Top Five Fridays - September 11, 2015 // Ski Industry News
#1: Saddleback Resort Status Update:
If you live in Maine, no doubt you've been eagerly waiting for more news about whether or not Saddleback will open for business this winter. Unfortunately, the verdict is still out as the latest word is that Saddleback's management is talking to potential new buyers. Due to legalities, no one is able to discuss details regarding the potential sale of the resort, but the resort was able to layout a list of four possible conclusions. First, and most optimistically, Saddleback could sell the resort to a buyer who will install a new quad lift for this season. Or, a second option would be for a buyer to purchase the mountain, not open it for the 2015-2016 Winter season, and make the necessary improvements over the Summer. A third option involves two potential buyers who say they will open the resort this winter, but hold off on making any upgrades until the Summer. Finally, the fourth option involves leasing the mountain. So what does this all mean for the future of Saddleback? Well, one encouraging takeaways has to be that none of these options involve closing the mountain permanently, which means that at the very least, Saddleback could take a year off before re-opening next Winter with new improvements to the mountain. While this certainly wouldn't be ideal, locals should be able to find a silver lining in that their mountain is not about to be permanently shuttered. We'll keep you updated on this story as more decisions become final.
#2: Tamarack Re-Opens Side Country Access:
If you follow our blog, then you're already aware that we're huge fans of the trend towards Alpine Touring and side country skiing. That's why we were super excited to hear that yet another resort has announced a development that encourages the use of AT gear to access hike-to terrain. Earlier this week, Tamarack Resort in Idaho announced that they will be reopening a portion of they mountain known as "Wildwood." After closing the Wildwood trails in 2009 due to the removal of one of the resort's lift, the management has been eagerly exploring ways to reopen the area for the past 5 years. Finally, with the growth in popularity of side country and hike to terrain, Tamarack has decided to officially reopen the Wildwood trail network exclusively to those who are willing to earn their turns. The best part of the decision? This portion of the mountain is still within the resort's boundaries, and will still be regularly patrolled. The combination is perfect really: far less skier traffic and ungroomed slopes, with the security of knowing that if something goes wrong, you're not stranded off the side of the resort. As always, we're psyched to see yet another resort explore hike to terrain, and continue to be excited by the growth of this aspect of our sport!
#3: European Ski Resort Trail Lengths Leaving Some Piste-Off:
In possibly the first scandal of its kind, it's recently been revealed that numerous ski areas have been exaggerating the size of their ski runs in an effort to appear larger than their competitors. Typically the measurements that are listed come from either the resort itself, or the lift operators, leaving the door wide open for false claims and exaggerations. In fact, it was only recently that Christoph Schrahe, a professor of ski resort management, decided to use a combination of GPS and Google Earth to fact check the claims of resorts. What he found, was that most resorts in fact lie about the length of their ski runs. In some cases, such as the Swiss ski area Corvatsch-Furtschellas, the claims were up to 3 times larger than the actual figures. The reasoning of course, is that ski areas want to both justify the cost of their lift tickets, while also out sizing the competition. Unfortunately for them though, the gig appears to be up as duped skiers are beginning to consider legal action over the false claims.
#4: Washington Resort Sees First Snow:
Another week in September, and another ski area receiving its first snow of the year. This time, the lucky resort was Crystal Mountain in Washington, where several inches were reported to have fallen at the peak. If you caught our Top Five Fridays last week, then you're probably aware that the Farmer's Almanac has predicted a "Wet and Mild" Winter for the Pacific Northwest, so it must be a relief for skiers in the area to know that "Mild" doesn't necessarily mean too warm for snow. This week's snowfall also comes on the heels of last week's snow in British Columbia- another area who's forecast looked bleak according to the Farmer's. So what's the takeaway here? Well, it should go without saying, but this is just another reminder that long term forecasts are often based in validity, but weather is still unpredictable- especially months from now. So despite what the Winter outlook suggests, it seems as thought both British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest are off to a decent start. Here's to hoping for snowy Winters all around!
#5: And Now, the Edit of the Week:
Earlier this week, European ski crew Gypsy Feelin' released the trailer for their upcoming film, "Cruise Control." This is hands down our favorite type of skiing to watch: big lines, tons of powder, and a terrain park like approach to big mountain features. The Gypsy Feelin' crew rarely disappoints, and with the mix of cinematography and skiing in this trailer, it's hard to think that their latest effort will be anything but spectacular.