week, we want to share the latest from Ski the East’s Spectral Series. In this episode, the crew heads down to Mt. Snow, Vermont to take on a custom terrain park built for the Ski the East Crew. If you have a few minutes, we strongly suggest checking out this edit and seeing what some of the most ambitious and talented young free skiers from the East have to offer!
Before we let you all go for the weekend, we had to share one last edit. This one’s from Isaac Freeland, a name we haven’t heard before but hope to see again in the future. Check out this quick one minute edit of his best shots from this past season!