Top 5 Friday August 19, 2022: Lead Image

Ski Industry News - Top Five Fridays

Top Five Fridays: August 19, 2022

Lead Image: Why is Lexi duPont so fired up? Maybe it’s because she just announced the Sister Summit, a first of its kind event for women in freeskiing. Or, because this photo was shot back in March, it’s probably because she’s eyeing the Bec de Roses venue at the Verbier stop on the Freeride World Tour. Either way. Image: Lexi duPont on Facebook

#1: Basin Sports Has Officially Joined the SkiEssentials.com & Pinnacle Sports Family!


Top Five Fridays August 19, 2022: Basin Sports Image

It’s official: Killington’s Basin Sports has joined the SkiEssentials.com & Pinnacle Sports family! Image: Basin Sports on Facebook

Hello, and welcome to Top Five Fridays, the August 19, 2022 edition! This week we get to start things off in a self-congratulatory way for the second week in a row as it’s officially official as of today: Basin Sports is now a part of the SkiEssentials.com and Pinnacle Ski & Sports family! In case you missed our initial announcement back in mid-July, we have been in discussions with the team at Basin for many, many months now in regards to merging our brands. As of today, Basin Sports has officially joined the SkiEssentials and Pinnacle family. For those wondering what this means for our respective businesses, the short answer is that for a while, the change won’t be particularly noticeable. Basin will still operate as a retailer in the Killington area under the same name, and SkiEssentials and Pinnacle will continue to do the same here in Stowe. In the long term though, this merge will give us the ability to have stronger buying power with our suppliers (meaning better prices for you, our customer), a wider range of brands available as Basin brands will now be sold through SkiEssentials as well, and an onsite location in the Killington area, a go-to destination for our Boston and New York customers. In other words, our ultimate goal with this merger is to provide both the Basin Sports and SkiEssentials / Pinnacle Sports customers an increasingly superior experience through more products, at better prices, suggested by an expert staff that will help ensure you make the right purchases for you. At the end of the day, getting you out there on the hill and having as much fun as possible is our utmost priority. We believe that this merger brings us closer to that goal. To learn more about this move, check out our original announcement.

#2: Freeride World Tour Athletes Lexi duPont and Hedvig Wessel Announce New Women’s Only Ski & Snowboard Event:


Top Five Fridays August 19, 2022: Sister Summit Image

Image: SkiMag.com

Now, for our first non-SkiEssentials highlight of the week, we’re very eager to share with you a new women’s only ski and snowboard event that’s just been announced: the Sister Summit. The brainchild of Freeride World Tour athlete Lexi duPont, the Sister Summit is heavily inspired by her time working at the Redbull Formation event last summer. That event was a “progression session” that gathered a number of hard charging female mountain bikers in the mountains of Southern Utah to push the women’s side of the sport forward. Recognizing similar needs within the sports of skiing and snowboarding, duPont put together a dream team including fellow Freeride World Tour athlete Hedvig Wessel, as well as snowboarders Fanny Avril and Leanne Pelosi in an effort to recreate the magic.

The result is the Sister Summit, a weeklong event being held at Mustang Powder Lodge in Revelstoke from November 24 - December 1st. Part contest, part retreat, and part film making opportunity, the ultimate goal of the Sister Summit is to bring like minded and motivated women together to network and push women’s winter action sports forward. Amongst those invited will be 20 athletes (10 skiers and 10 snowboarders), as well as a slew of guest speakers, including female CEO’s, nutritionists, avalanche safety experts, movie producers, and more. While there will be a peer-judged contest element to the retreat, the focus will be more on simply gathering these athletes and influential women to push each other forward and create a culture of collaboration. During the course of the week, athletes will team up with filmers to hit the slopes and collect footage with the end goal of producing a film documenting the whole experience. All in all, this project is super exciting and we’re already eager to watch the resulting film. To learn more about this new event, check out the writeup from SkiMag.com.

#3: The Relationship Between Skiing, Climate Change, and Sustainable Energy Continues to Grow in Importance Within the Ski Industry:


This week, Elan earned a Green Star Certification for their work in sustainability. To give that concept more meaning, check out this video from Elan describing their commitment to the environment, as well as this page on their website that takes a deeper dive into their practices and perspectives.

Next up this week is a highlight that’s actually a series of news articles sharing a common theme. That theme, as we’ve touched on many times here on Chairlift Chat, is climate change and skiing’s close connection to the issue. For reasons unknown to us, the Ski News Gods blessed us with a smattering of articles related to the subject this week, so rather than choose just one to share, we figured we’d briefly cover a few of them.

Let’s start by getting the bad news out of the way: according to the Brussels Times, concerns are growing in both Austria and Switzerland regarding the possibility of energy shortages impacting resort operations this winter. In short, the alarm has come about as Switzerland’s Federal Office for National Economic Supply has announced that restrictions on ski resorts could be considered as part of a four-stage plan to deal with potential energy shortages nationwide in the coming winter. While specifics haven’t been announced, a range of restrictive measures have been suggested, including modest changes like reduced heating in lodges as well as more severe solutions such as limiting the use of chair lifts and snow making equipment. While the gut reaction would be to consider these as small inconveniences for a recreational industry at a time when the general population faces more severe restrictions, as we know, it’s a bit more complicated than that. In their local communities, resorts are often the main economic driver. If they’re forced to reduce their operations, it could have a real impact on the financial wellbeing of their staff. At present, no official determinations have been made, and there’s a chance that this reality never comes to fruition. Hopefully that ends up being the case. For now, check out the report from the Brussels Times to learn more.

In less unfortunate climate change type news, we also have a few remarkable stories to share with you. First up on the “good” list is the news that Elan Skis has earned a Green Star Certificate for their continued social and sustainability efforts. This news comes on the heels of the recent announcement that the Elan Skis factory in Slovenia is officially 100% powered by renewable sustainable energy sources after putting the finishing touches on a massive solar array there. You can learn more about this week’s news from SGB Online, and plenty more about Elan’s commitment to sustainability directly from their website.

Finally, the second positive highlight from the intersection of climate change and skiing is news that Colorado’s Summit County has just been awarded a $35 million federal grant to convert their transit headquarters and fleet of buses into being fully electric powered. With this grant, the county will be able to provide sustainable public transportation to the general public, as well as workers who commute to several resorts in the area, including Keystone, Copper, Breckenridge, Arapahoe Basin, and more. In the bigger picture, this news helps the county stay on track towards their goal of reducing transportation-related emissions by 25% in 2030, and by 91% in 2050. To read more about this story, check out the article from the Colorado Sun.

#4: The Story of Blake Lewis and the Art of the Ski Technician: The Unsung Hero of Ski Racing:


Top Five Fridays August 19, 2022: Blake Lewis Image

A modern day Blake Lewis, seen tuning a snowboard for the Canadian national team. Image: SkiRacing.com

Finally, we end this week by sharing a story from SkiRacing.com that’s given us a newfound appreciation for the role of the World Cup Ski technicians, as well as for one man in particular: Blake Lewis. One part ode to the job, one part ode to Lewis, this story from SkiRacing.com is an excellent read for those of us who simply want to know all there is to know about the sport of ski racing. The writeup starts by highlighting the unglamorous role of the ski technician: the late nights spent alone, tuning skis ahead of the races the following morning. The lugging of a van’s worth of gear in and out of hotel rooms and basement across Europe. The day to day requirements of the job are unquestionably drab, a feeling that’s emphasized when contrasted with the recognition of its importance when it comes to winning races. That is, behind every World Cup victory is a world class ski technician who likely stayed up until the wee hours of the morning the night before, tuning a number of skis so that the racer would have their pick of the perfect pair come race time.

This week’s article from SkiRacing.com ultimately highlights the important role of the ski technician by telling the story of Blake Lewis, arguably the most impactful U.S. technician of all time. In an industry that’s absolutely dominated by Europeans, Lewis’s life story saw him being taken under the wing of legendary technician Helmut Langwallner in the late 70’s. Under his tutelage, Lewis became something of an enigma: an American born ski technician, living in Austria, learning from arguably the best in the world, and even learning to speak their language. Over the course of the next several years, Lewis would work the World Cup circuit for various Atomic athletes representing various nations. Then, in 1981, Atomic joined the U.S. Ski Team’s equipment pool, enabling Lewis to begin working with American athletes. That development ultimately led to a partnership between Lewis and Bill Johnson that would ultimately come of age in 1984 when Johnson won not only the coveted gold medal at the Downhill in Wengen, but also became the first American man to win an Olympic Downhill gold medal, doing so at the games in Sarajevo. Since then, Lewis has continued working in and out of the industry for various brands, racers, and even sports. Over the course of his years, Lewis’s unlikely rise as an American born, world class ski technician has been the inspiration for countless American technicians who also hope to leave their mark on the history of the sport, even if it’s their athlete’s names that get most of the recognition. Currently, Lewis is a technician working with the Canadian team, primarily with snowboards. To read more about his amazing story and to gain a more robust appreciation for the importance of ski technicians, check out this story from SkiRacing.com.

#5: And Now, Your Edits of the Week: Check Out “FAR BETWEEN” - An Excellent Edit From Finlay Woods Starring Craig Murray:


This Bonus Cut of Markus Eder in MSP’s 2014 Flick “Days of My Youth” Still Holds Weight to This Day:


Finally, on the Subject of Women’s Ski Films, Check Out the Trailer for Arc’teryx’s “Nexus”:


Written by Matt McGinnis on 08/19/22

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