State Of The Modern Ski Town – What Has Changed, And What Remains The Same

Well, we all know what has changed dramatically in relation to living in a ski resort town. Follow almost any ski town newspaper and you are sure to find an article discussing the current state of affordability and rising real estate costs. On the other hand, what remains the same is the allure of the mountains and the sheer joy of the people standing side by side living and loving them every single day.

Every once in a while I like to check in on this subject and share some of the latest thoughts from ski industry veterans. Today I found this interesting article in Whistler’s Pique Newsmagazine, Rick Kahl – know thyself written by Michel Beaudry.

Rick does not sugarcoat the current problems ski towns face or the lack of a firm answer as to how these communities will fix them, but he does make an interesting point about the uniqueness of the mountains and what draws us to them …

“People are most themselves when they’re in the mountains,” he says. “And Whistlerites know that more than anybody. When it’s just you and the mountains — there’s no room for anything else. It’s just too powerful a connection. And because of that connection, you can’t help but be more yourself. To me, that’s one of the attractions of the sport.” It’s the magic of sliding on snow in wintertime; the adventure of doing something totally different than what you are used to in your everyday existence. “That’s why I think our future is assured.”

He continues. “Whether a guy is sleeping in a $50/night dorm room or basking in a $10 million slopeside mansion, the experience on the mountain is what matters.” And forget about all the other stuff, he says. “The more direct the experience with the mountain, the better,” he believes.

I see the truth in his observation. I have experienced something similar while living in Jackson Hole on more than one occasion. There is a powerful connection when you are in the mountains and you know that most everyone around you … whether it is your best friend, your dentist, your UPS guy or the waiter from last night’s dinner … feels that same way too. Pretension fades, class level is put aside, you take a moment to look around, draw a deep breath and feel thankful just to be there. The positive effects of getting up close and personal with nature … one of the things that often naturally bond the local community closer together.

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