If we are honest, we see certain global trends that inevitably will impact skiing 25 years from now. Though that seems far into the future, as I look back over the past 25 years, it seems like little more than the blink of an eye. Those “inevitable trends” are global warming, electronics, gymnastics, and off-piste/back-country skiing. As important is the interplay that all four of those trends will have on one another.
Global warming will fuel the growth of freeride and off-piste skiing as the best and most consistent snow will be away from and above the majority of the primary resorts. This quest for great snow, big lines, and the adventure that is increasingly lost in today’s world will drive the popularity of off-piste and big mountain skiing. That increased popularity will act as a catalyst for an increased reliance on gadgets in the form of avalanche safety, personal locators, and other forms of apparel and equipment that will offer you the requisite level of safety, comfort, and flexibility required by the much more demanding natural world beyond the civilized, lower altitude world of the resorts. That combined with an ever-increasing level of gymnastic training means that skiing will continue to up the ante and redefine the definition of possible.
Skiing’s future lies not in the resorts but in the landscapes that come into view from the top of a gondola or teleferique. It is that siren song that will drive the creative and passionate souls of the industry going forward.
Peter Metcalf is the President and CEO of Black Diamond Equipment.