by John Kassel
In the mid-1990’s a Vermont ski area executive told me this joke.
“How do you make a small fortune in the ski industry in New England?” he asked.
“Start with a large one.”
He was talking about the challenges he faced then, which seemed normal at the time: limited water for snowmaking, labor shortages, skyrocketing costs of doing business, aging baby boomer population, and inconsistent (though generally reliable) snowfall. The snow sports industry now faces a much more fundamental challenge: a shrinking winter.
[John Kassel, his brother Peter Kassel, and Peter’s dog Bear (Bear is the one in the middle) on a New Year’s Day hike up Vermont’s Camel’s Hump. Note the extremely thin snow cover – unusual for the Green Mountains at that time of year. Photo courtesy of John Kassel]