The Future of Skiing: Chris Davenport

The author and big mountain skier

Apr 15, 2013
Outside Magazine
Chris Davenport skiing big mountain

   Photo: Courtesy of Chris Davenport

In the nineties, with the advent of twin tips, heli-skiing, and an explosion of new media, things changed a lot for skiing. In the next 25 years, I see a slowdown in the evolution.

Backcountry skiing will continue to be a big growth segment. Skiers will be doing more hut trips, touring, and heliskiing.

Technology will evolve from a safety perspective. Airbags will lift you off the slope so an avalanche can pass under you, and after a minute you’ll float gently back down to earth. Avy beacons and search technology will be integrated into your cell phone—in fact all your gadgetry will be incorporated into one device. In 25 years, you may be able to put 10 terabytes of information onto a chip implanted into your ear under your skin. Any information you want will download from your mind to a device in your hand that can tell you everything, totally changing the decision-making process.

Right now we have archaic “skins” on our skis to climb mountains. Why not have a ski with a flip switch that changes the polarity of a ski so that it grips?

It’s conceivable that in 25 years, we’ll have our own drone helicopters to transport us to the top of a mountain. Mini remote-controlled drones are used now to carry cameras on ski film shoots. In 25 years, there could be one that hooks to your pack so you can fly yourself  to the top. Then you remote-control land it at the bottom of your run and ski down. It’ll be battery operated, zero emissions. 

In the future, there will be less focus on snowmaking. We’ll wait for mother nature to create snowfall and go play on what she gives us. It will be like surfing.

If you look back through the ski history publications at the experiences people were having, what we’re doing today in so many ways is much the same as 50 years ago. We’re skiing to get away from everyday life, the static of the world, enjoying being together with friends. Just because the technology changes doesn't mean the sport will.

Chris Davenport is one of the world's top big mountain skiers.