Downhill slide: why the corporate ski industry is bad for by Hal Clifford

By Hal Clifford

During this impassioned expos?, lifelong skier Hal Clifford finds how publicly traded companies received keep an eye on of America's hottest wintry weather game in the course of the Nineties, and the way they're gutting ski cities, the common atmosphere, and snowboarding itself in a principally futile look for non permanent profits.Chronicling the collision among Wall Street's call for for unceasing profit progress and the delicate normal and social environments of small mountain groups, Clifford exhibits how the trendy ski promotes its product as environmentally friendly--even invoking the phrases and logos of such environmental icons as Ansel Adams and John Muir--while while growing urban-style difficulties for mountain villages. He additionally uncovers the ways that hotels are rigorously engineered to split viewers from their cash, very like topic parks.Clifford indicates a substitute for this bleak photo within the return-to-the-roots circulation that's now starting to locate its voice in American ski cities from significant Lakes, California, to Stowe, Vermont. He relates the tales of artistic company those who are moving keep an eye on of the ski enterprise again to the groups that host it.Hard-hitting and punctiliously researched, Downhill Slide is integral studying for an individual who lives in, visits, or cares approximately what's occurring to America's alpine groups.

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Extra info for Downhill slide: why the corporate ski industry is bad for skiing, ski towns, and the environment

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I want load-sensing devices on every tower so that if the cable shifts just a quarter of an inch the lift will shut down before it can derail. I want a braking system on the lift that’s the same braking system that’s used on a locomotive to bring it to a stop—and by the way, I’d like padded seats, and if it’s possible for me to be in an enclosed cabin, then I’d like that too, and then when I get to the top of the mountain I’d like to make sure that if I happen to be cold there’s a place where I can go inside and get warm and have something to eat with­ out having to traipse back through a lift system halfway across the mountain—I’d like to have that.

It didn’t matter where you came from—indeed, almost everyone came from somewhere else. What mattered was that you were there for what the place o ered, and you pulled your weight in terms of taking advantage of that o ering and creating a community. The result was a tightly knit group of people. Ski towns were the same way. Even into the late 1970s, downtown Aspen shop owners would close up for the morn­ ing if more than six inches of new snow had fallen overnight. They’d hang a sign in the window saying, “Powder Day,” and head up the slopes.

Ski towns gave people who loved the mountains a place to live, a way to survive, and the opportunity to spend as much time as possible playing in the 36 out-of-doors. That, after all, was the whole point. That was what mattered in a ski town, not the trappings of the mainstream. A few other sports—surfing, big-wall rock climbing—can, like skiing, spawn a way of life for devotees. Skiing, however, accommodated the largest group of people who wanted to drop out for a while, or forever. From the 1950s until well into the 1980s, the skiing way of life was a reality for tens of thousands of people.

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