WELCOME to Alpine News, the longest published snow sports mag in Australia – now in its 32nd year. It’s been a journey of change reporting the thrill and achievements of the sport, the alpine living experience and environment, and camaraderie of the snowsports fraternity.
Resorts have been transformed from villages under the control of state departments to head leases or statutory boards of management. Lift companies have changed hands as investors, super funds and specialist tourism management firms try their hand at making money in our short snow seasons. Just this year saw the US resort Vail buy Perisher.
We have also seen many ski clubs morph in to apartments and their traditional role of recruiting new skiers decline, along with the annual ‘week or two at the snow’. Resort visitation is now for shorter stays but the experience has been greatly enhanced with modern living and entertainment facilities.
Ski lift comfort and speed have improved markedly; lift systems have multiplied at resorts and are now supported by hundreds of hectares of snowmaking fed by water from high altitude dams.
The sport has changed too. From the early days of interclub and state events where raw talent was supported by state ski associations, and racers made their way to international and Olympic events, today the sport is nationally highly organised. It has the support of government funding that ensures professional coaches and support staff drive athlete pathways and success.
Now its high stakes of funding by results, with young athletes in all disciplines recruited into race clubs, most having participated in the successful states interschool championships. This has resulted in Australians from diverse backgrounds, and a mainly hot and dry country, winning medals in all discipline events of World Cup and Olympics
Ski and snowboard gear is very high tech in design and construction these days. It has added a real excitement factor to the experience. Ski shops have declined in numbers as online purchasing options mushroom. Yet from an investment and technical viewpoint, snowsports equipment surely needs the expert advice provided by remaining retail outlets in cities and at resorts.
The international resorts roadshows have been through Aussie cities drumming up business for Northern Hemisphere destinations. From all accounts bookings have been brisk, confirming Australians’ love affair with skiing overseas in spite of the dollar’s decline in value.
The sport recently lost a person whose influence and contribution stretched back much of the last 30 years. Dr Rodney Moss will be remembered for his love of skiing, Victorian ski resorts, ski clubs and the VSA. He chaired the VSA incredibly well as a business and strong discipline based state sporting body, including supporting interclub racing, Interschools and grass roots participation.
He was instrumental in the campaign to save the VSA’s Australian Skiing Magazine ( which evolved out of Falls Line Magazine) from closure due to financial constraints and led the association during a period of growth in services including a commercial booking service.
Rodney was a member of the Fall Creek Resort Management Committee and his council was highly valued. He championed skier and ratepayer representation, plus equity and fairness in state and national ski administration, and resort leases and services. He will be sorely missed.
We are told the biggest change in our time will be global warming, so it was reassuring to receive solid snowfalls at most resorts for Opening Weekend; it’s a great start to the season. In this issue you will find our Resorts Guide with prices and services to assist booking your ski trip.
Also take a look at our feature interview with Olympic star Torah Bright, this year’s Ski and Snowboard Awards and the latest resort news. You will also find Alpine News on line – see details on this page.