The Snow Gauge

Running the rule over the ski & snowboard industry since 1995

If you build it, they will come

Posted by on May 21, 2015 in Australia | 0 comments


Because powdie turns on Eyre look much better than a DA for
a chairlift. Video: Kane Mortlock

At the risk of banging on about Vail’s purchase of Perisher, a quick look at the ‘What’s New’ section for Australian resorts in 2015 invariably brings you back to it.

It’s the most significant development of the season by a stretch – which is a good and bad thing in my books.

Good for the consumer in terms in terms of the Epic Pass, good in terms of potential longer-term development and good for likely competition between our ski areas going forward.

Bad? That it should stand out so much.

Ok, we get snowmaking needs refining, we like a new restaurant and a tubing park is a nice touch for an non-ski/snowboard activity.

But where are the big-ticket infrastructure developments at our resorts?

Ok, you can’t have a new chairlift every year but the punters do need a bit more than some restructured ticket prices and a new face of your favourite resort to get excited about.

To wit: California has had five pretty ordinary ski years but there’s plans for two new lifts at Squaw Valley for 2015/16 and a link to Alpine Meadows is on the table. Vail Resorts are linking Park City and Canyons to form the biggest ski and snowboard area in the US and have another two new chairlifts coming in for good measure.

The point is, you gotta spend money to make it.

Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd may have been initially chided for his $10 billion stimulus package in 2009 (as well as for crimes against hair dryers and Julia Gillard amongst other things) but it got as spending and kept us out of a recession.

Yep, it’s no simple equation here. We’re lucky to have what we do mountain and snow-wise, the season is relatively short and there’s the ever-looming threat of what impact global warming will have.

Snow consumers are effectively told they need to have faith – note how all the best ticket deals expire before a snowflake falls. That faith needs to be returned by continued investments into our alpine treasures.

Check out my: 2015 Aussie resort rundown


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