$150 Million Before the First Toilet Flushes

The Atlantic's Derek Thompson takes an inside look at Whistler, Vail, and the economics of the mega-resort.
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Andrew Couperthwait came to Vail and all he got was this lousy face shot.

Andrew Couperthwait came to Vail and all he got was this lousy face shot.

We all know skiing is a powerfully addictive pastime. It's intoxicating, with an allure that often overcomes common sense. What else would make you drive headlong into howling blizzards, spend thousands on plastic shoes, or think it's good idea to start your own ski company? Especially considering the fact that entire pursuit of all things ski is based on a fundamentally unpredictable factor like snowfall. Or is it? Seems that large resorts have found a way to make piles of money whether or not it snows. The Atlantic's Derek Thompson, despite thinking that Tahoe is a "California peak also owned by Vail Resorts," explains how they do it—and the resortgoer's role in the process.

Read the article at TheAtlantic.com.

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Andrew Couperthwait came to Vail and all he got was this lousy face shot.

Vail

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Vail Resorts Announces EpicMix

On Monday, Vail Resorts announced a location-based mobile and web app, called Epic Mix. The company's Interactive Director, Mike Slone, sat down with us to discuss check-ins, pins, and where digital experience collides with a typical ski day.

Whistler/Blackcomb, B.C.

Inside Line: Blackcomb, BC

With the 2010 Winter Olympics around the corner, all eyes are on Whistler Blackcomb. The masses will descend on Whistler Mountain, where the official events will take place. Which means Blackcomb will be the place to ski. Locals know that Blackcomb outperforms its better-known neighbor when it comes to off-piste terrain and jibbing. Plus, Blackcomb’s lift lines are shorter, its park and pipe bigger, and its backcountry steeper. And with the new Peak-to-Peak gondola—a record-setting 2.73-mile-long feat of engineering—now connecting the two mountains, you can easily zip over to the big W. But with Blackcomb’s terrain, why bother?

You'll be hard pressed to find "Climax" on the official Whistler Blackcomb trail map. Sources from the resort haven't heard of it, and think that it might be a local's nickname for the Sylvan chute. Either way, it is being kept under wraps for a reason: it's scary.  The red-headed step-child of the Chainsaw ridge just below Blackcomb peak, Climax is the most difficult run at the expansive resort. The chute drops for an initial 300 feet at 50 degrees then gets to a 45 degree angle for a short few turns before bottoming out into the bowl.   Rumored to have been named from several "themes" in the 1985 porn, "The Wizard of Aahh's" (precursor to Greg Stump's "Blizzard of Aahhh's") many of Blackcomb's steeper runs have dirty names. Perhaps this chute is the ultimate conquest.

Guide to Blackcomb

With the 2010 Winter Olympics around the corner, all eyes are on Whistler Blackcomb. The masses will descend on Whistler Mountain, where the official events will take place. Which means Blackcomb will be the place to ski.