Ski Blog... Been doing this since 2005!

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March 20, 2007

Back to the Mission

Yesterday, I had a reader who recently stumbled on to my site (and said as much) criticizing the direction of my site, the narrative content, and that I spend time on issues as opposed to simply talking about skiing or pow or whatever else he was looking for. I want to go back to my Mission Statement that is linked at the top of the page:

I will try to pass along information that is useful and occasionally talk about new products or new things happening in the industry of interest to skiers and boarders. When I get bored, I might take a jab at some political matter of particullar interest to me, my friends, or folks in the industry. Maybe that is the environment, growth, new resorts, spotted owls, the McDonaldization of our ski culture, wages at resorts, etc. Nothing too serious like wars or elections or that sort of thing. I don't write about my political beliefs at this site, I do that plenty at other blogs.

First, how lame is it to have a Mission Statement? I feel like some cheesy Corporate Suit for even having one. This is a forum to discuss issues, not just conditions. To discuss the things that are being done right in the industry, not just what is wrong with it. And for people to get information. I love people that post comments and publish all of them (though I reserve the right to not post objectionable material). I started the site to discuss affordable family skiing and to describe the way that I obtain that. Discuss the pluses and minuses of different resorts as well as other topics. I didn't create the site to post about how spiritual the ski experience is. That is something personal that belongs to each individual. I don't believe that skiing is simply a "passion" or a "way of life" or some other nonsense that makes it sound like some Eastern Religion about enlightenment by way of powder days. It is a sport and an industry. We may engage in the industry or sport because of a deep enjoyment of nature or powder, but there is no need to question or comment on why each of us skis or how committed we are to the spiritual nature of skiing. The fact is that we all enjoy the same sport for our own personal reasons.

The industry is run by companies like Intrawest, American (well not as much anymore), Vail Resorts Inc., Burton (not skiing so much as snowboarding but snowsports is the merger of both), K2, and so on. The Olympic sport is run by the IOC and governing bodies that determine the rules of competitions. 90% of US ski areas are on Forest Service Land, meaning that the corporations are regulated by the Forest Service that permits their operations. Every single one of these entities do lots of things that I don't particullarly like, but in the end we depend on corporations to take the massive risk of operating a business that completely depends on the weather. Bad weather and resorts don't open or people don't come. Bad weather and gear doesn't sell and the local gear shops go out of business.

I weigh the benefits of skiing Aspen or Vail versus Wolf Creek or Brian Head. $80+ for a day of skiing versus $40. I weigh owning a slopeside condo at Brian Head that is 7 hours away versus renting versus owning in Park City or Pagosa Springs which are much further. I weigh number of ski days and affordability of a season pass versus vertical feet and acres when choosing where to go. I might take a couple trips a year to somewhere else, but because of cost constraints I usually go to Brian Head with the family. The most important thing to me is affordability and accessibility. People like me (upper middle class suburbanites) are the lifeblood of this industry. We buy condos and spend money at the resorts. But increasingly we find ourselves unable to ski because prices keep rising. The income threshold at which folks can afford to ski keeps rising. This site is about expanding skiing to more people and more families. Providing information so that gapers and families that want to go more often can.

Posted by Justin at March 20, 2007 03:19 PM