IT MUST BE WINTER, BECAUSE THE MEDIA SAYS SKIING IS DANGEROUS
Skier and snowboarder safety is of course important, but when you read the first line of this story from CNN, you might think the story was about drunken cave diving: “As the winter sports season reaches its peak in Europe and North America so the toll of deaths and injuries will surely mount.” Yes, and so will deaths caused by people using chainsaws to cut kindling for their wood stoves. On average, 40 people die skiing each season in the United States, the story says. In context: that’s 0.78 deaths per million skier/snowboarders. Skiing and snowboarding are just not that dangerous, although unfortunately CNN never comes right out and says so. Via CNN.
IMBA AND BELL GIVE $100,000 FOR CROWD-SOURCED SINGLETRACK
The International Mountain Biking Association, with the backing of Bell Helmets, is holding a contest to crowd-source the production of the very best pump-track, flow, and DH/gravity trail in the nation — $33,000 toward each one. The rules are precise, and your production values needs to be high (no shooting with your phone, bra), but if you already have a plan, along with land management permissions, you might just have a shot. Finalists will be voted on by the public and then winners announced at this year’s Sea Otter Classic in April. Via IMBA.
HOW LIFTOPIA IS TEACHING THE SKI BIZ ECON 101
Liftopia was born from a simple idea: If you can buy a plane ticket to Shanghai online, why do you have to get in line to buy a same-day ski lift ticket? The idea seemed completely backward to two Hotwire veterans, who founded their website on the premise that skiing is especially market driven: Good conditions should drive up the cost of a ticket, and poor conditions or a slack time (between New Year’s and MLK, say) should create discounted rates. It’s obvious — but the conservative ski business hadn’t changed so Liftopia came along and did it for it. Now you can use their iOS app to buy tix from your phone (shake your iPhone to see which resort nearest you had the most snow in the last 24 hours) for 250 resorts nationwide, and nearly always at a significant discount. Via Smartplanet.com.
GUN SALES BOOST WILDERNESS PRESERVATION
Gun sales are through the roof — go figure — and one consequence is that the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration fund could balloon to a half a billion dollars in 2013, since sales of bows, rifles, shotguns, and hand guns, as well as ammo, fund the U.S. Fish and Wildlife program. Passed in 1937, the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act laid the groundwork for what is now widely regarded as the most successful model of wildlife funding in the world. The program focuses on fish and wildlife management, scientific study, species and habitat restoration, habitat protection, land acquisition, population monitoring and hunter education and safety. And all the sales gains haven’t just come in the wake of widely publicized shootings; USFW says there was pent-up demand in the market among hunters, who see a slightly rosier economy this year. Via JS.com.