The Base Grind: September 30th
Snowmaking, saying goodbye to Grampa Grunt, and the best skiing-related music video ever.
Best Skiing Music Video Ever?
We’re not sure where this came from exactly, but it might just be the best attempt to involved skiing in a music video, ever.
Boyne Mountain Prevails in Lawsuit
Michigan’s Boyne Mountain was spared a lawsuit from a man paralyzed while riding at the resort. The state appeals court decided not to reinstate his lawsuit, citing the state law providing immunity to ski area operators. The man, Patrick Anderson, claimed the jump in the terrain park on which he badly injured himself should have been constructed more safely, while the court maintained he could have anticipated the jump had he heeded all signs and warnings.
Backcountry Gear Mergers Abound
Scott USA recently acquired Life-Link and the North American distribution rights to all Garmont products, signaling their intent to expand their foothold in the backcountry & freeride market, one of the only product categories seeing significant growth at the moment. In Salt Lake City, Black Diamond announced its purchase of beacon manufacturer Pieps for $10.4 million in cash. BD will also assume $2.7 million of Pieps’ debt.
Arizona Snowbowl Snowmaking to be 100 Percent Treated Wastewater
In a contentious move, Arizona Snowbowl is going to be supplying 100% of their snowmaking water from treated sewage piped in from nearby Flagstaff. What seems at turn to be an ingenious way to find snowmaking water in an increasingly dry region has turned into an incredibly contentious debate that has not only sparked lawsuits but protests, hunger strikes, and multiple arrests. A Forest Service impact assessment cleared the project and a federal appeals court ruled in favor of the resort in a lawsuit brought by a coalition of environmental groups and American Indian tribes. The tribes, which pray and hold ceremonies on the mountain, see this as desecration of sacred land, and environmental groups involved in the suit have claimed that there will be serious impact of the chemicals on alpine soils and aquifers and also human health. The Forest Service, Snowbowl, and the city of Flagstaff claim that treated wastewater, which meets standards just below that of drinking water, is already being used on golf courses, parks, and soccer fields and flows into the river already, and that the city is dedicated to providing the cleanest water possible for the project. Read more at The New York Times.
Snow King Hotel Sells
The hotel and conference center that are a part of Jackson, Wyoming’s town hill and the state’s first ski area, Snow King, was bought on September 11th by JMI Realty Partner IV, a firm co-owned by former San Diego Padres owner John Moores. It will be run and managed by JMI in a partnership with Texas-based hospitality firm Benchmark Hospitality, while some of the base area properties and the 400-acre ski area itself will stay with long-time operators Manuel Lopez and Clarene Law. Snow King had been considering ownership and operational changes after a number of seasons in which the ski hill lost roughly $500,000 forcing the hill to cut back operating hours drastically last season. JMI and Benchmark plan to put $20 million into updating the ‘70s-era hotel and conference center. Snow King Holdings, the organization still running the resort, will move ahead with plans to add a bike park, ice climbing, terrain parks, and zip lines.
NSAA Concludes New England Summit
The National Ski Areas Association recently concluded their New England Summit at Sunday River, Maine. There appears to be some collective anxiety over phenomena like the slow economy and the decline of snowboarding participation, which were listed as the two biggest threats to the current resort industry. Other concerns that were brought up about the industry’s future were funding improvements, resort real estate, less healthy Americans, competition for leisure time, and weather and climate change. Dedicated sessions were also held for the NSAA’s “Bring a Friend” program and other measures to keep participation numbers from dropping, and to discuss the implications of new healthcare legislation for the industry.
SMS Student Dies in Chile & “Grandpa Grunt” Passes Away
On the heels of the announcement of the death of 11 climbers and skiers on Mt. Manaslu, we are saddened to by two more. Megan Virginia Ives, a Stratton Mountain School student from Farmington, Connecticut, died in her sleep of undetermined natural causes September 20th while at a ski racing training camp in Chile. She was only 16. Ted “Grandpa Grunt” Quintin, owner and operator of the iconic Grandpa Grunt’s Lodge near Jay Peak, Vermont, passed away at home September 21st. Our thoughts are with both families.
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