Skiing … in the Metaverse
As members of themetabite.com team head off for some much-deserved R&R on the slopes, we reflect on the Metaverse’s potential impact on snowsports.
Much of Europe is currently experiencing unseasonably warm weather conditions, which has resulted in ski resorts across the Alps, particularly those in the lower regions, temporarily shuttering their slopes. Méteo France, the French national meteorological service, has reported that 2022 had ended with some of the warmest weather ever recorded in France for the time of year.
Global warming has had a significant impact on ski resorts in Europe, affecting both the quantity and quality of snow in the region. In recent decades, average temperatures in Europe have been on the rise, causing a decline in the amount of snowfall in many popular ski destinations. This trend has resulted in shorter ski seasons, making it more difficult for ski resorts to generate revenue. Additionally, warmer temperatures have led to more frequent instances of rain, which can quickly ruin the snow conditions on the slopes.
To combat the impact of global warming, many ski resorts have been forced to invest in artificial snow-making systems, which can be expensive and energy-intensive. Some resorts have also had to shorten their ski seasons or reduce the number of ski runs available. Additionally, global warming has also led to the melting of mountain glaciers, which provide important sources of snow and water for ski resorts. This has created a challenge for the resorts, as they need to find alternative sources of water or risk having insufficient snow to meet demand.
So, how can the Metaverse support or enhance the snowsport industry? If we look forward to a time when a persistent, hyper-realistic, immersive, Ready Player One-esque virtual world exists, then there are two main opportunities. The first will be the ability for snowsport enthusiasts to hit the slopes every single weekend, without having to travel to a real-world ski resort. While die-hards will always need a regular fix of real snow, they’ll also be able to hone their skills all year round from the comfort of their own home. The second opportunity will be to open up snowsports to a wider demographic, making it a more inclusive and diverse industry. Once you factor in additional expenses like equipment, passes and lessons snowsports start to become prohibitively expensive for some people. Skiing int he Metaverse will lower the barrier to entry for many. This will allow resorts to offer additional virtual services, like private virtual lessons, virtual tours with a mountain guide, and mountain safety lessons, opening up new, additional revenue opportunities.
But how will the Metaverse enhance snowsports? Here at themetabite.com we define the Metaverse as: “the hyperconvergence of the physical and digital worlds”, that is, the merging of the real world and virtual worlds to the point at which they become indistinguishable from one another. In this hyperconverged world, everything in our physical world will have a virtual overlay. For snowsports this means: a more informative booking experience, being able to try out the slopes, and test their difficulty, before to choosing where to go, or take a virtual tour around your hotel prior to booking; an enhanced travel experience, being able to “see” through the walls of the airport, to track your equipment as it’s being delivered to the baggage carousel, or locate your shuttle driver; and a safer and more enjoyable mountain experience, using an augmented or virtual overlay, to always see the runs, regardless of the weather conditions, to be continuously updated on potential threats, and to be guided to safety in the event of an avalanche or extreme weather, to be able to “race” a virtual copy of yourself, or a virtual replica of women’s Super-G champion Marta Bassino, or to ski the slopes of Mars? The possibilities are endless.
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