The ski industry is hurting. The environment is hurting. Skiers and snowboarders are literally hurting.
It’s hard to say how much of an effect La Nina has had this year. Typically, La Nina winters are marked by mucho snow in the mountains and more windy days than normal (it has been windier than previous years, hasn’t it?), but La Nina isn’t very strong this year. Instead, we’re getting more snow in the low country than expected.
The ski industry is obviously in a great deal of pain. There aren’t quite as many skiers willing to shell out the buco bucks to ski in icy conditions. The average base at resorts like Vail, Beaver Creek, and Keystone is between 18-20″ of snow. Breckenridge and Winter Park are faring better at 25+”. Don’t know about you guys, but I need slightly more than that to justify sitting on the I-70 for hours on end.
There are some of us, however, who are willing to forgo the traffic and ski at whatever
cost. It’s understandable, considering how much they forked over for their pass. The result? More injuries on the mountain. This year, the ERs reported a marked increase in ski-related accidents. One ER spokesperson stated that most injuries were shoulder, hip, and leg fractures. Ouch. How long until they get back on the hill?
Skiers lament on the poor conditions, as they should, but this is a real problem for environmental health. We’re in the midst of the worst snow drought since the early 1980s. As a result of the lower than average snow fall, Colorado is facing a water shortage, increase in the likelihood of wildfires, more pine beetle problems, etc.
And of course, we’re significantly affected by the lack of snow. Having a business that’s dependent on the snow fall has become a serious issue this year. We aren’t doing as many tunes as usual, but the skis and boards that are coming in are beat up from rocks and who knows what else. So, we’re doing all the snow dances we can and getting car washes more often. What are some of your rituals?