Top Five Fridays - July 19, 2019 // Ski Industry News
#1: Mammoth Mountain Announces July Closing Date, Just Short of August Goal:
We start this week off on an ironic note, as we share with you the news that Mammoth Mountain has officially announced its closing date for the 2018/2019 season. No, you didn’t misread that, and yes, Mammoth Mountain is still open. In fact, as you might recall, back in May we shared the news that Mammoth Mountain had intentions to stay open all the way through July and into August, potentially breaking the record for their longest season. Unfortunately, this week the mountain announced that it will be closing for the season on July 28th, just days short of their goal. Still, while the closing date is ultimately a week or two ahead of schedule, there’s obviously quite a bit to celebrate here. For starters, the 2018/2019 season will ultimately be tying the 1982/1983 season for Mammoth’s third longest on record. Secondly, it’s also worth noting that Mammoth typically reopens each year in early November, meaning that the start of next ski season is just over 3 months away. Looked at slightly differently, it also means that Mammoth was open for 9 out of the past 12 months, or roughly 75% of the year. So, while it’s a bit of a bummer that the resort won’t meet its goal of spinning lifts in August of 2019, the season on the whole has still been an incredible success. If you’re lucky enough to be close enough to commute to the resort, we highly recommend squeezing in a day of summer skiing before their closing date!
#2: One Potential Solution to Slow Climate Change: Convert Ocean Water into 7.4 Trillion Tons of Snow:
Next up on our news radar this week is a fascinating, and potentially alarming story from the world of climate change. While not directly ski related, climate change is obviously a particularly relevant concept for the ski industry, so when eyebrow raising news pops up, we feel compelled to share it. Such is the case this week as we caught word of a new idea being proposed by scientists working on solutions to slow glacial melt. At present, one of the most concerning areas of melting glaciers are the ice shelfs on Western Antarctica. There, warmer ocean waters are accelerating the melting of giant ice chunks, causing them to fall into the ocean at an alarming rate. Ultimately, the concern here is that with enough ice becoming submerged and melted in the ocean, water levels around the world could rise, putting coastal metropolises like New York City at risk of flooding.
This week, we learned of a new idea being proposed by scientists hoping to slow the rate of glacial melt in the area. Their idea? Pump ocean water surrounding the glacier back onto the glacier as an estimated 7.4 trillion tons of artificial snow. In other words, the scientists are suggesting that we “simply” take the water being created by melting glaciers, and turn it back into glaciers. The concept is stunningly simple. Unfortunately, the reality is way more complex. For starters, the level of human engineering to accomplish such a feat would be unparalleled in both logistics and cost. Plus, assuming scientists can even figure out a way to effectively convert that much ocean water into snow, there are additional questions regarding what the ripple effect of such an operation would be. The effort would, after all, be focused on changing the climate of the entire Earth in a sense. While it’s still very much undecided as to whether or not this idea will eventually become a reality, this story and idea should at the very least serve as a reminder of just how major the issue of climate change has become, and will continue to become. For more on this, check out this writeup on Cnet.com.
#3: Vail Named One of the “Best Employers for Women” by Forbes Magazine:
Hate it or love it, Vail’s back in the news again this week, although this time it’s for a reason that would be hard to disagree with. As you likely know by now, Vail’s role in stimulating the ski resort consolidation trend in recent years has resulted in significant change across the industry. From multi-pass offerings, to their Epic Promise and charitable donations, the corporation seems to be constantly playing the role of trend-setter. This week’s news is ultimately no different as Vail has just been recognized by Forbes as one of the Best Employers for Women in America. Coming in at 141st on their list of 300 businesses, Vail is one of only 13 businesses in the “Travel and Leisure” category, and ranks 4th out of those 13 businesses. It should also be noted that this isn’t the first award that Vail has received for its employer practices. Earlier this year, Forbes mentioned Vail on their list of “America’s Best Employers” (regardless of gender) for the 4th year in a row, and the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce also gave Vail an award for being a “Champion of Change” last fall for the company’s efforts to promote women in a male dominated industry. Chief amongst those efforts is Vail’s POWDER initiative, which stands for “Providing Opportunities for Women through Diversity, Equality, and Respect.” On that note, all there is left to say is congratulations again to Vail on a job well done, and keep up the great work and leadership you’ve shown as a captain of the ski industry! For more on this, check out the press release from Vail, or the full list of Best Employers for Women from Forbes.
#4: “Lindsey Vonn: The Final Season” Coming to HBO This Fall:
Finally, it could be easily argued that we’ve saved the best for last this week as we share the very recently announced news that Lindsey Vonn will be receiving the full HBO documentary treatment come this fall. Being titled, “Lindsey Vonn: The Final Season,” the planned documentary will be part-biography, part-live recordings and footage from Lindsey’s final, tumultuous season. As you likely remember, Lindsey Vonn had a rollercoaster ride of a season last year as she battled injuries, reluctantly announced her retirement, and ultimately won a bronze medal in her final race. That story alone would be enough to make any ski racing fans tune in, but from the information provided in the press release from HBO, it sounds like we might be in for something really special. In addition to the typical broadcast footage we’ve all seen, the press release also announces that TGR actually had Lindsey Vonn mic’d up and and surrounded by camera crews for at least the last stretch of her career. As such, we’re expecting to get an up close, intimate look into the life of Lindsey Vonn as she rounded out a record setting, historic career. For sports nerds in general, and Lindsey Vonn fans in particular, this documentary is sure to be one to look forward to. Unfortunately there wasn’t a trailer for the documentary issued with the press release, so we’ll have to get back to you on that once it’s been released. The good news though, is that we were given a date: Tuesday, November 26th. For those of you out there who are adept at connecting the dots, you’ll likely notice that that’s the week preceding the FIS races at Killington, which are scheduled for November 30th - December 1st. It’s unlikely that this is a coincidence, but either way, the last week of November is shaping up to be fantastic for ski racing fans. For more on this, check out the official press release from HBO.