Woman’s Splitboarding

Why aren’t more companies coming out with woman’s splitboards in addition to the mens splitboards coming out next season!?

I know the obvious reason that there may not be enough of a demand for them but come on even smaller splitboards for small ment and woman is so necessary!

I am aware atomic has a split called the poacher and Burton has the freeride, woman could ride these potentially but they are not ideal for smaller woman.  So Snowboard companies out there!! Lets change this.

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Final Blog!

This is the final entry to my blog on sustainable skiing.  Over the past six weeks I have learnt a lot about the ski industry and several initiatives the industry resorts, and companies are making to lessen the issue climate change within the industry.  The most interesting article I found was about Manitoba Mountain.  I will definitely continue to follow the progress that continues in Alaska on that project.  I have spoken to some Anchorage locals who were unaware of the project and very surprised.  So I will be up to date with any news in Alaska, hopefully if the project is not built it will still be used as a model for future ski areas. 

I have looked into a couple of products ski and snowboard companies have come out with as well and my opinion on the pack that Burton came out with is that it is not as efficient as it could be.  After writing that blog entry I learnt that the Burton solar panel pack is really designed to power IPods.  In my opinion Burton can focus their innovations on some more useful products that directly relate to offsetting the skiers impact on the environment.  In addition, I have not heard any news on the development plans for Whistler however I hope those do not proceed. 

Early today I was researching and found this ski resort.  I leave you with an image and a few quick thoughts on the “sustainable skiing resort model.”

I really hope the future of skiing does not look like the image above which is supposed to be a ski resort and hotel.  I would love to see the focus of skiing and snowboarding heavily shift from the terrain park to backcountry use as I think it already is.  People tend to care a lot more about where they are when they are spending time getting to know the area they are in.  I think backcountry ski touring (less cat skiing and heli- skiing) could really impact the industry and riders outlooks.

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Manitoba Mountain, Alaska

http://sports.espn.go.com/action/freeskiing/news/story?id=6174941

Tom Winter. Manatoba Mountain, Alaska

A potential eighth resort in Alaska is on its way!  Manitoba Mountain, located ninety minutes outside of Anchorage is the area this resort may potential be developed.  Jamie Schectman, founder of the Mountain Rider’s Alliance (MRA), is in charge of this development.   His idea is different from most ski resorts as his idea is to Manitoba Mountain a community owned, environmentally sustainable resort.  Normally I would be very opposed to a new ski resort even though there are currently only seven resorts in the state of Alaska.  I do not necessarily support the idea of another resort but I am curious to see the plan for this mountain because it could potentially set a great example for current and future resorts. 

Like most new development ideas there are people and community members who are opposed and will have to be swayed.  However, if the development does go through it will be really interesting to see how the resort turns out as their mission is to be a sustainable resort and create it’s their power.  Some of MRA’s proposals for Manitoba range from wind to micro-hydro, but the funding needed to develop these opportunities is still going to be extensive.  The idea of the resort is a project that is community owned.  Yet, the costliness of a project like this one presents some problems as I think it will be hard keep the “community” resort idea just to the community and no private owners.  There are currently no private developments on the mountain and any vacation homes, or land that can be used as a base for a village, which is a very good sign.  I really like the idea that this resort is supposed to benefit the town and should not end up being another resort town that surfaces after the resort is built.  The idea of this resort should benefit all of its surrounding towns and I don’t see it becoming a huge tourist destination like whistler because it is not close enough to a majorly populated area.  I love the idea of this resort because it is going to have very little chair lift and T-bar development and its main focus will be on the backcountry.  Jamie Schectman’s idea is to allow private groups in the area to guide through the backcountry of Manitoba Mountain Resort.  I will definitely be keeping an eye on what happens with these development plans.  There was a meeting just last week in one of the local towns, discussing the project. 

 


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TGR Generations- A skiers’ and snowboarders’ perspective on climate change

TGR (Teton Gravity Research)’s Generations is a ski and snowboard documentary about climate change and how it affects the skiing industry directly and vise versa.  The documentary was released in December of 2009 but the issues addressed are still very prominent today.  There are several well-known skiers and snowboarders who speak in the video about how climate change has affected their lives and what they plan on doing about it.  Jeremy Jones a big mountain professional snowboarder and Seth Morrison, a very well-known skier.  I love this video because it addresses climate change on a more personal level.  The level addressed in this documentary is one that all winter enthusiasts can relate to.  To watch a more detailed 17 minute long clip from this documentary, click this link http://www.tetongravity.com/generations/

TGR GENERATIONS

To be able to hear what these professional skier and snowboarders are doing to change their footprints and their communities can really help reach a different market of people compared to a lot of other climate change documentary.  Some of their personal suggestions were very simple like unplugging electronics when they aren’t being used and turning off all the lights.  Many of the other suggestions used in the video related personally to people in the skiing and snowboarding industry.  One of their suggestions was a obvious, yet helpful suggestion to carpool to the hill and use re-usable water bottles.   As well TGR is the first action film company to go carbon neutral.  They have offset their carbon footprint by logging all airline, automobile, snowmobile, and helicopter use.  The YouTube video posted below is a POW(Protect our Winters) video which was the main sponsor of Generations and features Jeremy Jones and Seth Morrison as well. 
 

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Chamonix Environment

Today I was reading an article on the Chamonix Resort website (http://www.chamonet.com).  Their website’s environmental section had a lot of interesting points on how to become a greener skier and the environmental impact of skiing.  Their main points included:

  • poor snow records
  • receding glaciers; and
  • unusual weather patterns

The image below is of Chamonix and According to the French Weather Service, the picture displays that this season has been one of the worst winters in 40 years with snow depths falling 25% under what it should be for this time of year.

The Chamonix article discussed a major pressure resorts are facing today.  Just like Whistler, the article suggests that resorts are feeling pressure to develop their ski hills by adding more chairs and making them faster in order to accommodate the growing demand by skiers in the industry.  For the same reason Whistler is expanding, Chamonix suggests that it is an attempt to hold a larger capacity of skiers. Another large issue the article addressed had to do with resorts compensating for climate change by making artificial snow.  Many resorts are producing artificial snow because of their demand to make money and the decrease in precipitation that most resorts have been facing over the past few years. 

 Another thing to think about is the impact that the skiers themselves are having on the environment.  When thinking about the act of skiing I never realized that there could be a negative impact on the environment, just from riding down a slope on two planks of wood.  Some interesting facts about common environmental issues that skiers have caused in reports are that cigarette butts stay on the hillside for 5 years before the atmosphere breaks them down.  Chamonet.com suggests that Cigarette butts do not only cause a threat to the environment but also to marmots and their lungs. Another fact I had no idea about was that when skiing in the treeline or through trees you can damage the trees by knocking of branches.  When branches are knocked off the young shoots underneath get killed.  I found that fact very interesting as I am always ripping through trees without thinking about hurting them as I am more worried about them hurting me. 

The image above is of a solar panel Burton backpack.  The pack came out a few years ago and was created to offset the environmental impact iPod’s cause and seeing as skiers and snowboarders love to listen to their music, Burton’s ( the backpack brand) idea was to design a pack that would charge your iPod for you via solar panel located on the back of the pack.  I don’t necessarily like this idea for a pack because I can’t see it being very computable however it gives me hope that skiing and snowboard brands will continue to come up with new designs to offset our impact on the environment.

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Whistler Development

I was recently driving up the Sea to Sky Highways, listening to the radio when I heard an announcement for Whistler Blackcomb’s new development plan.  I was very curious to learn more at that moment as I thought about how Whistler could possibly expand any larger than they already are and why they would want to do so.  Whistler is already one of the largest and most well-known Ski Resorts in North America so in my opinion they have no reason to expand their resort.  Curious to learn more about Whistlers expansion plans and why the even wanted to expand in the first place I found that their plan included adding more chair lifts in order to accommodate a larger capacity of skiers on the slopes.  By adding more chairs and making more runs they are able to have more skiers on the hill at one time.  I think that their plan is very unnecessary.  I understand that on a normal weekend, holiday, powder day or any fair weather day, Whistler Blackcomb can get very crowded.  However, I don’t think that the long lines are a good enough reason for the resort to be able to develop a larger resort.  I think it is very unfortunate that Whistler even has the opportunity to expand.  Unlike Whistler, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, a fairly new ski resort in the interior currently has only two chairs and one gondola.  Fortunately, the resort cannot continue expanding too much more as there is no more land left to develop on. 

The Whistler Village

In order to better understand Whistler’s motives I took a look at their website.  I cannot understand why they are building new lifts and grooming new runs when their mission states “Our mission is to become the most sustainable mountain resort operation in the world.  Our environmental and economic performance will be heavily weighted on how we protect our ecosystems and address climate change. Environmental issues are business opportunities. Similar to health care, early detection and response to problems reduces costs. Early response to opportunities reduces the severity of our impacts on the natural environment and generates revenue as a market leader.”  I do not understand why Whistler is not focusing their renovations and development on making their current lifts and fuel sources more sustainable instead of building additions to the Resort. Although their website does list some good initiatives, I do not believe they are doing a good job at working towards their sustainability goal.    Much like Sun Peaks listing their environmental goals and achievements on their website, while still having an extremely unsustainable chair lift operating system. 

Whistler Trail Map showing you how developed the resort is already

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Sustainable Skiing

I chose to focus my blog on sustainable skiing because I am very interested in the ski industry and curious as to how a sport which started off as a mode of transportation became the industry it is today. When I look at the ski industry today I think about chair lifts, and resorts. This has become the standard of snow sports and although it makes skiing and boarding more available to the average person it takes away from those hoping for a better experience. Resorts such as Sun Peaks are claiming to be eco-friendly however, when I look at their resort all I see are their giant barrels of diesel sitting at the top of the chair lifts.  So I took a look at the Sun Peak web site to see the initiatives they are making that allow then to claim themselves as an environmentally friendly resort. 

Here is what I found:

(http://www.sunpeaksresort.com/corporate/environment/eco-initiatives/earth)

Although it looks like Sun Peaks is taking a lot of initiatives towards being an environmentally friendly resort I think they have a long way to go before then can call themselves eco-friendly.  Hearing the recreational snowmobiles and seeing how the chair lifts are run on huge tanks of diesel makes me think that there are still a lot more things Sun Peaks can do to change and it scares me to know that they are considered to be one of the top ski resorts in North America (sustainability wise) which was brought to my attention in a list that Transworld Snowboard Magazine came out with in their January issue of 2011. 

 alix

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