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NYTimes article about the future of snowsports


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I know it's getting ridiculously expensive to ski and board at resorts. The lift tickets here are routinely over $100 for a day pass now. I bought my season pass at a local hill this year which has been starving for snow, while the resorts closer to Banff have been getting hammered - but a day trip to Banff, with park entrance, gas, and lift ticket, would run me $150-$170 for the day.

I have no clue how people with kids afford to go.

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13 hours ago, Beckmann AG said:

The ski business is just like mining. Which is to say, extraction of a finite resource.

When the ore runs out, or becomes too costly to process/market, etc., the larger companies will abandon their holdings and move on to the next opportunity.


Agree.  The interesting corollary is:  "What is being extracted?"  Snow?  Snowsporters?  Image?  Some really interesting takes on all of this sort of stuff in :


The follow up question is:  "Then what?"  The result might not be as doom and gloom (to snowsports enthusiasts)  When the big companies are gone to richer fishing grounds.  Assuming there is some snow, somewhere close to you, snowsports don't have to be crazy expensive.  The (nearly inescapable) fact that that's the way it is now, does not necessarily mean that it's the way it has to be.  Val D'Irine in the Gaspe.  Castle mountain in Alberta, Turner in Montana.  There are lots of alternative ways to slide around.  There is a difference between running a ski(board) hill so that you and a bunch of like minded people have somewhere to slide, and providing shareholder value.

I donno.  It can be pretty hard to walk up to regulators, government bodies, and international agencies devoted to climate change and bleat about your hard row to hoe when you are a PERFECT example of all of the things that lead to climate change....  The elephant in the NYT article is the irony that the biggest causes of the problem, are worried about the effects.


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8 hours ago, carlito said:

"What is being extracted?"

Wealth, from the moths drawn to the porch light. 

Used to be that most anyone could take up skiing, and the relatively low cost and ease of access ensured a broad base of participants. A few dollars from many was enough to keep the lights on and the engines running.

Wintersports are much less accessible now, not only in terms of cost, but in terms of how long it takes to get to reliable snow. This means fewer participants, which means the 'entry feel' has to continue to rise in order to pay the operating costs, and those costs need to rise in order to meet the expectations created by higher ticket prices.

Sooner or later it won't be worth it, not from the customer side, nor from the operating side. 

Meanwhile, those on the inside continue to take what they can take for as long as it's there to take.

One of the towns supporting the resort I frequent has put a lot of energy into developing the local mountain bike trail system. This is bringing quite a few more people to the valley in the off-season, and for the 'fat biking' in the winter.

Last I heard, the mountain wasn't interested in contributing much to the process.

Hopefully the surge in backcountry will make a difference in the perception of what wintersport could be, and perhaps that will influence participation and affect public mindset as to resource management.





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