Top Five Fridays - December 28, 2018 // Ski Industry News
#1: FIS World Cup Ski Racing Recap - Shiffrin is Back:
We kick things off this week just as we'd hoped to: with celebratory news regarding Mikaela Shiffrin! As those who follow FIS World Cup Ski racing are well aware, Shiffrin is in the midst of yet another dominant season. After choosing to rest up during the Val Garden races a couple of weeks ago, Mikaela returned to the course last weekend to compete in a GS and Slalom race in Courchevel. Just as we'd expected, she picked up right where she left off as she notched her 49th and 50th World Cup victories. In doing so, she also tied the women's record of 35 slalom victories. Her two wins over the weekend also furthered her first place lead in the overall standings, bringing her to 889 points, followed by Petra Vlhova in second with 388 points, and Ragnhild Mowinckel in third place with 367 points. Looking ahead, the women's circuit will be competing in a Giant Slalom race later today, followed by a Slalom race tomorrow in Semmering, Austria. If all goes well for Shiffrin, this could be the weekend in which she becomes the all time winningest women's slalom skier in FIS history, although she'll tell you herself that that's not at all her central focus. While we appreciate the modest perspective, we also can't help but continue to wish Shiffrin luck as she continues on this torrent pace!
#2: Two Community Ski Areas with Big Dreams:
Next up this week: two separate, yet parallel stories regarding small community ski areas with big dreams. First up, we'll bring you an update from an Alaskan nonprofit known as the Hatcher Alpine Xperience, which is hoping to enhance accessibility to a ski area known as Skeetawk. It's a story we first covered back in November of 2017, and we're extremely happy to be able to bring you a positive development regarding their plans. At the time, the group had just received a $500,000 grant from an Alaskan organization known as the Mat-Su Health Foundation, whose goal is to promote the health of Alaskans. This week, we share the news that the nonprofit has since raised the additional $700,000 needed to purchase the area's first chairlift, bringing their ultimate vision of a big mountain, community ski area one step closer. Now, the group is looking to source another $750,000 to install the lift. If all goes to plan, the ski area that is currently a popular touring area, could finally have its first chairlift by next December. From there, the group hopes to add a second chairlift in approximately five years, before finally adding a third lift to access the mountain's top peak within 20 years. All in all, it's an awesome story, and one that you can read much more about here, courtesy of Alaska's KTVA.
In similar news, we also caught wind this week of an ongoing exploration of the possible expansion of Silverton, Colorado's Kendall Mountain. Although it calls itself a "mountain", this ski area is much smaller than that, with one chairlift currently accessing just 240' of vertical. That could all change in the coming years though, as the ski area has recently released two different expansion proposals which would dramatically increase the amount of skiable terrain. While we'll defer to the ski area's viability assessment (scroll down at the link) for more details, the long and short is essentially this: in the best case scenario, Kendall Mountain could expand from just one lift servicing 4 trails, to an over 800 acre resort. If that's not possible, the backup plan would still see the ski area increase in size to over 300 acres. Either way, it would be a significant boost to the area which is currently known as the home of Silverton Mountain, and not much else. For more on this, check out the information provided by Kendall Mountain.
#3: An $800,000 Christmas Heist at Aspen's Little Nell Hotel:
Moving right along to something entirely different, we bring you news out of Aspen that sounds like it's straight out of Hollywood. Last Friday, on December 21st, Aspen police were alerted to a jewelry heist at the resort's Little Nell Hotel. While the scenario may sound odd, the hotel provides high end lodging for resort guests, and has displayed Piranesi Jewelry in a rented display case for the past 20 years. Seemingly aware of this, three men from out of town rented a black Ford SUV with California license plates, and took advantage of the high price, low security situation. When all was said and done, the thieves managed to steal $800,000 worth of diamond and gold jewelry from the case. While the hotel managed to capture the three thieves on surveillance cameras, police have stated that they believe the men have shaved their facial hair to alter their appearance, and wasted no time leaving the area. At the time of publishing, this is an ongoing, unsolved case, but with any luck, the men will eventually be tracked down and apprehended. Meanwhile, we can be thankful that nobody was hurt during the heist. For more on this, head over to the latest report from the Aspen Times.
#4: The 5th Annual Ski Happy Contest is Underway!
Finally, we'll conclude this week with an exciting announcement for those who look forward to our annual Ski Happy Photo Contest. First and foremost, we'd like to remind you all that our first month of the contest is nearing its conclusion, with December 31st being the last day to submit your photos to be eligible to win this month's prize pack, sponsored by Blizzard! This month, the first place winner will receive either a pair of Rustler 9's or Sheeva 9's in the length of their choice, while 10 runner ups will receive packages containing Blizzard apparel or accessories.
With that in mind, we'll also mention that this year's contest is a little bit different than previous years in that we'll be running it through April, with each month featuring a different sponsor. In other words, each of the next four months will provide a new opportunity to win gear from your favorite ski manufacturers! To enter, simply upload an image to social media that you think fits the "Ski Happy" theme, tagging @SkiEssentials and using #SkiHappy. For more details regarding the contest and how to enter, we'll direct you to our official Ski Happy contest page. We look forward to seeing you entires, and wish you the best of luck!
#5: And Now, Your Edits of the Week: A Corbet's Couloir Retrospective:
Garrett Balen Going Big in the Kirkwood Backcountry:
Finally: A Look at an Upcoming Film Celebrating Vermont's Backcountry Community: