The Snow Gauge

Running the rule over the ski & snowboard industry since 1995

Australia & NZ

Is Charlotte Pass next in Vail’s sights?

Posted by on 5:59 pm in Australia | 5 comments

Charlotte Pass

Charlotte Pass: Photo Charlotte Pass Facebook/Didj Mick Hopkins

It was a small gesture but an undeniably important one.

By Perisher opening Front Valley a week early, it’s the resort saying we’re on our toes and ready to move as the conditions dictate.

It’s another positive move by Perisher and comes amidst suggestions that Vail Resorts wants in at Charlotte Pass.

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The future of Perisher: Vail CEO interview

Posted by on 2:16 pm in Australia | 12 comments

Perisher

The Snow Gauge went one-on-one with Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz and asked the tough questions about Perisher developments, expansion plans and just what can be done about expensive lessons.

Key points from the chat:

  • Much hinges on a government report on Perisher that is slated to be handed down in October
  • Village and key developments at Perisher could still be a decade away
  • There’ll be no superpipe in Perisher
  • Concedes more needs to be done with lesson pricing
  • A Japanese resort is in the Epic Pass crosshairs

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Cox and James share Aussie snow award

Posted by on 11:11 pm in Australia, Competition | 0 comments

Britt Cox and Scotty James

Scotty James and Britt Cox – shared winners at Australian Skiing and Snowboarding’s night of nights. Pic: OWIA

In the end Australia’s two best winter athletes just couldn’t be separated.

So it seemed only fitting that moguls skier Britt Cox and halfpipe snowboarder Scotty James shared the Australian Snowsports Athlete of the Year Award.

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Epic Pass doubles lockout dates

Posted by on 12:24 pm in Australia, Canada, United States | 2 comments

Obama was surprised to learn about the Epic lock-out dates until he realised he was A) American and B) Not short of a quid.

Ok, you are sure to know about Whistler being added to the Epic Australia Pass for 2017/18, another big winner for the Vail Resorts juggernaut.

But there’s another change that’s understandably been publicised a little less.

Last season there were 11 lockout dates; that is 11 days in which you couldn’t use the pass.

Now there are 21.

Enough to get you re-considering? Or do you think it is a justified trade off for getting Canada’s No.1 resort on the ticket (albeit for a combined 10 days with Vail)?

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Is Thredbo next in Aspen’s sights?

Posted by on 4:45 pm in Australia, United States | 1 comment

Thredbo and Aspen

Asbo? Thredpen? The mind boggles …

With the news that Aspen has just purchased Mammoth Mountain – hard on the heels of its Intrawest takeover – the question for the Australian market is this: could Thredbo be next in line?

In light of Vail’s purchase of Perisher in 2015 and the current state of the market, this is a deal that would make a lot of sense.

And guess what? Sources have told The Snow Gauge that Aspen CEO Mike Kaplan has been spending quite some time in Thredders. Coincidence?

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The moment I knew my 52-year ski career was over

Posted by on 12:47 pm in Australia, Canada, Europe, Japan, New Zealand, United States, World | 14 comments

Michael Sharwood

Michael Sharwood

Michael Sharwood had the last ski run of his life all worked out: a run down the Blackcomb Glacier on his 80th birthday.

Like many of the best laid plans it didn’t eventuate as what seemed to be the most innocuous of falls ended his skiing days three years short in January this year.

But Michael doesn’t want your sympathy. He’s skied 110 resorts over 52 years. He’s travelled the world. He’s made life long friends. He conceived (well, conceived of!) his only daughter on a chairlift in Aspen.

This is his story. And a thank you to the sport he loves so much.

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Could Oz snow season be an El Nino bust?

Posted by on 3:49 pm in Australia | 1 comment

grass skiing

The Australian slalom championships went ahead despite some challenging conditions

Warmer. Drier.

With the start of the Australian ski season a little over three months away the combination of these words are about as welcome as Trump and presidency; Nickelback and concert and Kyrgios and Tomic.

Unfortunately in its glimpse to autumn and beyond this is exactly what the Bureau of Meteorology tends towards for the eastern part of Australia in 2017.

So, should you be putting extra storage wax on your skis or board after the northern hemisphere season? Well …

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Euro Carving & hard boots: next big snowboard things

Posted by on 3:15 pm in Australia, Europe, Japan, United States, World | 0 comments

Euro Carving

Laying one down or just laying down – who cares when you’re Euro Carving!

People often ask me, “Hey, The Snow Gauge, what’s the next big thing in snowboarding going to be?”

My standard response went: “Go away heathen snowboarder – I don’t care because I ski”.

Now I can actually reply with a face straighter than what their binding set-up is about to be: Euro Carving.

That’s right my snowboarding friends. Pack away the softails and your triple corks because things are about to get hard all over again!

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The no BS family ski trip using an Epic Pass

Posted by on 3:40 am in Australia, United States | 7 comments

Scells gang

The Scells gang do Heavenly … and five other Vail resorts

Four people with four Epic Passes. Two thousand miles. Three states. Six resorts. One month. The unsponsored, unfiltered story of a family ski trip across the United States.

When my sister Monica told me she and her family were going to ski the US for a month I suggested getting an Epic Pass. She concurred. I also told her she had to tell me about the whole experience for The Snow Gauge readers who were thinking of doing the same.

This is what the Scells gang did, what they experienced, what was good, where to eat, how to save a buck and one thing in particular that didn’t work out so well …
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Vietjet Air – never again!

Posted by on 3:59 pm in Australia, World | 0 comments

VietJet

VietJet Air “Customer Services” – bit of a stretch …

The inclusion of a middle name in my booking made VietJet Air cancel my purchased ticket without refund and issue it again at more than double the price. Are airlines so hungry for profit and hitting people up with ancillary charges that common sense and customer service go out the window?

Skiers and snowboarders don’t always make the simplest of travellers.

We have a lot of gear and there is frequently confusion about how much extra any airline will charge on any given day for carrying our planks, boots and invariably heavy winter gear with us on a flight.

I always thought my worst experience would be related to such a situation.

How wrong I was.

I’ve just had the single most infuriating airline experience in my 30 years of travel with South East Asian carrier VietJet Air. The airline cancelled my daughter’s paid ticket – and then re-issued it at around 2.5 times the original price – for using her middle name in the booking!

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