Week In Review August 9: Park City Threatened and 100-Inch Dump in South America
Whitefish expands, Big Cottonwood pass announced, & free Elan skis at Killington
Biggish Resort Roundup
Park City Mountain Resort added a complaint to their long-standing lawsuit with Talisker over terms of their 2011 lease renewal: that they weren’t given the right of first refusal for Talisker’s lease of The Canyons, which Vail Resorts recently took over on a 50-year term costing $25 million a year. Park City has claimed the success of their lawsuit is critical to their survival, and has even put a caveat on their season passes saying the mountain may close if it doesn’t go their way. Park City has been leasing its 2,800 acres of ski terrain from Talisker for the paltry sum of $155,000 a year. By comparison, Talisker has leased the 4,000 acres making up The Canyons for $4 million annually. If PCMR is saying they risk closing if their uber-cheap lease terms change to something closer to a free-market rate, it’s hard to believe they’d be in a position to pony up for a second $25 mil lease. But lawyers will be lawyers…
Meanwhile, The Canyons’ new owner, Vail Resorts, is making $10 million in capital improvements in its new Midwest operation, Michigan’s Mt. Brighton. More snowmaking, chairlifts, and better beginner and children’s options are on the construction docket. Mt. Brighton skiers will also have access to the Epic Pass’s 9 Western resorts.
Smallish Resort Roundup
Chairs arrived in Whitefish, Montana this week in preparation for the construction of the mountain’s new Flower Point fixed-grip triple, which will open for the 2014-15 season and will add 800 vertical feet and 200 acres of terrain on Big Mountain’s north face.
Pennsylvania’s Alpine Mountain, with 120 skiable acres and 500 vertical feet, is going up for auction in the fall. Meanwhile, the city of Casper, Wyoming is trying to figure out whether to renovate, close, or sell the town-owned ski hill, Hogadon Ski Area, which needs improvements to its facilities as well as potentially more water for snowmaking. Advocates for a new master plan for Hogadon say renovations could boost skier visits from 20,000 to 35,000 a year. Meanwhile, Connecticut’s Powder Ridge ski area is breathing a sigh of relief after voters approved a sale of nearly 20 acres of ski area property to a local resident for $300,000 in cash, which will help pay off the mountain’s $2.3 million debt.
South America Gets Pitted
While it’s not yet time for the infamous Santa Rosa storm, the Andes delivered in a big way this week. Portillo in Chile got socked with over three feet, Cerro Catedral in Bariloche got 51 inches, and Las Leñas has been reporting three feet of fresh at the base and 7-10 at the summit of El Marte chair.
Videotrippin’ with Shay Lee and Sandy Boville
The opening powder segment won’t impress anybody, but the jibbin’ sure is nice. While we all know how good POWDER Breakthrough Performer Sandy Boville is, his buddy Shay Lee needs some serious mention on the style wire.
Big Cottonwood Pass Launches
Brighton and Solitude have paired up to offer a joint pass with no blackout dates for $999, and you get night skiing at Brighton. But that means you can’t brag about being an Alta-Bird local, so it may not be worth it to you…
Forgotten Ski Company Elan Giving Away Boards To Killington Beginners
I’ve spent quite a bit of time harping on the industry’s incompetence in getting more new people into the sport, but an effort between Killington and Elan deserves some mention. In one of the more compelling efforts to convert beginner skiers into life-long devotees, Killington is offering a four-day learn-to-ski package for adults for $249, and after completing the program, participants are eligible for a free pair of Elan eRise skis and bindings as well as discount vouchers for boots and poles.
I came across Pep Fujas’ segment from the legendary 2003 Oakley team video, Session 1242, while researching freeskiing history this week. And a part with this much diversity, so many huge backcountry tricks on skis with no rocker, and so much sliding of rough concrete would still stand today.
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