Top Five Fridays - July 12, 2019 // Ski Industry News
#1: Thredbo Ski Resort in Australia Announces That It's Officially Gone Green:
First up in green news this week, is the announcement from Australian ski resort, Thredbo, that it has officially become 100% powered by renewable energy, thanks to key partnerships with Red Energy and Snowy Hydro. In this newly signed agreement, Thredbo has agreed to purchase all of the electricity needed to power the resort from these two suppliers of renewable energy. To be sure, this is an amazing step in the right direction, and puts Thredbo at the forefront of eco-friendly ski resorts. But, Thredbo's commitment doesn't stop there. In addition to this week's big announcement, the resort also points out a number of other initiatives that have been in place to promote positive environmental practices. Its decade long partnership with Greenfleet for instance, allows the resort to offset the emissions of their groomers and company vehicles by purchasing carbon credits. Additionally, Thredbo also has a long standing partnership with Protect Our Winters (POW) to host events that raise awareness regarding climate change, as well as a dedicated Environmental Week (this year it's July 22-28th), and National Tree Day, in which guests can make a $4.00 donation to plant a tree. In addition to these events, Thredbo has also removed all plastic bags from the resort, is switching to biodegradable and compostable cutlery, and is utilizing efficient appliance to reduce electricity and water usage. So, while this week's news was the big announcement, it's worth noting that Thredbo has been on this track for quite sometime, and is quickly establishing itself as the green-leader in the ski resort industry. For more on this, check out the announcement on Thredbo's official blog.
#2: Eco-Conscious Products Emerging onto Ski Scene:
Next up in eco-friendly ski news, we caught wind of two brands in the ski world that are looking to use more environmentally conscious materials in their products. While neither are brands that we currently carry on SkiEssentials, our hope is that by highlighting their efforts, we can play our small part in raising the value and interest in products that keep the environment in mind.
First up on that list, is a new company from former 4FRNT owner and founder, Matt Sterbenz. This week, we caught wind of a new ski brand he's calling "Wonder Alpine." The focus of this new company is decidedly simple: to create skis using more environmentally friendly materials. The reality of the business however, is much more complex. Focusing first on replacing polyurethane that's used to "glue" skis together, WNDR Alpine skis will instead use an oil made from algae to accomplish the task of adhesion. At the moment, the brand is in pre-production, and is taking pre-orders for it's initial ski: the Intention 110. Still, despite being a young brand, there's plenty to like about the potential future for both WNDR Alpine, as well as the trend of making more eco-friendly ski products. To learn more, check out the full story from Freeskier, or visit the Wonder Alpine official website.
In other, similar news, ski goggle and eyewear manufacturer, Dragon Alliance, also announced a new initiative this week that focuses on making the company's products more eco-friendly. Much like Matt Sterbenz, the team at Dragon Alliance was noticing that the petroleum-based plastics they've been using to make their products have a negative impact on the environments in which they hope to have their products used. So, rather than continuing that detrimental practice, Dragon announced this week that they'll be switching to a plant-based, environmentally friendly resin to produce all of their injection-molded products starting this fall. Again, while we don't carry Dragon products here on SkiEssentials, we still feel compelled to give them a quick shoutout on Top 5 Fridays as this is a definite step in the right direction, and something we hope to see other brands introduce in the future. For more on this, we'll send you over to Freeskier once again.
#3: Level 1 Productions Announces New 20 Part Retrospective Podcast Series:
Next up on our list this week, is an announcement that should get any free skier excited, particularly those who grew up during the first decade of the 2000's when freestyle skiing was just beginning to come into its own. This week, we learned that Level 1 Productions has decided to roll out a 20 part podcast that goes behind the scenes of each one of their movies, one episode at a time. For washed up park skiers and freeski nerds alike, this is fantastic news. At present, two episodes have been released, highlighting Level 1's first two movies: Balance, and Second Generation. To accompany the podcast, Level 1 will also be posting each movie on their Vimeo account for free for one week only. Put together, that means each week should bring between 2 and 2.5 hours of freeskiing entertainment for the next 18 weeks (plus the two previous). With any luck, that should get even the most snow-thirsty freeskiers through the heat of the summer!
There is, unfortunately, the opposite of a silver lining (a black lining perhaps?). Along with sharing the news on Freeskier, writer Sam Taggart mentions that Level 1's 20th film, Romance, is set to be their final film when it's released this fall. We were unable to independently verify this (although if you can, please let us know in the comments below), but if it's true, it'll mark the end of an era for one of freeskiing's most influential companies. For now though, we encourage you to listen in to the podcasts and checkout the films as their released on Vimeo each week!
#4: After 10 Years, the Associaton of Freeskiing Professionals Shuts its Doors:
Sometimes, things end gracefully, with a swan song of sorts. Other times, they grind to an abrupt halt. Unfortunately, we caught news this week that the Association of Freeskiing Professionals (AFP) has done the former. For those unaware, the AFP was an organized, worldwide ranking of competitive freeskiers. In other words, if you were a skier competing at any even remotely serious level, there's a good chance your name was somewhere on this ranking list, which was an aggregate of world wide competition results. In addition to athlete rankings, the AFP also established judging criteria and training systems which have become the basis for the way a majority of free skiing events are currently scored.
Unfortunately though, after a successful 10 year run, the AFP has suddenly ended, as indicated by the landing page of their website which leads to more questions than answers. Thankfully, long time ski writer Ethan Stone got former AFP Executive Director Eric Zerrenner on the phone to answer some questions about what's going on. Ultimately, the answer is this: support for the AFP has simply run out. Approximately 18 months ago, the team behind the AFP began realizing that their four revenue streams were beginning to dry up, and that their best chance for survival would be to partner up with the World Snowboard Points List (WSPL) and the International Ski Federation (FIS) to create a cohesive organization that would seamlessly integrate the ranking systems of all three sports under one unified business. At first the talks seemed to go well, until suddenly, they didn't. Finally, in March, Zerrenner was told by the FIS that they simply didn't see the need to adopt the AFP. With their last card played, the team at the AFP sensed the beginning of the end. For those in the competitive free skiing community, it's a big loss, and one that will surely be noticed next season as the AFP rankings cease to exist. For more details regarding both the AFP's past and present, check out the interview with Ethan Stone on DownDays.Eu.
#5: And Now, Your Edits of the Week: Candide Rides the Wave. Literally:
In Honor of Level 1's New Podcast and Potential Final Film, Check Out Their First, Balance:
And Their Second Film, Second Generation:
Finally, Japanese Tire Ski Jumping, Because Why Wouldn't We?