snoWBoarDing dramatically altered the on-mountain experience. Boarders come to account for a third of the lift tickets sold in the united States. All forms of media celebrated hip and gifted snowboarders like pioneering boarder Shaun Palmer. Th e language, the music and the rebelliousness could be problematic if you were a ski-area operator selling vacations to traditional skiers, half of them older than 35. But business is business, and by 2000 there remained only fi ve major ski areas that banned boarding. Most resorts began to enthusiastically embrace the change, as halfpipes and terrain parks sprouted up for snowboarders—later joined by skiers—to enjoy.
The snowboard’s width, radical sidecut and upturned tips spilled over into skiing. Sophisticated designs and new materials created a shorter shaped ski that put a fully carved turn within the reach of even the casual recreational skier. On short slalom skis, racers began to use their hands, arms and upper bodies as much as their feet to thread through the forest of hinged poles.
Norway surged to the fore in competition: Lasse Kjus won a record two gold and three silver medals in the 1999 FIS World Alpine Championships at Vail. Four disciplines became new Olympic events: mogul skiing, aerial freestyle, snowboard giant slalom and the halfpipe. In Alaska, the first extreme competition took place.
In a celebration of architecture reminiscent of the classic Timberline Lodge of the 1930s, Vail, Keystone and Sun Valley built magnifi cent massive log day lodges next to the lifts. Ecoterrorists angry over what they viewed as over-development burned down one of them, Two Elk atop Vail. In a spending and borrowing spree, four resort conglomerates came to control 28 percent of American skiing. Intensely competitive ski areas slashed seasonpass prices to a few hundred dollars. Out-of-bounds skiing contributed to a record 49 fatalities in 1995. But it became clear that out-of-bounds was exactly where the sport was heading.