In recent years, it feels like the ski world has been all about explosive growth — just consider the addition of high-speed lifts and heated gondolas; of posh hotels with bougie spas; of ultra-exclusive (and ultra-expensive) heli-skiing experiences; and of villages with heated sidewalks and Louis Vuitton boutiques.

Dig a little deeper and you'll see that a lot of this growth is driven by what can best be described as an arms race of acquisitions between the ski industry's two largest rivals: Vail Resorts and Alterra Mountain Company, each of which owns dozens of resorts both big and small from Washington to New Hampshire. When financiers and private equity parent companies get involved, it seems that skiing gets a whole lot fancier, expensive, and homogenous.

Perhaps there is a time and a place for slopeside ski butlers and Michelin-starred après-ski, but the resort-ification of the sport begs the question: what gets lost along the way?