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Paperback Downhill Slide: Why the Corporate Ski Industry Is Bad for Skiing, Ski Towns, and the Environment Book

ISBN: 1578051029

ISBN13: 9781578051021

Downhill Slide: Why the Corporate Ski Industry Is Bad for Skiing, Ski Towns, and the Environment

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Book Overview

In this impassioned expose, lifelong skier Hal Clifford reveals how publicly traded corporations gained control of America's most popular winter sport during the 1990s, and how their greed is gutting... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Disneylands in the mountains

This book should be required reading for people, skiers and non-skiers alike, who patronize ski resorts. DOWNHILL SLIDE exposes what really drives the continuing expansion of ski resorts -- and it isn't skiing. Clifford focuses on the "Big Three", the publically-traded corporations that control a large chunk of all the resorts in North America.Although actual ski-run usage (including ski boarders) has been flat for a decade, resorts continue to bombard the US Forest Service with requests for more public land to build ski runs on. Why would they need more runs if the number of skiers is static? To build more condos and "ski villages" around. Clifford says that these companies are theme park/real estate developers masquerading as sports facilities.The resorts are marketed as year-round recreation sites in order to keep the condos full of consumers for the retail establishments in the artifical "villages". The chapter entitled "Potemkin Villages and Emerald Cities" ought to bring a blush to the faces of those who sneer at Disneyland, but gush over the quaint shops and interesting restaurants at places like Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, or Whistler.Why should we care that big corporations are peddling phoney "life experiences" in the heart of our public lands? Because Clifford says these bogus communities that are springing up in the most scenic parts of our national forests are environmental disaster sites. The thin mountain air is ill-equipped to cope with large new sources of pollution. Access roads and boundary fences interfere with wildlife. Clifford describes starving elk herds kept from their grazing areas by the fences around ranchettes put up by clebrities attracted to the Aspen lifestyle. Snowmaking equipment gobbles up enourmous quantities of energy and water. There are now sixteen golf courses in the arid Vail valley (those summer visitors must have recreation). In order to keep them green Vail Corporation appropriated the water rights of an indigenous town, Minturn. The large staff necessary to provide the amenities at the rustic magic kingdoms must commute from affordable housing in places like Minturn, often 50 or more miles away.I quit downhill skiing in the early 70's, but since then have been a non-skiing customer at many of the resorts mentioned by Clifford -- Stratton, Stowe, Vail, Aspen, Sun Valley, Teton Village, Deer Park, and Snowbird. Never again. Skiers may be able to square their love of the sport with galloping environmental degradation, but non-skiers don't need to be party to it.

Former consultant to the ski industry.

I was impressed with the breath and depth of the analysis. The research was very thorough and added much to the credibility of the conclusions. Great work.It should be required reading for all full time residents of ski mountain communities. Most of all it should cause an awakening in elected officials of the communities and surrounding counties of the ski towns (except those who accept election campaign contributions from land developers).The book also reveals that the use of our public lands by developers, at bargain prices, needs further review...

A Top-Notch Analysis

Hal Clifford has meticulously interviewed sources on both sides of the resort-sprawl issue, allowing his ski-industry executives to hang themselves with their own statements. True, he is definitely on the side of the environment, and true, he is not immune to an occasional wry comment on their clueless behavior. What the irate reviewers here ignore completely is his contention that the ski industry is no longer about skiing, but about fattenting the bottom line for themselves. In the process, they are sponging up vast tracts of irreplaceable, supposedly protected acreage, sometimes in cahoots with our government "guardians" of it. I suspect those particular reviewers are stooges of the ski industry. Read their diatribes with that possibility in mind.-- From a Ski Non-Bum

Words from a Vailite

As a life-long Vailite, and an active board member of Colorado Wild and the Ski Area Citizens' Coalition,I have found Mr. Clifford's book invaluable. We have known for quite some time that the sport of skiingis in trouble and that the recent corporatization of skiing and associated development is causing enormous stress on ski towns and the environment. Clifford has concisely and coherently expressed the problems, chosensuperb and telling examples and given citizens of ski towns throughout the country a lot to think about.

A fine piece of investigative journalism

This book reminded me of Eric Schlosser's "Fast Food Nation" (thorough, probing, disturbing & readable). "Downhill Slide" takes a look at the dangerous reach (Disneyfication) of Corporate America. This book is a must read for skiers (avid and former), the ski industry (listen up!), environmentalists and those who care about those "last best places."
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