Top Five Fridays - October 4, 2019 // Ski Industry News
#1: 2020 Freeride World Tour Schedule Released:
First up in ski news this week, is some excitement: the Freeride World Tour has announced their official 2020 event schedule! For those of you who followed last year's tour, you'll likely notice that this year's dates and locations remain largely unchanged, apart from the Ordino Arcalis and Fieberbrunn stops swapping dates. To be totally honest though, we're okay with that. Last year's venues all proved to be excellent hosts for the competition, with each stop offering a slightly different personality. Plus, the current schedule for the Freeride World Tour manages to hit 3 different continents across 5 stops, efficiently living up to its name as a "World Tour". In addition to announcing the venues and dates for this year's tour, we also learned that a total of 7 athletes have been given injury wildcards this season, as injuries rendered them unable to compete in last year's events. On the ski side of things, that list includes Russia's Ivan Malakhov, New Zealand's Sam Lee, Switzerland's Maude Besse, and the U.S.A.'s Rachel Croft. Finally, it's also worth noting that the Freeride World Tour has yet to announce the full list of athletes for this year's tour, and has already mentioned that there will be a number of wildcard entries announced in the coming weeks. Last year, that process resulted in the inclusion of Tanner Hall, whom we hope to see return alongside even more freeski athletes. For more on this year's schedule, click here. To learn more about this year's injury wildcards and upcoming wildcard announcements, click here.
#2: Ski Industry Giants Convene to Discuss Climate Change:
In other news this week, it's worth sharing that today is the final day of Mountain Towns 2030, a three day ski industry summit in which industry leaders have been meeting to discuss climate change's impact on the industry. If this is the first you're hearing about the event, don't worry. Somehow we just caught wind of it as well, despite Jane-Flippin'-Goodall being the keynote speaker at the event! Regardless, we were made aware of the summit by the Aspen Times this week, which does a good job of covering its significance. Speaking at the event are representatives from Vail, Alterra, Powdr, and Boyne Resorts. In the world of business, these companies are true competitors who should have no incentive to share knowledge and strategies. As leaders of an industry that depends on consistent and predictable weather however, these businesses are allies in raising awareness for, and combating climate change. While the group admits that the actual impact of the ski industry on climate changes minimal, there's unanimous agreement that the industry as a whole has to do something. As Boyne Resorts' Stephen Kircher put it, "I think the ski industry is the canary in the coal mine." In other words, regardless of whether or not making resorts eco-friendly will have a measurable impact on global scale of the crisis, Kircher (and the rest of his peers, presumably), sees the ski industry as being on the forefront. This, as it turns out, is something we've covered and mentioned countless times here on Chairlift Chat. To read more details on this week's Mountain Towns 2030 summit, check out the report from the Aspen Times.
#3: Northstar California Resort to Begin Charging for Parking:
Speaking of things we've previously covered here on Chairlift Chat, we caught word of a second ski area that's decided to begin charging for parking this season. As you might recall, it was just a couple of weeks ago when Solitude Mountain Resort announced that it would begin charging for parking this season. While there was some immediate backlash to the announcement from skiers calling the move a money grab, there's also a legitimate argument to be made on the behalf of the resort who claims the move will help ease traffic on a notoriously congested canyon road. Following on the heels of that news, we learned this week that Northstar California Resort will also elect to implement a paid parking policy this upcoming season. Much like Solitude, Northstar cites congestion and visitor experience as two leading causes for the decision. Unlike Solitude however, Northstar's pricing structure seems to put more emphasis on generating revenue. This year, visitors who park in the Lower Village lot will owe $20 on weekdays, and $40 on weekends, with valet service available for $60. To save a little money, but to still be close to the resort, visitors can also park in the Village View lot for $10 on weekdays, or $20 on weekends. Finally, for those unwilling to pay, there will also be free parking in the Castle Peak lot, with a complimentary shuttle taking them to the resort. To be fair, we'll have to wait a few months too see how locals and visitors to the resort ultimately feel about this new policy, but from our perspective it appears to be another step down a slippery slope in which it becomes commonplace for resorts to charge for parking. For more on this, check out the official press release from Northstar California Resort and Vail Resorts.
#4: Andrzej Bargiel Forced to Abandon Mount Everest Effort:
Finally, we have one last update for you to round out the week. Remember when we excitedly shared the news back in August that ski mountaineers Andrzej Bargiel had announced his intention to summit and ski Mount Everest without oxygen? Well, this week he reluctantly decided that the mission would have to be put on hold. While preparing for a climb like this is a relatively complex task, requiring immense coordination and planning, once you get into the mountains and begin climbing, some things turnout surprisingly simple. In this case, Bargiel was forced to make the decision to cancel his effort as a result of a massive chunk of ice precariously perched above a portion of his ascent. Knowing that the ice ledge could collapse at any moment, Bargiel and his team patiently waited for it to fall. Despite the unpredictability of the situation, it never fell, ultimately resulting in the decision to abandon the plan. While it's certainly a disappointing end to the effort, it seems all but inevitable that we'll be revisiting this scenario in the future, possibly as soon as next year. For now, we simply applaud the efforts of Bargiel and his team, and commend their ability to make the difficult decision to walk away from a situation that's simply too dangerous to tempt. For more on this, check out Bargiel's Facebook announcement.
#4.5: The SkiEssentials.com 2020 Ski Test is Now Live!:
#5: And Now, Your Edits of the Week: Line Skis Presents "Vision Quest":
Only Sort of Excited for the 2020 Freeride World Tour? This Should Help:
Considering Buying Some Men's All Mountain Skis This Season? Check Out Our Comparison Video!
Finally, Extreme Skiing, Circa 1955: