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Is there anything more magical than snow during this festive season? For millions of Americans, that means hitting the slopes and relaxing in front of crackling fireplaces at luxurious ski resorts.
In the United States, there are approximately 9.2 million active skiers and snowboarders, supported by an entire industry that has grown around it – from sports equipment to hospitality. Although incomes fell 38% last year, outdoor and socially distant winter sports like skiing could be winter’s answer to the pandemic summer hiking craze amid a summer hike. another year in which international travel plans are threatened by the latest variant of COVID-19. We’ve rounded up five ways the ski industry is responding to the Great Resignation in anticipation of skiers returning to the slopes this year.
But first, let’s take a look at three current events that show how the ski industry is embracing its history and innovating.
Utah ski maker that uses algae-based bioplastics launches space exploration-inspired skis
Would you use skis made from seaweed?
WNDR Alpine – pronounced “wonder” – replaces petroleum products with algae-based bioplastics in its skis. âThe industry has never had access to materials designed specifically for skiing,â which is why backcountry athletes at Checkerspot in California developed AlgalTech and launched WNDR Alpine. âWe are our own supply chain. This allows us to use materials of renewable origin to create more efficient equipment, meticulously designed to enhance the alpine experience.
âFor 2021, we are collectively inspired by the risk and reward of modern space exploration, but in a low Earth orbit way … from WNDR Alpine and former professional skier, from its latest ski touring product.
Launched in 2019, the Utah-based company achieved several milestones in 2021: it achieved the only B Corp certification ever awarded to a ski manufacturer, it became certified climate neutral, and its Vital 100 achieved an ISPO award and an achievement in sustainability. WNDR Alpine helps reduce plastic waste in the ski industry while releasing high performance athlete approved skis.
Tecnica creates a recycling program for your boots
Ski boots have to endure a lot: extreme cold, slush and rough terrain. Even the best quality ski boots end up succumbing to wear and tear and ending up in a landfill. To combat this waste problem, the Italian sports equipment manufacturer Tecnica is developing a Recycle Your Boots (RYB) program.
After three years of preparation, the new program will start this year with 248 dealers in eight European countries with the aim of collecting 7,000 boots to be recycled. If the program is successful within four years, Tecnica will also begin collecting boots in North America.
Tecnica is teaming up with Carbonsink and FERCAM to offset transport emissions, as it plans to move its partners’ boots to its recycling facility in Italy. There the boots – which can be of any brand – will be dismantled, the materials sorted, and then made into secondary material. They are teaming up with LaPrima Plastics to transform the recycled material into polypropylene (PP) and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) to create new pieces of ski boots and with Liski to reuse the foam from old booties to develop protective barriers. foam in ski resorts.
Olympic skiers support children’s ski history project
Former Olympic skiers Tyler Palmer and Leanne Smith participated in an open house showcasing elementary school ski history projects. The event took place earlier this month at the Eastern Slope branch of the New England Ski Museum, the former community center in North Conway, New Hampshire.
The previous month, students were treated to excursions on the Conway Scenic Railroad, featuring a recreation of the 1939 arrival of Hannes Schneider, a famous Austrian ski instructor. They built small models of skiers to run around an indoor ski ramp. And they embarked on a treasure hunt on the history of skiing.
The event was held in honor of Martha Coughlin Corrock, a former US Ski Team racer who volunteered at the Ski Museum and passed away earlier this year. As a child, she won an essay competition that took her to Schneider’s hometown of St. Anton Am Arlberg, Austria.
Amplify the ski industry
Last year COVID-19 cost the ski industry $ 2 billion. This year the Omicron variant, continued supply chain disruptions and the Great Resignation are having an impact on the ski industry. In addition, climate change has resulted in a late start to the ski season.
Here are 5 ways the industry is coping:
- Salary increase : Many ski resorts are increasing the wages of their salaried and hourly employees. White Snow of Vermont, for example, increased his wages by 28%.
- Provide affordable housing: Providing inexpensive housing is another way to attract seasonal workers: âbeing able to provide some level of affordable housing to up to 45% of our workforce has helped us,â Taylor said. Prather, Colorado spokesperson at Copper Mountain Resort. Meanwhile, Colorado-based Aspen Skiing Co. said it rented a hotel in Glenwood Springs as housing for workers.
- Offer advantages: The Colorado National Ski Areas Association said some resorts offer meal benefits and signature bonuses.
- Invest in local daycares: Some resorts are realizing that investing in their employees means investing in the families of their employees and in their communities. Aspen Skiing Co. (Skico) is investing $ 300,000 in child care programs over the next three years, half of which will be used to support immigrant families by certifying child care providers with the Valley Settlement nonprofit and the other half to Blue Lake Preschool to provide scholarships to students and support educator retention.
- Hiring of workers abroad: Colorado Basin A has started hiring international workers, but is struggling to get the necessary work visas.
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