Slippery Slope | KUER 90.1

Slippery Slope

The ski industry is going through changes, and the Mountain West News Bureau is reporting on them in our new series called Slippery Slope. Hear how new technology is transforming the sport, how climate change is turning ski experts into political lobbyists and why the perennial ski bum could become an endangered species. Catch a new story every day this week – Dec. 31, 2018, through Jan. 4, 2019 – on Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

 

There's no doubt skiing can be a very expensive sport, and now there's a concern that mergers and acquisitions could make it even more pricey. So is it increasingly a sport for the wealthy?


The ski industry is an important economic driver in our region, but it's facing a lot of changes. Climate change, for one, is transforming ski resort leaders into activists and lobbyists.

The Fading Dream Of The American Ski Bum

Jan 1, 2019

For generations, the siren song of deep powder and steep inclines has lured starry-eyed young people into the time-honored tradition of "ski bumming."

The phrase is as much a term of endearment as an aspiration to a life lived simply: Pick a mountain, find some roommates, and ski or snowboard as much as humanly possible. But decades of corporate mergers and tourism are turning once-scrappy ski towns into high-end resorts, leaving the alluring glow of ski bum life to grow dim in much of the Mountain West.

The ski industry is one of the most important contributors to the economy in the Mountain West. And it's dealing with some pretty big changes right now. Probably the biggest one is climate. Winters are getting shorter and mountain resorts are having to adapt. 

DPS Skis in Salt Lake City, Utah has created a new product called Phantom. It's a wax replacement that makes your skis go fast season after season.
Oskar Enander / DPS

 

Wearing flannel, sporting beards and donning beanies, many of the workers at the DPS ski factory in Salt Lake City look like ski bums warming up between runs at the local resort. But they are hard at work crafting some of the most advanced skis in the world.