I'm here to discuss, from my perspective, what could be the end of the skiing experience as we know it. And it's not the perpetual cycle of rising temps and dwindling snow that are threatening the future of the culture, although I believe that this is also a pressing concern. I'm talking of something more immediate. Something that even on days with the best of conditions can hinder the experience. What I believe is the biggest danger to the ski community at this moment is the relentless effort from corporations to squeeze every single dollar possible out of ski resorts across the country.
I recently spent a week in Crested Butte (my first time) over winter break where I spent a watching more snow fall from the sky than I have ever seen in my life. It didn't stop snowing for the entire week we were there. Waiting in line for our first chair of the trip, I couldn't wait to ski what is considered some of the steepest terrain on the continent. After chatting it up with some locals in the line, I was amazed to hear that over 50% of the terrain on the mountain (all the parts I was looking forward to skiing) weren't open. How could this be? The mountain had been getting dumped on for the past week on top of what was already the best snow base in the state.
As was explained to me, the closures had nothing to do with the snow pack and everything to do with the uninhabitable cost of living for the common man in CB. Almost the entire backside of the mountain was closed because there simply weren't enough people to work the lifts. Obviously, this due to the fact that no one making a liftie wage can afford to live anywhere near your typical resort.
I'm writing this post to start a discussion for what can be done to solve this catastrophic issue. I am not coming from the perspective that the tourists need to fuck off and leave the mountain to the locals, as we can all agree that there is too much money on the table for that to be a possibility. What we can agree on is that it's only getting worse, making the skiing experience more gloomy for tourists and locals alike. I would say that people on Newschoolers understand this situation better than anyone, both its inevitability and its consequences, as most of us have probably experienced this problem firsthand. I'm interested to see what users of this site have to say as to what can be done.