Fires, floods, hurricanes, Nazis in the streets… 2017 was a mess and it should come as no surprise that my predictions for the near future are suitably dark. Extrapolating current trends is a grim business these days, even in the happy bubble of the ski world. But don't be surprised if the following happens:
Ski resorts will turn off chairlifts and grooming so that users can have more of a trendy backcountry experience, while charging the same amount for tickets.
A Red Bull shortage will trigger a wave of meth addiction among Xtreme Athletes. Red Bull will recover financially by opening a chain of rehab centers where the pros can learn how to ski-BASE off the Eiger without chemical stimulants.
Vail Resorts and AirBnB will merge into one mega-organization: VailBnB, which will attempt to acquire every ski resort in North America, but without community reviews.
After the snow removal bills from yet another 600-inch winter nearly bankrupt the town, Mammoth will abandon plowing the town's roads and parking lots, henceforth becoming a place of quiet serenity where you have to ski to get around town. The loss in tourism will be offset by a $20 million annual savings in the town budget and tremendous upper body strength from all the shoveling.
After acquiring every ski resort in North America, VailBnB will get bogged down battling an insurgency in Little Cottonwood Canyon. The tenacious resistance armed with 105-millimeter howitzers will spark a movement that spreads like wildfire across the Intermountain West, with guerilla ski patrollers using hand charges and precision artillery to trigger avalanches above condo construction and Starbucks franchises.
Mistaking an almost all-white demography for a friendly venue, neo-Nazis will attempt to hold a rally in Jackson Hole. They will immediately be ambushed, shot, and butchered for meat by people who live in Subarus and work three jobs, their skulls added to the decorative antler arches in the middle of town.
Struck by the strength and beauty of Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin during the PyeongChang Olympics, North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un will renounce his nuclear ambitions and open up his country as a training haven for muscular, blonde women ski racers from all over the world.
Also after the incredible coverage for Vonn and Shiffrin at the Olympics (and resulting pacification of North Korea), the U.S. men's ski team will become an official subsidiary of the U.S. women's ski team.
Noting the mountainous terrain and copious real estate opportunities in The People's Democratic Republic of VonnShiffrin, VailBnB will attempt to buy the former North Korea, sparking a new Cold War when Kim Jong-un threatens to nuke Vail Resorts' Broomfield, Colorado, corporate headquarters with a precision-targeted ICBM.
Global warming will cause the Greenland Ice Sheet to collapse, triggering the reversal of the Atlantic Gulf Stream and causing a new Ice Age in Europe. Scotland will then become the next Alaska: maritime spine skiing just three hours from New York City! If there is a New York City.
When the last Baby Boomer enters a nursing home and there is nobody left who can afford to buy shitty trophy condos, the ski resort real estate industry will collapse. Once-luxurious ski towns will become lawless war zones where feral bands of former lifties and waitstaff will battle for control of happy hour and the weed dispensary.
Except for Vail. Wealthy residents of the Vail Valley will build a Trumpian wall around their town to keep out the riff-raff and then slowly starve to death while skiing groomers and playing golf amid the accumulating filth they don't know how to pick up. Long after the last one dies, future generations will treat it as a forbidden zone, a place where bad spirits dwell. Until one day, an enterprising young person scales the wall and sees the golf courses, the granite countertops, the rusted luxury SUVs, and feels the temptation of a life long gone. He or she will get a real estate license and the whole cycle will start all over again.
This story originally published in the February 2018 issue of POWDER (Volume 46 Issue 6). To have the Jaded Local sent straight to your door, subscribe now. Tuaca not included.