Greek Peak Summer 2021

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
jamesdeluxe":mj779sia said:
ChrisC":mj779sia said:
My family - my mother's family - is all from Binghamton - and I was lucky that I got to ski. I was lucky that I got to ski. Skiing was something incredibly elite.....doctors or dentist's sons.
Same deal for me west of Syracuse. Skiing back then was only for rich kids -- I played hockey.
Hockey is not a cheap sport either. But it's probably cheaper in places like upstate NY where you can use naturally frozen ponds as well as indoor rinks.

Yes skiing was even more an elitist sport in its formative years, which surely means at least through the 1950's. Which brings to mind the question, "When if ever was skiing not an elitist sport in the US?"

I suspected the answer based upon the data set of Mammoth skier visits, which more than tripled between two excellent (for apples-to-apples comparison) seasons in 1968-69 and 1977-78. FYI Mammoth's skier visits 2015-16 to 2018-19 averaged about the same as in 1977-78.

A cursory Google search led here.
There was approximately a 40 percent increase in participation in skiing in 1979 over 1976, on top of an approximately 40 percent increase between 1973 and 1976. This has brought current participation in this sport of snow skiing to a level of 6.8 percent among individuals, which projects to approximately 14.6 million skiers.

That report is an interesting read, and reminds me of one of the ski guidebooks I bought in 1979.
Collectively as many as 27.1 million people could be skiing in the future.
Rapid growth of western ski terrain slowed in the 1970's, so authors like these predicted overcrowding and capacity limits. The Kottke Report has tracked US skier visits since 1978-79, when it was 50.2 million. Last year was 59.1 million and the record in 2007-08 and 2010-11 was 60.5 million. To no surprise with the advent of high speed lifts, I can tell you that the worst lift lines I've experienced by far were those in the late 1970's.

But what really happened since 1980? The current active skier/snowboarder population is estimated at 9-10 million, 3-4% of the US population. So the percentage of the US population that skis has fallen back to about what it was in 1973. The "popular era of skiing" with consistent growth looks to me to be maybe late 1960's to mid-1980's. US skier visits were flat from the mid-1980's to late 1990's.

All of this tells me that I'm a typical US skier in some ways. My first time was in 1976, right in the middle of that explosive boom period, and age 23 is in a common starting age range too. The people in my age cohort who started as kids were mostly an elite group.
 

jamesdeluxe

Administrator
Tony Crocker":lwi1iwjx said:
Hockey is not a cheap sport either.
Correct, but less expensive than skiing back then and even if it wasn't actually the case, that was the widespread perception. When I moved to Boulder in the early 80s and friends would go on weekend or holiday ski trips, I naturally assumed that it was beyond my pay grade and never considered going along.
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
jamesdeluxe":1s1negyj said:
When I moved to Boulder in the early 80s and friends would go on weekend or holiday ski trips, I naturally assumed that it was beyond my pay grade and never considered going along.
That reference also mentioned that in the 1970's 44% of skier visits were in the Northeast (now it's under 25%). What that tells me is that skiing was much more a local daytrip/weekend sport then. I know that was true when I started out because the financial commitment as a beginner to try skiing back then was quite modest if you weren't traveling and paying for hotels and restaurants. In those late 1970's seasons the proportion of my skiing that was local SoCal daytrip was 48% and the rest was at Mammoth aside from a couple of days at Tahoe. By contrast the SoCal proportion of my skiing from 2011-2019 was 3%. So no I don't think learning to ski living in Boulder in the early 80's was an expensive proposition. That's where and when Liz first skied while taking a year off during college.
 

EMSC

Active member
Hey, guess where I am again this week? And where I'll be spending Thanksgiving?
 

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jamesdeluxe

Administrator
You should post that pic on NY Ski Forum given the GP/Trax contingent there. Did you get a nonstop to Syracuse this time?
 

EMSC

Active member
jamesdeluxe said:
You should post that pic on NY Ski Forum given the GP/Trax contingent there

Possible, but realistically there was very, very few in Trax that night. They did have a wedding reception and some other 2nd large party going on so overall a busy night for Greek Peak.

jamesdeluxe said:
Did you get a nonstop to Syracuse this time?

Both ways this time for my first combined out and back flight this year that was without any issues to deal with. I even got promoted to first class for the first time in a very long while given the fewer people that travel this time of year. Unfortunately in a couple weeks only the TO direction is on the direct flight...
 

EMSC

Active member
Totally have to keep this thread going despite it no longer being summer.

Instead I can show how to NOT make early season snowmaking decisions!!

I spent Thanksgiving week back east and Greek Peak could totally have been opened by Friday or at least Saturday except that it's Greek Peak. The new-ish owner has spent quite a bit of money over recent years getting the snowmaking system out of the dark ages, but still either not quite there yet or far more likely operational incompetence (there is someone with the last name of Kryger still running things).

I showed up to 50F rain and this on the hill. Apparently a test run of the system a couple of days earlier on one random not-quite-really-cold night. Totally fine operationally speaking.
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Once upon a time GP was barely able to make snow on one top to bottom trail plus the bunny hill at the same time and even that was kinda iffy. However I watched them make snow pretty close to top to bottom on 3 trails + the bunny hill all at the same time while there this year. Except....
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On every trail they left a couple of large gaps. Many snow piles were plenty high enough to be groomed out and open their own section of the trail, but not enough to be pushed around to cover the missing 100 foot gaps.
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So instead of concentrating the firepower on ONE trail they have three almost, but definitively not ready trails. It's hard to make money when you are NOT open. And while people will complain about not enough being open, they will secretly be super happy that you are at least open. It almost felt like they had pre-set Dec 3 as the target opening months ago and they just weren't interested in even trying to beat that date. Kind of just dawdling with the effort since they had pre-set ideas of not opening. Instead they totally could have been one of only a couple ski areas in the entire state of NY that was open. And would have been the only one in Central or Western NY.

So much for buying 20 some odd new-to-them used snowguns from Killington this summer... Gear is important, but so is operations.

(BTW that is a snowmaking created fog at the base of the hill)
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End Rant.
 
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