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Alpine News - - Contents - Hart­ley Higgins - Pub­lisher

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.

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