Growth and warmth in the ski industry |

Growth and warmth in the ski industry

Alex Miller

Colorado Wild spends a lot of time hassling ski areas over their growth plans, but it’s not because they’re enemies of skiing.”I think skiing is a terrific use of public land,” said Jeff Persons, board president of Colorado Wild. “But at the same time, there are values we need to protect.”Jeff Berman, the outgoing executive director, said the big issue is the resorts trying to one-up each other by expanding.”Breckenridge could do its patrons a favor by improving their parking,” he said. “But it’s just not as sexy to advertise parking. I don’t think their corporate mindset has moved beyond simply marketing the newest, best thing.”One thing groups like Colorado Wild and the National Ski Areas Association do agree on, however, is the threat posed by global warming. The latter has begun an initiative to “Keep Winter Cool” by getting skiers to recognize the impact increased temperatures can have on the sport. Colorado Wild’s Rocky Smith said he’s seeing some encouraging signs that corporations are responding to public desires.”There’s an awareness that people like to protect the environment even if it means higher prices for gas or houses,” Smith said. “A good example is Pat O’Donnell at Aspen Ski Company, who wrote about why the ski industry shouldn’t support (oil) drilling in the arctic preserve, and how we need to get away from the oil habit.”In other cases, though, corporations are just doing things to look green when they’re really not,” he said. Vail, Colorado

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