Photo by Sierra M on Unsplash

Reddit user u/NomadicAlaskan has recently made an interesting post about an interaction they had with a Whistler ski patroller on the chairlift.

Was riding up the chair with a patroller this morning at Whistler. I was asking about their timeframe for opening up the alpine after a big storm. He mentioned how it has gotten harder to open the steepest runs in recent years because there used to be locals that skied them frequently and helped snow stability. Now, with locals mostly priced out of the town, those lines see a lot less traffic and unstable cornices form. Just really made me reflect on the loss of local ski culture and community as real estate prices rise in ski towns, and how this loss can even affect what is open on a given day. No idea how to turn the tide in the war against AirBnB, megapasses, and rising insurance costs for independent ski areas at this point, but I wish there were a way.


This is clearly just anecdotal but it raises a very valid point and one that is worth considering. Mountain towns across the country have lost hardcore skiers due to getting priced out of the housing market and rising lift ticket cost and its these very same skiers whose traffic is crucial in stabilizing snow packs/compressing snow in steep terrain and are instrumental ingredients to opening up challenging areas of the mountain.

The post has gained a lot of attention on Reddit, with over 355 comments, with the top one coming from ebmfreak who commented, “Late 90’s – I used to be able to fly from Milwaukee WI, to Vancouver BC on a Friday red eye—- and ski at whistler for the day Saturday – couch surf the night (or Aprés a rave / afterparty) and fly back the next day to Milwaukee for a grand total of $190 (airfare plus lift ticket)… and show up a trainwreck Monday for my day job”

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