Pass watchers scrutinizing the just-released official pass offerings from the Ikon Pass group; this is the thing that is replacing the MAX Pass — sort of. They’ve mixed things up a bit, added a lower tier option with black out dates, and added a bunch of key resorts in Utah. Eastern skiers kind of left out in the cold by the new package, and I suspect sales will drop like a stone in the northeast despite the last-minute addition of Sugarbush Resort in Vermont. Win Smith has been part of various collective passes over the years but this is the first time with the MAX Pass (or what remains of it). Still unknown if the New York ORDA resorts — Whiteface, Gore, Belleayre — will be part of anything.
Business was down 4.4 percent at a sampling of western resorts in January, according to Vermont based Inntopia. “Meager snowfall at most Western ski resorts during January has led to a drop in bookings for the remainder of the ski season as lodging properties maintain a tenuous hold on revenue,” sez Tom Foley, VP of business intelligence at Inntopia. Will recent snows help? Some, but not all that much. What is really helping the resorts show $$ growth year-over-year is the fact that prices are up. Surprised?
Heard about Elizabeth Swaney, an American skier competing in the half pipe…for Hungary? She previously represented Venezuela. Hmmm. This is kind of common really, and wouldn’t be that big of a deal except for the fact that she can’t get any air or do much of anything in the pipe except drop in timidly and then carefully carve through the pipe and sweep up and down the walls. This sort of thing has been going on for decades — wannabe athletes with deep pockets who represent some country and pay heaps of money for the privilege. Critics say she making a mockery of the games; as a capitalist I can’t say there’s any real harm in it. Kind of humorous, actually. There are plenty of elite athletes who ensure that the games will stay elite.
Speaking of elite, whither Marcel Hirscher? Henrik Kristoffersen? Just goes to show that even these seemingly automatic medalists are affected by the enormity of the situation. And I say, that’s cool too. If it was ho-hum and automatic, it wouldn’t be the Olympics. Mikaela Shiffrin had some very courageous, honest, and informative words as to how she was emotionally drained through the games — but wouldn’t change any of it. They’re all pretty darn impressive.
Speaking of the MAX Pass, photo above taken by my buddy Mark S. this past weekend at Mt. Bachelor. Powder conditions had liftlines a little longer than the Bachelor faithful are used to!