Top Five Fridays June 26, 2015 // Ski Industry News
#1: It Might Be Easier to Teach Skiing in Japan Next Winter
It’s no secret that Japan has been slowly becoming a hot spot for ski vacations. Every year more and more film companies make the trek to the Far East, and each year the footage contains better snow and bigger lines. The result has been an increase in ski tourism for Japan which has also built demand for non-Japanese speaking ski instructors. Unfortunately, the supply of such instructors is limited as the Japanese government requires any foreign ski instructors to have three full years of experience before they’re able to qualify for a Japanese work visa. Of course due to the seasonality of skiing, the three year requirement is rarely met. Now, after petitioning from some of Japan’s largest resorts, their government is considering easing the visa requirements for ski instructors. So while new opportunities may be opening up for North American and European ski instructors, this development still makes us wonder whether Japan will be the "Aspen of the Far East" in a few years time.
#2: Wolf Creek Land Swap Being Challenged
Remember last week when we told you about the land swap that was approved over at Wolf Creek Pass, CO? Well, it comes without much surprise that the approval for the land swap is being challenged by environmental groups who say that the environmental analysis that investigated the impacts of the land swap was too narrow in scope. Of course the counter argument, as we reported last week, is that the Forest Service ultimately had no choice in the matter as they are required by the Alaska National Interest Land Conservation Act of 1980 to provide public access to any private property that’s owned on National Forest land. This most recent lawsuit is yet another setback for B.J. "Red" McCombs who’s been trying to develop his land on Wolf Creek Pass since 1986.
#3: There's Another Ski Area for Sale
Apparently it’s a buyer’s market for those looking to purchase a ski area. Following last week’s news of Spout Springs ski area going up for sale, this week we learned of a second ski resort being slapped with a price tag. This time, it’s Marshall Mountain in Missoula, Montana. Up for sale is 156 acres of land, the main lodge, a second ski school and rental shack, and all of the necessary snow making equipment. The terrain itself seems a bit more challenging and interesting than that of Spout Springs, but it’ll cost you. The price tag on this one is $2.95 Million.
#4: The "Eighth Wonder of the World" is Now Open!
Earlier this week, an epic gondola called, "Skyway Monte Bianco" officially opened for business. This cable car, located on the Italian side of Mont Blanc, boasts incredible views of mountain itself and the Aosta Valley as it rotates it’s way towards the summit. Yes, you read that correctly. The gondola itself slowly rotates as it rises, giving you a complete 360 degree view of the region. Of course what would the "Eighth Wonder of the World" be without a ridiculous destination? On your way up, you’ll first stop at an intermediate station known as the "Pavillon du Mont Frety". This station has been meticulously planned to integrate with the geography of the mountain, and is home to shopping area, restaurants, cafes, and even a movie theater. After a brief stop here, you can get back on the Skyway Monte Bianco, and proceed to the "Pointe Helbronner" or "Eagle’s Nest." Of course the new gondola isn’t purely glitz and glam- it’ll also provide access to an incredible amount of backcountry terrain in the Winter. So while it’s certainly too early to make it official, there is a strong chance that the Skyway Monte Bianco will live up to it’s name as the "Eight Wonder of the World."
#5: And Now, the Edit of the Week:
Ok, so it’s not strictly skiing, but we’ve never seen anyone as happy to go to work as the Ski Patrol puppies in this video. Feel free to chalk this one up as a win for our K-9 friends in the ongoing battle between cats and dogs!