Top Five Fridays - March 8, 2019 // Ski Industry News
#1: World Cup Ski Racing News: Shiffrin Three-Peats as Overall Champion:
With last week’s Sochi races cancelled due to weather, you’d think that things would’ve been totally silent on the FIS World Cup ski racing scene. For the most part, that’s accurate, other than one massive headline. As a result of the cancelled races, Mikaela Shiffrin became the winner of her third straight overall World Cup Globe. Essentially the way the situation panned out, is that Shiffrin’s lead was so great that with the cancelled races, no other competitor could earn enough points to surmount her lead. As a result, Shiffrin won the overall globe, possibly becoming the first athlete in any discipline to three-peat whilst sitting in bed.
So, now that the overall winner has been decided, that’s it, season over, right? Well, not exactly. Despite having the overall winner settled, there are still two more stages to this year’s circuit, and the results could alter the final placement of the rest of the field. As such, the women will head to Spindleruv Mlyn, Czechoslovakia this weekend, followed by a final week of races in conjunction with the men’s circuit in Soldeu, Andorra. With just two stages left, we wish all of the FIS athletes luck as they look to finish their season’s strong!
#2: Freeride World Tour Stop #3 Results and Recap:
Next up in ski competition news: a quick recap of this week’s Freeride World Tour stop! This time, the tour took athletes to Ordino Arcalís, Andorra for the third stop, and last chance for athletes to qualify for the final round. Originally scheduled for March 2nd, the event had to be postponed due to unseasonably warm temperatures creating less than ideal skiing conditions. As a result, the start date was bumped back to March 7th, when the snow conditions were more favorable. That being said, things were certainly a bit more firm than many competitors would’ve liked. Regardless, as is the case in free ride competitions, the show had to go on and so the riders did their best with the conditions at hand. Ultimately, the event really came down to who could fit the most 360’s, backflips, and hits in on the playful course, a concept that helped some athletes thrive, while others paid the price of pushing their limits. When all was said and done, it was Leo Slemett who took home first, Kristofer Turdell with the silver, and Andrew Pollard rounding things out in third place. Unfortunately, favorites Markus Eder and Tanner Hall each fell on their runs which otherwise likely would’ve placed them onto the podium.
With the third stop of the 2019 Freeride World Tour wrapped up, the top 11 athletes in the tour standings turn their attention towards the championship round in Verbier, Switzerland, which is scheduled for sometime in the last week of March (exact date weather dependent). Be sure to check back in for our coverage of this years final event!
#3: Alterra Announces $181m in Planned Updates Across Resorts:
How do you when we’re on the back 9 of the ski season? Well, one way would be the increase in announcements regarding summertime developments at ski areas. Such was the case this week when Alterra announced a number of plans across 14 resorts, at a total expected cost of $181 million. Amongst the updates and upgrades are a slew of new chairlifts, including a new high speed 6-pack at Winter Park Resort, a new gondola at Steamboat, and a new high speed quad to replace the Hot Wheels lift at Alpine Meadows. In addition to chairlift upgrades, CMH Heli Skiing in British Columbia is set to receive a lodge renovation, as are Mammoth Mountain’s Canyon Lodge, and the Grand Manitou lodge at Mont Tremblant in Quebec.
While the aforementioned improvements are reasonably expected, it’s interesting to note that Alterra will also be spending money developing its mountain biking offering at a number of resorts. At Big Bear Mountain in California and Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia, Alterra plans to expand existing mountain bike parks. For Snowshoe, this is particularly relevant as the resort is set to host the final round of the 2019 Mountain Biking World Cup in September of this year. Perhaps the most exciting bike related news comes from Stratton though, where Alterra is set to develop the resort’s first mountain biking park and trail networ. All in all the spending-spree is welcome news for a lot of resorts, and a reminder that along with ski resort consolidation also comes significant financial investment into the newly acquired resorts. For plenty more details, have a look at the official press release.
#4: Devin Logan Completes 3 Month Suspension for Violating Anti-Doping Rules:
Finally, we round out the week with a headline that’s really not very much fun for anyone involved. About a week ago, it was announced that professional freeskier Devin Logan was in the last week of her 3-month long ban from competitive skiing after testing positive for THC back in December. Left at that, this story would seem pretty cut and dry without much room for debate. The reality of the situation is a bit more complicated though, as the THC found in Logan’s system was present due to her use of CBD treatments. According to the United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA), CBD in and of itself is not a problem, and athletes are allowed to use the chemical for treatment. The trouble however, is that a vast majority of CBD products also contain “trace amounts” of THC. While very small levels of THC are permissible due to this reality, the unfortunate truth is that most CBD products that are said to contain trace amounts of THC actually contain a much higher level. This, as it turns out, is exactly the problem that Devin Logan faced.
After testing positive for the banned substance in December, Logan was open with USADA authorities and told them she’d been taking a CBD product that advertised trace amounts of THC. Upon testing the product, authorities noted that it contained a significantly higher level of THC than the packaging suggested, ultimately leading to Logan’s higher-than-allowed levels of the substance. For Logan’s part, she did openly admit to using the product, and is not attempting to shed responsibility. In her words, “I take 100 percent responsibility for it… being a veteran of my sport, I should know better.” In addition to accepting responsibility, Logan also warned other athletes to be aware of the risks involved with accidentally taking THC via CBD products, even if the label suggests it should be alright. The good news for Logan, is that her suspension is just about over and it appears as though the sports world is being very understanding of the situation. On that note, we feel for you Devin, and wish you the best of luck moving forward!