The Future of Skiing: Glen Plake

Member of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame

Apr 15, 2013
Outside Magazine
Glen Plake freestyle skier mohawk mohawk mohawk

   Photo: Glen Plake/

Skiers don’t need sushi and disco and all these ridiculous services. I hope the public steps up and says: “Too much money is being spent on parks and pipes—I want my ski area back.” Snowmaking and parks and pipes add a lot of cost to ski areas. We can reduce the price of tickets if we can reduce ski area costs. Maybe in the future the only thing a ski area will do is provide a lift and a lodge for people to get warm and get a sandwich. All this other manipulation of snow—the snowmaking, the grooming, the shaping into features—will stop.

In the 1970s, people said, If you don’t make snow said you won’t be a ski area open for business. Now resorts make tons of snow and the numbers are still dropping. I call bull on it. If we don’t get one natural snowstorm, nobody goes skiing. So why waste all this time and energy?

In 25 years, we need to realize that skiing isn’t a winter sport—it’s a snow sport. You ski when there is snow. People will ski in spring—March, April. There won’t be snow in “winter.”

It would be nice to get back to some basics. I think skiing has to remain a natural experience—I am not a fan of urbanizing the sport. I think that people in the cities are not going to start walking around the city in ski boots looking for rails. They want to get away from urban areas and go enjoy nature.

Glen Plake is a freestyle skier and member of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame.