A global collaborative explores ski industry sustainability
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — When Hal Clifford penned Downhill Slide back in 2002, it was the peak of the go-go years for the ski resort industry. Many ski resort operators were morphing into development companies for whom the skiing and riding were amenities to be used as a marketing tool for real estate sales.
Clifford’s warnings were laughed off or ignored by the short-sighted speculators who were driving the boom. In hindsight, they would have been better off paying attention to his conclusion that the industry’s path was unsustainable.
Nobody thought the end of the boom would come so quickly, though. But now, after a couple of years of moribund sales and almost no new real estate development at major resorts, even the big boys are looking for an alternate vision.
That vision may come from a core group of skiers and riders who want to take the ski industry in a completely new direction, operating areas that are rider-centric, environmentally sustainable and sensitive to local cultural, social and economic concerns.
Billing itself as a global collaborative, the Mountain Rider’s Alliance last week launched the way so many 21st century endeavors start — with a website, a blog, aFacebook page and a Twitter account — all to forge connections and give some concrete shape to the dream.
“Rider-centric means a ski area that puts the needs and wants of a skier and snowboarder first, before profit,” said Shanie Matthews, one of the riders who is involved in the movement. “A resort that is values-based knows that caring about the ski community will assist in the progress of the overall business,” she said…
As some of you may know, Jamie and I are leaving this paradise to continue a movement that we initiated a while back, Mountain Rider’s Alliance. As sad as we are to leave beautiful Bariloche, we are very excited to make a positive difference in the ski world — a sport and community that is incredibly important to us both.
So, in saying that we thought we would share with you the first media coverage of the movement. Click here to read the rest of the article.