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Season off to a slow start; 63 degrees and raining... - Page 2

post #31 of 46

Ski areas have always done a big share (25% or more) of their total business during the holidays.  As others have pointed out families do not have other options since many schools frown on taking the kids out for a vacation.  Our kids were all good students and we were able to do it in the 70s and early 80s and skied when it was not as crowded or expensive.  The kids took their homework and made up any tests when they got back.  The schools our 8 grandkids attend are not that liberal about taking time off today.

 

The ski industry does have lots of future problems....climate change, high cost, declining numbers of skiers/riders, fewer local areas to bring people into the sport, and way too much work.  I am not sure if we would have done so much skiing with our kids if the costs were as high as they are today and we could only travel on the busy holiday times.

 

Bill

post #32 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeUT View Post


Also that list forgets about spring break, which, while more limited in terms of people than the universal holidays, is still a force in the industry. You could also throw Easter in there for some years and/or resorts.

 

Spring break is a non event for ski resorts.

post #33 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by iWill View Post

 

Spring break is a non event for ski resorts.


Not entirely true. When I worked at a resort, it was understood that March was busier than January or February because of spring break. Having a full month worth of vacations around the country is bound to have some impact.

 

The fact that it's not bigger is kind of the point: ski resorts should be doing more in other areas if they're only really making money on Christmas.

post #34 of 46

What limited skiing I can do is always the last week of March (spring break).

post #35 of 46

Spring break was good traffic in New Mexico and Colorado when I was in school.  But, not even close to Christmas break anywhere with good snow.  Add in the factor of all the peeps wanting to try out their new skis.

post #36 of 46
Thread Starter 

There is so much warm weather and rain predicted for the next 5 days at Hunter that I'm wondering if any of their limited supply of snow will survive

 

This will be the first year in many years when I don't ski before Christmas

post #37 of 46

Weather is an issue but did the increased emphasis on property sales in the 80s and after have anything to do with it? Maybe some ski areas lost track of what their customers were interested in.

post #38 of 46

The whole real estate development explosion that so many areas have undertaken has to have had a negative effect if they are carrying lots of debt.

Snow making seems to be a more certain way of bring skiers and boarders to a mountain than available condos.

post #39 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsimeral View Post

many schools frown on taking the kids out for a vacation.  Our kids were all good students and we were able to do it in the 70s and early 80s and skied when it was not as crowded or expensive.  The kids took their homework and made up any tests when they got back.  The schools our 8 grandkids attend are not that liberal about taking time off today.


[side rant]

 

No offense, but last I checked, the schools aren't parents to our children.  And even if they do frown, so what, who cares?   When I pull my daughter out of school for a day of skiing with dear ol' Dad, the quality time we spend together creating memories far exceeds the doldrums of schools (of which there will be plenty for years to come).  She loves our time together, and we cherish each other.  Besides, I make a very distinct point of teaching her while out on the slopes; we learn about Physics, Geography, Meteorology, Geography, Math, Sociology, Ecology, Design, and even English......they just happen to be "Applied Subjects" in the context of a ski resort.  Schools can "frown" all they want, just like a 4 year old can "frown" he doesn't get everything he wants in life.  Oh well, too bad, so sad, and life goes on.

 

[/side rant]

 

 

[on topic]

 

Several of the smaller, more marginal resorts will inevitably fail.  Others may thrive and continue in more northern latitudes or higher elevations.  Isn't that the point of America's free market system, that the forces (and consumers) will decide, some win and some lose, regardless of the context or reason?

 

People will hopefully adjust, adapt, and appreciate what we still have.

post #40 of 46

post #41 of 46
Thread Starter 

I spoke to a ski are representative who told me that their machine made snow has special qualities; when rain touches it it converts the rain drops to snowflakes, and increases their cover, rather than melting and running off, decreasing their cover.

post #42 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeUT View Post


Not entirely true. When I worked at a resort, it was understood that March was busier than January or February because of spring break. Having a full month worth of vacations around the country is bound to have some impact.

 

The fact that it's not bigger is kind of the point: ski resorts should be doing more in other areas if they're only really making money on Christmas.

 

I worked in the industry for twenty years. After March 15, most areas stop making money and break even at best. There may be fair crowds on the hill (but well below peak season), but the majority are season pass holders. Food and beverage sales carry them over. Those resorts would shut down, except that the late season translates into season passes for the following year.

 

As a ski instructor, March 15 was the magic date when you stopped getting lessons and spent the rest of the season freeskiing or working on certifications.

 

I'm not advocating that this is an ideal model for ski areas, indeed most ski areas would love to figure out how to capture the casual skier for the late season, but the truth is, by spring break, thoughts have turned to beaches, gardening and bicycles.

 

At my last part time gig, the mandatory days were December 26 through January 2 and the 2 three day weekends. Everything else was flexible. If a resort doesn't make it on those dates, it is going to be damned hard to sustain the rest of the year.

 

Fortunately for Colorado, the weather has turned and it looks like there will be more than a handful of trials open. I am sure many areas have lost some bookings due to the lack of snow a month ago when people start making plans.

post #43 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by iWill View Post

 

I worked in the industry for twenty years. After March 15, most areas stop making money and break even at best. There may be fair crowds on the hill (but well below peak season), but the majority are season pass holders. Food and beverage sales carry them over. Those resorts would shut down, except that the late season translates into season passes for the following year.

 

As a ski instructor, March 15 was the magic date when you stopped getting lessons and spent the rest of the season freeskiing or working on certifications.

 

I'm not advocating that this is an ideal model for ski areas, indeed most ski areas would love to figure out how to capture the casual skier for the late season, but the truth is, by spring break, thoughts have turned to beaches, gardening and bicycles.

 

At my last part time gig, the mandatory days were December 26 through January 2 and the 2 three day weekends. Everything else was flexible. If a resort doesn't make it on those dates, it is going to be damned hard to sustain the rest of the year.

 

Fortunately for Colorado, the weather has turned and it looks like there will be more than a handful of trials open. I am sure many areas have lost some bookings due to the lack of snow a month ago when people start making plans.


Again, you're generalizing. I'm guessing you didn't work at most areas, so much as one or a handful. A quick search indicates that spring break is indeed a factor, at least at some resorts:

 

1. "March (spring break) was huge this year at all resorts and helped boost the skier visit numbers." (2010 Annual Report - Ski New Mexico, 2nd paragraph)

 

2. "At busy times, like holidays and spring break, I'd do very well, but I needed to save money to get through the periods when there weren't as many vacationers." (Interview of a resort manager in Vegas and former PC instructor)

 

3. “The lack of snow, combined with unseasonable temperatures, affected visitation levels during the key spring break and Easter vacation periods,” Rob Katz, Vail Resorts’ chief executive officer, says in a statement. (Report on Vail's 2012 Q3)

 

This report from resort industry analyst RRC alludes to spring break as a factor and puts the Christmas at under 20 percent of resorts' annual business, well under what has been cited in this thread.

 

Anyway, there's more than incidental evidence out there that supports the fact that spring break has an affect on resort business.

post #44 of 46

I'd venture to guess that Spring Break (March-early April) skier numbers as a percentage of the seasonal total are greater at Western / destination resorts than it is for smaller ski areas in the Midwest and East Coast.   This is based on my experience and knowledge of the industry.

 

Once you hit March 15th, in the Midwest and East Coast conditions can become very spotty and vary significantly in quality and quantity on an annual basis.  Skiers simply stop coming at this point and Spring break usually means a trip to a warm destination or out west for skiers.

 

March & early-April (depends on where Easter falls) are good months for the destination resorts.  This is a big family & college vacation period when schools are out.  In additional temperatures are usually somewhat warmer, bases are deep, and snowfall usually good at most western resorts.

post #45 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phlogiston View Post

I spoke to a ski are representative who told me that their machine made snow has special qualities; when rain touches it it converts the rain drops to snowflakes, and increases their cover, rather than melting and running off, decreasing their cover.

They could add some chemicals to the artificial snow to do that but it only goes so far. Might work on light drizzles but heavy stuff like the 20mm 6° rain we are suppose to get will still destroy everything in the path.
post #46 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jzmtl View Post


They could add some chemicals to the artificial snow to do that but it only goes so far. Might work on light drizzles but heavy stuff like the 20mm 6° rain we are suppose to get will still destroy everything in the path.

 

I was told that it was actually Snow Nine, which is related to Ice Nine, but it may not have been true at all.

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