I continue to be amazed that heli skiing can exist in Colorado with our terrifying snowpack and high altitude. Really, compared to what they do in Alaska and Canada it appears a bit silly. Thus, my eyes widened a bit when I saw Silverton ski area is requesting an expanded heli permit. It makes sense they’d like to use lower altitude terrain that’s less wind affected, but I’ve no doubt that means they’ll encroach on human powered ski touring. Frankly, we’d like to see strict limits on heli skiing here in Colorado. It’s impractical, not to mention an impactful and elitist use of public land that’s often pristine winter backcountry. More here.
I know many of you, like us, are fans of Black Diamond Equipment. With its roots in Yvon Chouinard’s piton smithy of the 1960s, BD is still core and still a player in a variety of mountain sports. Old news is the company ownership and organization changed some time ago. New news is yes, it is being purchased again by a mysterious buyer whom we all are incredibly curious about. We’ll know the answer within a few days or weeks. The rumors are fun; we’ve heard mumblings about possible buyers being everyone from Yvon himself to a mysterious Chinese consortium with nefarious plans for world carabiner domination. Main thing is I was told by an analyst that this sale will possibly result in a cash infusion that’ll be healthy for the company and translate to more innovative gear we can use for ski touring. This article sums up the current state of affairs.
Outdoor Retailer (OR) summer trade show is coming up in August. While somewhat of a yawner for ski touring gear, the summer show is still a must-stop for WildSnow dot com to check out a variety of gear as well as socialize with our industry friends. News for OR is they’ve changed the date range of this coming winter’s 2016 show to early January 6-10. For you dear readers, what’s interesting about this is the European ISPO show is January 24-27. While this will make it easier to attend both shows, it also means that new products will perhaps be more likely to debut at Outdoor Retailer. Check out our history with Outdoor Retailer, it’s scary.
Uphill skiing activism continues to challenge resort operators. Latest is down under in the NZ, where Coronet Peak managers banned two uphillers from the slopes and had them hauled away by the police. To be fair, it sounds like Coronet has an uphill skiing policy of sorts, but the nixed glissers were disobeying the rules. Nonetheless, always amusing to see resorts that can’t accommodate uphilling to a greater extent. Why not welcome all skiers and simply figure out a way to monetize? Reminds me of the early bans on snowboarding. (Broken link removed 2017)
Heading north to summer, it’s been interesting to watch North American ski resorts figure out how to go year-around. The evolution has been on for decades now and they’re figuring it out. We like what we’re seeing of this in Colorado. Our resorts take limited acreage of our public land (compared to the vast federal holdings in our state), and while they (hopefully) profit from it and drive local economies, they also provide all sorts of recreation and sometimes excellent public access. My favorite example is the Aspen gondola running all summer, giving us a quick ride to a beautiful sub-alpine area with all sorts of hiking and mountain biking. Article here.
You take limited doses of alpine ski racing news? I like this article recapping the winter of “comebacks” and covering Tina Maze taking next season off. Good read for coffee break, gets you amped for some spectating next winter. Check it out.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.