With the explosion in ski touring popularity, more basic educational content is always welcome. Along with that, it’s interesting to watch gear makers attempt to become publishers. I guess the power of information and reader service simply can not be denied — or so the PR folks think, anyway. The weird part of it is that our advertisers could become our competitors. Ho hum, the ins and outs of business…
Meanwhile, we don’t make gear here at WildSnow, we just write about it and take pictures, but that could change at any time. G3 and BCA come to mind, both have major publishing endeavors in the works. BCA tends to stick with well written white papers and other content that is becoming a significant body of work. Check out their “Success Stories” for a positive take on our sport.
G3 is going whole hog on the video route, with a variety of how-to shorts that I’d recommend showing to your newbie friend so you don’t have to be a “trail jerk” with your endless lectures. Heck, after watching these, that newbie will probably out climb and out ski you that first time out!
Snowmobiles. Yeah, sorry to mention. But the howling beasts are as much a fixture of the snow clad backcountry as we human powered adventurers. (And of course, sometimes we do both).
A couple of sled items. First, I got my fall issue of Snow West magazine. Inside, the editors put together an industry data report relating snowmobile sales for the U.S., Canada, Europe (and even Russia?!) broken down from the year 2002 to 2016. Interestingly, they show a decline in worldwide sales, with a small upsurge for the latest 2016 model year in North America.
Worldwide snowmobile sales:
2016 — 126,972 units, 16% lower than 2015
2015 — 150,713 units, 4% lower
2014 — 157,106 units, 9% up from 2013 (topping a 5 year growth spurt).
Snow West’s editorial take attributes the drop in sales to cheaper gasoline, which puts less disposable income in the hands of energy workers “who…tend to buy snowmobiles, especially in Canada and Russia.” I have a different theory. They all took up ski touring. Or in all seriousness, perhaps snowmobiles have gotten so good that people simply don’t buy new ones as often; has that not happened with ski touring boots and bindings?
Also about snowmobiles, we got our annual tags. My yearly reminder to siphon old gas out of the sled, and perhaps take it in for a checkup. I always enjoy paying the small “ATV” fee that we get dinged with in Colorado, as some of that money goes to support an excellent trail grooming program that benefits everyone from dog walkers to, yes, backcountry skiers using snowmobiles for approach.
On the other hand, the law of unintended consequences is alive and well. In the case of “ATVs” the large “side by sides” that have become all the rage still only require an ATV tag, but have become de facto jeeps that are often driven on roads that our normal vehicle tax goes to maintain. While I like the idea of staying one step ahead of excessive government, essentially eliminating our automobile registration tax just because a vehicle is an “ATV” seems unfair. Your thoughts?
Housing is in the news again. Specifically the type of housing issues that could affect mountain resort town housing in North America, and perhaps everywhere. This time, San Jose, California passed radical legislation that essentially bypasses their restrictive land use codes and building permit requirements, thus allowing people to live in tiny houses. While the effort is clearly aimed at housing the homeless, I see this as a trend. Frustrated government has caught the over-regulation pendulum and they’re throwing it back with a shout. Now, Crested Butte? Aspen? How about Whistler hiring a few carpenters, and taking six months to double their inventory of 1,900 price controlled units?
Apologies in advance to purists who will say, “Enough resort up hill skiing news Lou, enough!!!” It’s such an interesting phenomenon I’ll keep mentioning in news roundups, especially when I see mainstream coverage.
Example, check out this article in Pursuits, Bloomberg’s publication covering high end vacationing and recreation. The end-all “pursuit?” Go to Beaver Creek, Colorado where Park Hyatt Hotel is combining the latest adventure vacation trends into their “Ultimate Winter Experience.”
According to Bloomberg, “guests who sign up (with Hyatt program) don’t just get to go skinning into the North Vail Bowls — they also get to have a picnic in a snow cave, take an avalanche-training course, and spend a few hours ice climbing in the mountain’s remotest corners… they’ll help you hire a drone cinematographer to capture all the action. The package is available for the entire season and costs as much as $30,000.” They’ve already invited us for a press junket — time to get droned at Vail!
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.