Hot Sheet: Stowe steps up, inflation, record snow & toilet thieves

A brand new chairlift up one of New England's most popular mountains, inflation concerns, Lindsey's major payday, a big change at the U.S. Ski Team and some strange toilet poaching in Canada are all part of this week's Hot Sheet!
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Stowe Mountain Resort will replace the FourRunner chairlift on Mount Mansfield with a new high-speed quad. Originally installed in the ‘80s, the FourRunner has been Stowe's most popular lift, uploading more skiers and riders than any other lift in the resort's history. “The terrain on Mount Mansfield is the heart and soul of the resort,” said Robert McEleney CEO and President of Stowe Mountain Resort. “This brand new detachable quad lift will provide superlative lift service to the very best alpine terrain in the East.”

SIA cautions industry over economic forecast

A Snowsports Industries America newsletter piece reassuring the industry that any potential impacts from the ongoing drama in Japan will be limited and/or short-lived did warn of other future concerns for the wintersports market: “Though the economic outlook is good regarding Japan’s disasters, there are significant market trends to watch in preparation for the 2011-12 snow sports season. The global economy and the U.S. consumer will be impacted by rising energy, food, and apparel prices,” the piece reads.

“The U.S. Consumer Price Index, a key measure of inflation, increased 2.1 percent over the past 12 months ending in February according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. consumers were hit hardest by rising prices at the gas pumps and grocery stores. Energy prices surged 11 percent over the 12-month period. Food rose 2.3 percent--its largest increase since May 2009. Additionally, rising production and materials costs are driving apparel prices higher. Major apparel suppliers including Nike and Perry Ellis have announced higher prices for upcoming lines.”

SNEWS® is already covering some of these concerns, and will be reporting on these subjects throughout the summer.

Vonn tops World Cup money winner list

The International Ski Federation announced that Lindsey Vonn won $510,000, to top the season’s World Cup money winner list. Vonn won eight races, but fell three points short of the overall World Cup title.

Germany's Maria Riesch reaped $505,000--as well as the overall title--after winning six races. Ivica Kostelic of Croatia topped the men's overall standings and prize list with $465,000. He won seven events.

In a column for the Denver Post, Vonn did say that having the final race of the season--a race in which she hoped to compete for the overall title--canceled because of weather “just felt wrong.”

“The system did a disservice to athletes and fans and the sport in general,” Vonn wrote in the column. “Maybe a better system would include a rule that says no title can be decided without holding the final race.”

Tahoe continues to fill with snow

It just keeps coming down in North Lake Tahoe, with ski resorts reporting up to 8.5 feet of new snow at their higher elevations from a recent five-day storm. A new storm started pounding the region Friday, March 25h, 2011, with a possible 2 more feet of new snow to fall forecast to fall through the weekend.

Squaw Valley USA is also reporting record numbers, 600 inches of snowfall for the season, the third time in the last 40 years that the resort has hit this mark. Squaw Valley’s snowpack stands at 250 inches, the deepest its ever been since 1952.

In other news…

The Associated Press reports that 37 skiers marooned in the Yosemite backcountry near Glacier Point by the deep snow have made it out to safety. Cross-country skiers on overnight expeditions were marooned Sunday by a blizzard with high winds and up to six feet of fresh snow…After three seasons with Alpine Canada, Patrick Riml will return to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association as Alpine Program Director. Riml will take over all aspects of the alpine program from grassroots development programs through the national team…The U.S. Ski Team's Hannah Kearney was honored by the North American Snowsports Journalists Association for her record season winning nine freestyle moguls World Cups and the season-long title. Kearney was selected to receive the Paul Robbins Outstanding Competitor Award presented annually by NASJA to a top competitive skier or snowboarder…Someone stole a Port-a-Potty from ski trails near the town of Bognor, Ontario according to a story in the Toronto Sun. For anyone on the lookout, police said, “The toilet is made of grey and white plastic, is approximately four feet wide by four deep and seven feet high, weighs about 200 pounds. It is valued at just under $1,000.”

--Peter Kray

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