22 February 2017 — George Washington’s Birthday…also Ted Kennedy — he was a very good skier — and Formula 1 champ Nikki Lauda, an expert skier and regular at the Hahnenkamm. Yesterday I alluded to the Borg of Star Trek fame, actress Jeri Ryan also born today and most definitely a skier…and now for the corporation games…more fallout from the Vail Resorts Corp buyout of the Stowe Resort VT skiing product, neighboring area Smugglers Notch has formally squelched the rumor the Vail was also looking to buy them out and create a mega ski resort. Well that was just a rumor; Vail Corp. does not buy big resorts that need modernization. Now I’m not casting aspersions at Smuggs; they just happen to have a lot of older infrastructure that just isn’t Vail’s style. Were I to hazard a guess at Vail’s next move in the northeast, I’d have to guess Stratton, but that’s purely speculative. Regardless of where they set their sights, resistance is futile…Peak Resorts has reinstated their shareholder dividend after a few quarters without one. CEO Timothy Boyd specifically mentioned the acquisition of Hunter Mountain NY and its contribution to the bottom line as the primary impetus for the reinstatement…more corporate stuff, sort of: Taos Ski Valley has announced that it is the first ski area to become a Certified B Corporation. According to their press release, B Corp certification further underscores Taos Ski Valley’s investment in the people who live in Northern New Mexico, its commitment to a sustainable economic future, its stewardship of the natural environment, and respect for the visitors who come to experience the area’s beauty and mystique. Now lest you aren’t familiar with the whole B Corporation thing, it’s a private group that has trademarked all of this stuff, and it’s kind of the realm of politically correct do-gooder type companies like Ben & Jerry’s, Patagucci, and New Belgium Brewing. But hey, it means they’re trying to do the right thing, and in a lot of ways they are doing the right thing. So that’s cool, kudos to Taos…ok now on to the non-corporate news…Jackson Hole Mountain Resort got all that snow and wind yesterday and naturally I reported that all was well. Well it wasn’t; conditions were such that the resort had to shut down, again. They’re refunding day passes but starting to get some flak from season passholders; I’m expecting some kind of concession or goodwill offer in the near future…same deal again at Powder Mountain in Utah; lightning and bad weather closed the joint for the afternoon. Originally they tried to shut down for a bit but the weather didn’t cooperate. The photo above accompanied their topsy-turvy Twitter feed yesterday…this is a tough deal when resorts have to choose customer safety, and that choice results in a lot of unhappy customers. Trust me on this, if you’ve ever skied in unsafe weather, it’s best to side with the mountain and take whatever make-good they offer. Mountain ops do a great job at most resorts, but regardless of how good they are, they can’t control the weather…found out Chico Marx was also born today, but I don’t know if he was a skier. I know younger brother Zeppo was definitely an enthusiast. I was trying to find a publicity shot of Jeri Ryan on skis but no such luck…back to Wyoming, the Skier Safety Act has passed the state senate, now goes to the house. The Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association opposes it; small ski area managers are in favor of it. “It’s a really good thing for small ski areas,” sez Ryan Stanley, GM of Snow King, which is the other ski area in Jackson Hole…and finally today, real tough news out of Indiana, Paoli Peaks has suspended operations due to the incredibly warm weather. With no cold temps on the horizon for the next two weeks, they might be done for the season.
Photo courtesy Powder Mountain UT