206: Verbier, Saalbach & the impact of climate change on ski resorts

Mar 22, 11:51 AM

In this episode, we discuss Verbier, Saalbach Hinterglemm and the impact of climate change on ski resorts. Plus we have a lot of feedback on Vail Resorts and the Epic Pass, which we covered in Episode 204. 

Iain was joined by freelance journalist and regular guest Catherine Murphy and David George, founder of the PisteHors.com website

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Catherine was last on the show in Episode 173, when she was telling us about Pays de Gex
Jen Tsang from ‘That’s La Plagne’ reported from…La Plagne (3:00)
Betony reports on the latest conditions in the Mont Blanc valley (5:45)
Alex from 150 Days of Winter covered the latest conditions in Courchevel (7:15)
Iain rented skis from Philippe Roux Intersport on his Verbier trip (8:45)
Charlotte Bankes has taken 5 consecutive podiums in World Cup Snowboard Cross (9:00)
Dave Ryding finished 7th overall in the World Cup slalom rankings
Jasmin Taylor picked up 3 more podiums in Telemark and goes into the Finals in 1st place (9:15)
Catherine was in Saalbach Hinterglemm
Saalbach will host the Alpine Ski World Championships in 2025 (10:15)
Read the case study on train travel to Saalbach on Ski Flight Free (14:00)
Iain’s guides in Verbier were Anthony Voute from European Snowsport and Bertrand Lovey from ski school La Fantastique (18:00)
Try the ‘Canadian Trees’ in the Bruson sector of Verbier (18:15)
Verbier has so many backcountry options off the back of Mont Fort (19:30)
Victor de la Rue clinched the snowboard Freeride World Tour title for the third time (20:30)
Iain spoke with older brother and three-time champion Xavier de la Rue (21:00)
Iain travelled by train to Verbier – a very straightforward journey (21:30)
Protect Our Winters research shows that ski kit represents 12% of the carbon footprint of a ski holiday (22:00)
Cirkel Supply is a new ski clothing rental company, founded by Anders Bergenstrand (22:45)
Anna Smoothy has done some research that shows renting clothing has a 76% smaller carbon footprint than buying
Josh Speller is the founder of Verbier Green (30:00)
David founded PisteHors.com in 2004 (34:00)
You can read David’s blog about the effect of climate change on ski resorts here (44:00)
66% of the carbon footprint of a ski holiday comes from the your flight (45:30)
Find out more about low-carbon ski holidays at Ski Flight Free (46:00)
More than half of American skiers buy an Epic or Ikon pass (49:00)
The Magic Pass has seen a 9% increase in sales this winter (49:00)
Laurent Vauchet, CEO of Televerbier, is equivocal that Vail Resorts is not buying Verbier (49:30)
Listen to Iain’s interview with Mike Goar, MD of Andermatt in Episode 204 (51:00)
Find out more about the Ikon Pass (52:00)

I enjoy all feedback about the show, I like to know what you think, especially about our features so please contact on social @theskipodcast or by email theskipodcast@gmail.com

Adam Horsfield: "I have been an avid listener of the ski podcast since 2018. After 6 years of listening, I’ve finally taken the decision to take the train to the Alps and am very much looking forward to it." 

Episode 204 about Vail Resorts prompted a LOT of feedback:

Simon Burgess: "Really enjoyed the last episode on the Epic Pass. As someone who has used it a lot it’s exciting what’s on offer and what could develop. I still think some of the partner agreements are a rip off with special lodging needed to get a pass, but for Andermatt, 3 Valleys and the Dolomites it’s been brilliant. It was fantastic in Andermatt: show the Epic Pass and they give you a season pass which I’m pretty sure is sold for more

Andrew Brannan: "Eye watering ticket prices, all the top management jobs taken out of resort, all teh restaurants and hotels, shops and even estate agents bought up by the same monopoly, aggressive property development, workers forced to live down the valley"

Chris Howie: "It feels as if Vail Resorts are trying to wring every last penny out of resorts while providing the very minimum in return. In most of the Vail Resorts-owned resorts prices have gone sky high so only the rich can ski. Ski passes are almost three times the price of a European ski resort. Lift lines are unbelievably long. The local staff are removed to bring in centralised American staff, ripping the heart out of the resort. I will do my best to never ski at a resort owned by the Vail Resort organisation"

Jane Henderson: “You should've given him a bit of a grilling on the negative impact of Epic/Ikon passes”

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