Originally Posted by Eagles Pdx
True but I don't think you understand the basic numbers. Number of skier/boarders has been flat for last couple decades while US population has increased so the per cent of US population skiing has declined. Population of skier/boarders is aging.
And it's not "what about the chillinz" as you say but what about the sport that can't attract the young population into the sport, it means less opportunity for everyone who skis as resort close (hundreds of small local resorts have closed), mfg.'s drop out, money spent on designing new gear, building new lifts, accessing new areas declines.
The crowds you dislike at Vail are there because the static population is concentrating at fewer and fewer ski areas.
No, the crowds I dislike at Vail are there because Vail caters to their needs; long, unchallenging runs, overpriced food, rentals, lessons, and accomodations, and state-of-the-art lifts to whisk you away to more overcrowded, unchallenging terrain. Vail, like many resorts has looked at numbers too, and understands that for a certain percentage of the population, price is no object, and a high price of admission is actually attractive to many, since they believe this will keep the riff-raff out. Fortunately, there are still ways for dirt-bags like myself to ski there on the cheap, if only to satisfy my curiosity about how the other half ski.
There are a lot of reasons why small local resorts are closing, probably the least of which is less new skiers/boarders. Shorter seasons, higher energy costs, and higher rates for liability insurance force many resorts to raise prices, which if we're talking about local bumps with limited vertical, and aging infrastructure, just encourages skiers to drive further or fly for their limited ski days. By contrast, my favorite bump also happens to be the closest and the cheapest, with some of the best (arguably) terrain, and snow in the region. Their business model doesn't factor in real-estate sales, or lavish accommodations, since they offer neither, and therefore isn't as susceptible to market fluctuations as it is to fluctuations in weather patterns.
Vail has their business model, and it appears to be working for them. My resort has theirs, and it appears to be working for them too. More resorts will open, and stay open when the demand is high enough, but they will either have to charge more, or attract more customers to stay in business. I don't particularly like either option, but realistically, only chumps pay top-dollar to ski overcrowded resorts. Same goes for manufacturing, but even if numbers remain flat, or even steadily decrease, does not automatically mean that we'll start seeing more expensive, lower quality products from resorts or manufacturers.
Anyway, the declining numbers (or lack thereof) are not the result of ski porn, or too much focus on XTREME skiing. If you really want to know where the blame lies, I think you need to look at inflation and income inequality. "Average" families simply cannot afford skiing anymore, unless they're XTREMELY wise about how they spend their ski dollars, and demand maximum return on their investment.
I consider myself incredibly average income-wise, but have been incredibly fortunate to find great and affordable skiing close to home. I don't have children, but if I did, I would do what my parents did to pass on my passion; swap sales for equipment, season passes for all (kid's passes at Loveland are under $200), lessons from dad (not going to ditch the kiddos so I can freeski all afternoon, and then bitch about what lessons cost and not tip), and of course bag lunches and snacks. This might cramp my fun factor for a few years, but I'd hope eventually I'd get a rush out of seeing my kids get better, and even crush dear ol' dad. Take the kids skiing 20+ days a year, and the cost per day goes down considerably. If parents aren't willing to do at least this much work to bring their kids into the sport, they might consider school programs, or augmenting skiing with the kiddos with school programs if they're reasonable enough. Either way, the Vail's of the world want nothing to do with you, and the good news is, you really don't need a resort like Vail to teach your kids to ski either.
So those are your choices; figure out how to keep the sport affordable for you and your family, and keep growing the sport, or let it become a sport for only the rich. Either way, it won't be the resorts, the movie makers, or the manufacturers who ultimately decide whether the sport grows or not. Also, this whole discussion is pretty much the epitome of a first-world problem, so I have been crafting my responses to reflect the surriousnuss of this whole bidniss.
The shinking of the middle class, income inequality, and parents who are too busy chasing a dollar to teach their kids to ski are the real root of the problem IMO, but what do I know? I'm just here trolling.