Re-Breaking News: Mid-Atlantic Resorts to Transition to Vertical Hopscotching 14
By M. Scott Smith, DCSki Indentured Servant

Due to an unseasonably warm string of winters, many Mid-Atlantic ski resorts will be using this summer to shift their focus from skiing and snowboarding to vertical hopscotching, a new sport that has seen rising popularity. By dispensing with the expensive burden of making snow, resorts view vertical hopscotch as a way to draw visitors to the slopes year-round. Many ski areas in Switzerland, already reeling from the retreat of glaciers, have completely converted their ski slopes to vertical hopscotching slopes, in many cases removing lifts, gondolas, trams, and startled packs of ski instructors.

Soon, most mid-Atlantic resorts will offer vertical hopscotching, eliminating the need for fickle snow.

Although hopscotch first gained popularity in children’s schoolyards, the sport has since expanded to include all but the elderly, who are considered too frail. Hopscotch has traditionally been performed on a flat surface, and although the game is governed by an official and bewildering set of rules, few understand the rules and just enjoy skipping from square to square.

Vertical hopscotch is a new take on an old concept. In vertical hopscotch, the flat surface is replaced by a surface that is not flat, for example an inclined or tilting surface. This makes ski slopes at ski areas an ideal setting for the burgeoning sport, as ski areas offer surfaces in a range of inclinations from almost flat to scary vertical.

While skiing and snowboarding use the same types of surfaces, they require snow, the lack of which continues to be a thorn in the side of ski resorts. For example, resorts have to rely on Mother Nature to provide snow, or expensive manmade snowmaking. Ski area managers made a revelation when they realized they could simply switch to vertical hopscotch, using much of their existing infrastructure but dispensing with the need for snow.

“In fact, snow only gets in the way of vertical hopscotching,” said one local mountain manager. “If it does snow next winter - and that’s a big if - for the first time we will actually use our snowcats to scrape away the snow from the slopes, so the snow won’t interfere with the vertical hopscotching of our guests.”

Guests will be able to choose whether they wish to hopscotch up or down the mountain. There will be two separate lift tickets available for sale. The “down hopscotch” ticket will cost more, as it will include a lift ride to the top of the mountain for those too lazy to skip their way up. The “up/down hopscotch” ticket will be a relative bargain, and will allow visitors to hopscotch up the mountain and then rotate 180 degrees, hopscotching back down the mountain. Resorts are still trying to work out a sensible protocol that will keep up-scotchers from bumping into down-scotchers.

“We believe the up/down hopscotch ticket will be our most popular product,” said one area manager. “If few people purchase the down hopscotch ticket, we may remove existing lifts from our mountain. Guests have always found them unsightly, and they are absolute magnets for lightning and nesting birds.”

Some local resorts have already started painting their slopes.

Several resorts are already busy painting squares onto their ski slopes.

“The painting is an arduous process,” said a marketing manager for a Pennsylvania resort. “However, we hope to finish it by August, allowing the slopes to open by September 1. That will be our earliest ever opening date.”

Another benefit of hopscotching is that it requires relatively little equipment. This will allow resorts to dispense with their ski and snowboard rental inventory. Although this will remove a money-making line item from the balance sheet, it will eliminate the cost and burden of putting out press releases each fall breathlessly announcing new rental inventory.

Local skiers and snowboarders have mixed feelings about the changeover.

“I suppose I will miss skiing to some degree,” said John Thompson, a lifetime skier from Calvert County who requested anonymity. “On the other hand, have you tried vertical hopscotching? It’s exhilirating! After a few visits, I think most skiers and boarders will wonder why they ever bothered with such a burdensome and costly sport.”

Note: This story was originally published on April 1, 2008.

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About the Author

M. Scott Smith is an indentured servant with DCSki. In exchange for writing articles for DCSki twenty four hours per day, Scott is occasionally given crumbs of bread. As part of his indentured servant contract, he is allowed outside two hours per week for exercise.

DCSki Sponsor: DCSki

Reader Comments

Robert Williams (RobertW)
April 1, 2008
Excellent article Scott. I am concerned though that resorts may limit participants to the more traditional "stone" (European/East Coast) rather than allow the "hacky-sack" or other alternatives which are all the rage in the Western US.
Norsk fool
April 1, 2008
Please, Scott, tell us more! I'd love to know about any plans for night vertical hopscotching (to take advantage of the lights installed for skiing), and perhaps a masters league on weekends for former elementary school playground athletes who still want to get their 'scotch on.
Robert Williams (RobertW)
April 1, 2008
Another thing you may want to investigate further...Will the resorts allow scotchers to participate barefoot or will they require the mandatory use of protective footwear?
wgo
April 1, 2008
Excellent article, Scott. Unfortunately, I am afraid that the chronic mismanagement at places like Timberline will prevent vertical hopscotching from ever reaching its full potential in the Mid-Atlantic. I am tired of these resorts that consistently cater to the beginner or intermediate scotchers. And don't get me started on what the ATV races are doing to the expert hop-scotch surfaces!

What we really need is for someone to create some vertical hopscotch surfaces down from Mt. Porte Crayon. That would be sweet!
jim (jimboc)
April 1, 2008
should you wear helmets for this?
DCSki Reader
April 1, 2008
You better hope Doctor Reichle doesn't read this...they'll never make snow at Timberslime again...or maybe the will just groom everything flat...oh...nevermind they already do that
snowsmith
April 1, 2008
That is the worst April Fools Day gag I have seen in while including the cheesy hop scotch layout on the ski slope. Hilarious never the less!
Thanks for the laugh.
DCSki Reader
April 1, 2008
I'm all for it, just as long as there're no Hotheaded Naked Ice Borers.
The Colonel
April 1, 2008
Wow, what a concept. No snow needed. Only thing needed is April 1!
Connie Lawn
April 3, 2008
Glad Scott, and the rest of you, have a sense of humour. If you want to swim in a lake this summer, come visit me at Lake Barcroft, Va. Yours, Connie and Charles
DCSki Reader
April 7, 2008
BUMP!
Connie Lawn
April 1, 2009
Love your yearly article. Right now, we are having a fantastic week in Snowmass. But, heavy snow now - we may never get out. Yours, Connie and Charles
Connie Lawn
April 1, 2013
For real sport this summer, come visit us at Lake Barcroft! connielawn@aol.com
ej
July 17, 2013
Vertical Hopscotch would be even more fun naked.
Hey, add me in !!!

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