Hot Sheet: Ski company protest, new lifts & mattress sale

Several ski companies are up in arms over new FIS ski specifications. Wildcat is tearing down its original gondola summit house. Jackson Hole is adding a new lift. And one ski team is hosting a mattress sale to raise funds. All in this week's Hot Sheet.

A group of ski manufacturers have filed a protest letter with FIS (International Ski Federation) President Gian-Franco Kasper over new specifications for World Cup ski equipment. In particular, the manufacturers state they “wish to express their reservations as to the process that led to these new specifications.” The manufacturers say that the decisions “have been made in a rush,” and could significantly impact the safety of ski racing this year.

The two new specifications the manufacturers have the most issue with include the lowering of standing (i.e., ski) height, and the narrowing of the skis themselves. These modifications, they claim, will increase the risk of “boot-out,” or falls from racer’s boots coming in contact with the snow. “This risk, which will be more significant in steep hard-turning slopes (typically Kitzbuehel), has not been and could not be properly evaluated,” they state. They also claim the new standing height leaves little room for attaching bindings, and also increases the risk of bindings ripping out. 

Finally, the manufacturers argue that the sheer process of building skis for the new specifications will result in a financial hardship. “Several thousand pairs of skis will have to be changed,” they state. “This will represent a huge task for the ski manufacturers and a huge burden on the teams and on the skiracers (sic) and their families.”

The letter was signed by several ski company heads, including Dr. Michael Schineis of Amer Sport, Franz Foettinger of Fischer, Klaus Hotter of Head, Reto Rindlisbacher of Nordica and Bruno Cercley of Rossignol. 

Wildcat Mountain’s original gondola top-station coming down

The existing summit building that once served as the top-station for the original Wildcat Mountain gondola in New Hampshire will be dismantled according to the area’s parent company, Peak Resorts. After considering all reasonable options, costs and benefits, and working with U.S. Forest Service to understand codes and requirements to renovate, management determined that the capital expense is not feasible and instead plan to remove the summit building and restore a small, but noticeable, portion of the natural summit.

“You have to admire and respect the history and the individuals that built what remains of the original, but long neglected, infrastructure here,” said Wildcat Mountain General Manager Josh Boyd. “But we’re in a different era with extensive building requirements and regulations that the U.S. Forest Service has in place to preserve the natural beauty of the White Mountain National Forest.” 

The White Mountain National Forest is consulting with the New Hampshire State Historic Preservation Office to ensure that the historic building is thoroughly documented and that its history is recorded before demolition. 

New lift for Jackson Hole..and new pass prices

For the winter 2011/12, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort will add the Marmot chairlift, a double chair that will carry skiers and snowboarders 1,200 vertical feet from South Pass Traverse, below the existing Thunder lift, to the top of the gondola. In the early and late season, the Marmot lift will allow guests to stay on the mid and upper reaches of the mountain. Jackson is also increasing some of its ticket prices and reducing others. The Grand Pass will cost $1,195 through August, which is slightly cheaper than last year's August price of $1,255. The price of a 10-day pass increased from $595 to $635. The weekend pass is up from $790 to $830.

Hestra announces new marketing strategy

Hestra announced the addition of 8150 Consulting to manage the company’s public relations and communications strategy, online marketing, social media and team and event management in the U.S. Beth Jahnigen Pappas and Jamie Wilson Gunion, co-principals of 8150 Consulting, bring over 25 years combined experience in marketing, public relations and strategic partnerships. Pappas has 13 years experience with marketing, communications and events in the outdoor and winter sports industries.

Mattress sale for ski team

Maine’s Sun Journal is reporting the Mt. Blue High School alpine ski team have come up with a novel fundraising plan. On July 30, 2011, the team planned to host a community mattress fundraiser. The team is offering brand new Restonic mattresses in more than 15 styles. According to the paper, as many as three other ski teams have held similar sales, and one recent sale for Maranacook ski team netted $6,000.

--Peter Kray

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