Technology changing the ski industry

Published: Jan. 24, 2020 at 4:27 PM PST
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The ski industry is changing and much of it is because of technological advances.

"I'm psyched about the industry, I've been doing it my whole life and parts of it haven't changed, you still ride a chair up and slide down a hill," Tom Fortune, general manager at Heavenly Ski Resort, said.

Fortune said over the past couple of years, technology has made both snowboarding and skiing more accessible for everyone to enjoy. For instance, season passholders don't have to wait in lines for a pass, they can hop on the lift right away with their card.

"The access piece is probably the biggest you know it allows people to go a lot cheaper for a lot earlier on," Fortune said.

Also a revolutionary change comes with snow making. The equipment used at Heavenly allows for the snow making team to turn on fans and machines with a simple click.

"The guns that are running behind me, that's all fully automated and the control room running at the pump house can turn these on with the click of a mouse or even from a cell phone," Bryan Hickman, of Heavenly, said.

Fortune said the industry is expanding at resorts beyond the slopes. There is plenty for everyone to do even if they aren't skiing or snowboarding.

"We have at the top of the gondola, tubing, we have a coaster and ropes course open so it's really spreading out the business all year round now," Fortune said.

It takes a large team to keep resorts up and running and Fortune said it's all worth it because of the team he has.

"There's a lot of moving pieces to it, indoor work, outdoor work, restaurants, we all have to support each other and you can't do it in a silo and often you get to help in other departments and that just builds a camaraderie that is pretty unique," he said.

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