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Can I just say - Page 4

post #91 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuller View Post
 

So what's up with snowboarders, do they convert to skiers or just give up? Or maybe snowboarding is still new enough to not have any 70 & 80 year old riders? Is skiing easier than boarding for old timers? Probably.

 

I've surfed since I was 13 but I've never been on a snowboard...kinda wierd.

 

 

I would bet virtually all of the 60-80 year old crowd learned to ski when they were much younger- I doubt many of them went through the pain and very real threat of breaking brittle bones to learn to ski at 60+.

 

As snowboarding really started getting momentum in the 1990's, it was probably past their time.

 

As somebody that has strapped into a board (and am at the level where I can just barely engage both edges), I can tell you that it is an exceptionally painful experience.  You will accidentally catch that frontside edge more than a few times and violently throw yourself chest first into the snow- it feels like getting kicked by a mule. Less stress on the joints, though.

post #92 of 111
As far as the older age groups getting more skiing days in each year, that is what I'd expect to happen. When I retire and have more leisure/recreational/cultural time available, I would hope to be skiing more.

As I am still among the ranks of the full time employed, there are limits to how much I can get to the mountains, as well as all the other things people do when not working.

So one question is: will the current groups of younger snow enthusiasts also increase their on snow days as they age, retire from employment and need something to do to keep out of trouble? Given the general awareness of the mental and physical health benefits of staying active and having a passion for life (or some aspect of life), I would guess they will.
post #93 of 111

Europe versus Vail and Keystone?  Whoa, let's bring this thread back down to earth..

 

 er umm lower....Afton Alps eh?

 

 

Quote:
 
Mountain Statistics
Base Elevation: 350 ft (107 m)
Summit Elevation: 700 ft (213 m)
Vertical Drop: 350 ft (107 m)
Skiable Area: 300 acres (121 ha)
Annual Snowfall: 55 in (140 cm)
Snowmaking: 100 %
Number of Lifts: 21

 

 

That 350' is generous. It's really hills on hills.  There isn't really a good run from the highest summit to the lowest base last time if I remember correctly, but it has been 20 years since I last skied there.

post #94 of 111
Quote:
We are using data to say different things........
 
Even though they may be exiting the sport, the ski industry hasn't weaned themselves off this group but instead are converting the remaining members of this group to more and more and more ski days

No ambiguity at all in the data I just posted. Both the bar graph and the small table I constructed use the absolute number of skier visits in each age group, which incorporates both the decline in number of skiers and the increased number of days skied by those who remain.  The net effect is negative among all groups of skiers as they move from one age decile to an older one 10 years later.  

Quote:
Maybe the middle age dip from 25-35 is as simple as it's really difficult to ski much when you have small kids.

That's probably why that dip is 15% while the next two decades of attrition are only 11%.  It's no coincidence IMHO that's the age range where the average days skied per season is declining. 

 

The net negative accelerates dramatically after age 45-54, to 34% for the next decade, and 47% after that.  There is no ambiguity in that data demonstrating that Boomer total skier days have declined by at least one third since 1998.  Since total skier visits are up 5% (8% by smoothing out good/bad snow years), those skier days have so far been replaced by the younger generation.  

Quote:
BUT- In an era where real incomes have not risen and in general younger people are not better off (at their respective stages in life) than the boomer generation that is now driving the ski industry, taking vacations, buying the condos, and accounting for the profit in skier land at the moment, I have sincere doubts that the current model is viable.  I think NSAA's concerns about demographic shift are correct- I think we will see both a significant drop in skier visits AND, probably more damaging, a population of skiers that is less affluent than the current population.  I don't know what ski areas will be the winners and losers there.

 

This remains unknown. Worsening economics could reduce the influx of skiers over the next ~15 years to replace the remaining 2/3 of Boomer skier visits.  But my best guess is the skier visit numbers will continue flat to slightly rising in line with the past 15 years.  The prospective affluence of a similar sized next generation of skiers is a more interesting question.  2008-09 was a short term preview of that scenario.  I predicted total 2008-09 skier visits right on the nose based upon that season's snow conditions.  The first and most acute year of the Great Recession had no measurable effect upon total skier visits.  It did cut the $$$ those skiers spent and shifted some of the skier visits away from remote destination resorts to closer and presumably cheaper places.  So if you're a ski resort charging top dollar, you had better have a premium product that will attract "the 1%."   Otherwise expect more price sensitivity among your customers.


Edited by Tony Crocker - 9/29/14 at 8:36pm
post #95 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

No ambiguity at all in the data I just posted.

 

The ambiguity comes from 2 different sets of assumptions over what drives the peaks and valleys seen in the graph. If we had multiple years of (complete) data in this case, we could readily see how much of those peaks and valleys are due to life events like having mom and dad stop buying you lift tickets and not skiing as much because one is raising kids...

 

...and how much of those peaks and valleys move each year as the individuals represented grow one year older.

 

If we apply NSAA data, we know at the time of that graph that half the ski visits in the US were from people older and younger than 37.3.

 

We know that split point gets .32 years older every year. Every year, the older pool skis more than the younger pool, dragging that figure to the right.  What was a young person's sport has been advancing onto middle-age  Clearly, the younger pool is not replacing the older pool, and it has not done so for at least 20 years.

 

I'm realizing I am playing loose with the term "baby-boomer." I tend to think of anybody older than me to fit that category (born 1980). My mother was born in the tail-end of the baby boomer generation, and hasn't skied since 1994 or so.

 

So, let me stop using inaccurate terms. We have a physically demanding sport. Among adults, the biggest population in the 2009 graph was 44 year olds. Ceteris Parabis with applying NSAA data (that .32 a year) currently that peak would center at the 47 year mark. 

 

We see skier visits increase as the population falls off the cliff beginning at age 50, which if everything else (age related life events) held constant with the NSAA implication of average age increasing by that 1/3 a year, in a decade that largest chunk of skiers, centered in 2009 at 44, now hits the cliff at 50.  Does that cliff move too? Probably it does, but there is a real limit as to how far.

 

That's a problem. I assume this is the problem the NSAA talks about, despite the use of the term Baby Boomer, which I also threw around loosely to basically refer to anybody older than mid-40's. The wave of skiers to be concerned about may not be Boomers, but I see every indication that it still exists.  They also tend to be better off than we can readily expect the next generation following them to be, which as I mentioned I think could drive a double whammy.

 

I've wanted to peek at the NSAA data since I found out it existed the better part of a decade ago. Looking at it, I am confident I could get an idea whether I was on track or going down the road of chicken little. I don't supposed you have every asked nicely to see if they would share it with you? You'd probably get further than me... ;)


Edited by anachronism - 9/29/14 at 9:50pm
post #96 of 111
They'll sell it to you.
post #97 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

They'll sell it to you.

At a price I can't justify for idle curiosity. Maybe I could find enough people willing to chip in $5....
post #98 of 111

I have asked and I don't know whether I will get any more that what I presented above.  But the 2008-09 Demographic Report compares to 1997-98, which gives us the runoff rate for each age decile to the next older one.   

Quote:
Among adults, the biggest population in the 2009 graph was 44 year olds

Actually age 16 was slightly higher.  5 years later there will probably be a few younger ages higher than the older peak at 47 or so.  Note that Boomers are currently 50-68 and the peak age is surely below that already, further reinforcing that a significant fraction of the Boomer runoff has already occurred. 

 

The runoff rates in that report are almost certainly a good predictor of the future runoff of Boomer visits.   So getting past reports would only provide more data to back up what's in this one.  Getting the most recent report would update how many of the Boomer visits are actually gone.  The unknown quantity is the rate of new entrants born ~1994 and later to replace the remaining ~2/3 of Boomer visits.  Before too long this task will get easier, as the new entrants will be replacing the Baby Bust generation centered on age 34 in that graph.


Edited by Tony Crocker - 9/30/14 at 2:03pm
post #99 of 111

I have the 2003-04 and 2013-14 Demographic Reports now.  I have corrected slight errors in the 1998-2009 analysis.  The Demographic Report was first produced in 1997, so there's really not much more info available that we already have.   Neither the 2004 nor 2014 reports have that nice single age bar graph either.

 

  Kottke Demographic    
  Birth 1997-98 2008-09  
  up to 1933 1.3    
55+ 1934-1943 2.4 2.0 -46%
45-54 1944-1953 7.4 5.0 -32%
35-44 1954-1963 12.4 11.3 -9%
25-34 1964-1973 13.1 11.9 -9%
15-24 1974-1983 12.8 11.1 -13%
<15 1984+ 3.4 12.9 282%

 

  Kottke Demographic    
  Birth 2003-04 2013-14  
  up to 1938 1.7    
55+ 1939-1948 4.0 3.1 -46%
45-54 1949-1958 10.3 6.3 -39%
35-44 1959-1968 12.0 10.9 -9%
25-34 1969-1978 10.8 11.2 4%
15-24 1979-1988 13.7 11.6 -16%
<15 1989+ 4.0 10.2 156%

 

Runoff is consistent between the overlapping decades of reports except for the 25-34 age bracket, which declined 9% as it aged to 35-44 in the 2009 study but increased 4% in the 2014 study. 

 

The 45-54 age bracket in 2003-04 was squarely in the middle of the Baby Boom generation and it lost 39% of its skier visits over the past decade.  So my earlier estimate that 1/3 of the Boomer visits past age 45 are gone was a bit conservative; it's likely between 35% and 40%.

 

On the other hand:

1) Total US skier visits increased 5% between 1998 and 2009.  They are flat between 2004 and 2014.  2004 and 2014 were similar seasons in aggregate in terms of snow, but we're in a run of 3 subpar seasons at the moment including one very bad one in 2012.

2) The survey is unreliable for children.  But the 15-24 age group is 10.2 million in 2014 vs. 12.9 million in 2009.  The Millennials are already in their 20's and this is a possible warning that the skiing generation after them may be smaller.

 

One variable that could skew the numbers is international visits, but they were 4.7% in 2004 and 5.2% in 2014, so no real impact there.  Liz thinks this number is likely to accelerate some in the future from growing affluent classes in emerging markets.

 

I now would guess visits remain flat during the remaining decade or so of Boomer aging out, resuming the gradual increase after that.


Edited by Tony Crocker - 10/1/14 at 12:15pm
post #100 of 111
So it seems my argument is faulty, and I will stop going down that road.

I think the aging of the skiing population is not the sign of a healthy industry. There is only so much aging that can happen in a sport like this. But given that that does not correlate with a huge population wave, I agree that the assumption of HUGE declines in skier visits over a 5-10 year timeframe is overstating things.

My assumption (lofted by what I have seen of NSAA conclusions on the matter) was that it was the larger boomer population aging that was pushing the average skier age up- not supported by data.

My new hypothesis is that skiing is skewing wealthier, and as wealthier folks tend to be older, we see the .33 per year average age progression. I believe that supported by data I have seen showing both those progressions, but I would have to do more digging into what I can find to see if I can find data supportive that more and more ski days are coming from wealthier individuals.

Thanks for an informative conversation on the issue.
post #101 of 111

Final quibble-

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

 

Actually age 16 was slightly higher.

 

Which is why I said

Quote:
Among adults, the biggest population in the 2009 graph was 44 year olds

 

I felt it was worthy to make a distinction between individuals living independently and making decisions with their pocketbooks...

post #102 of 111
Quote:
I felt it was worthy to make a distinction between individuals living independently and making decisions with their pocketbooks...

Possibly a reason for the decline in the 15-24 age bracket since 2009.

1998: 12.8

2004: 13.7

2009: 12.9

2014: 10.2

This is the one red flag I see in the demographic data. 

 

In context here's the overall US population pyramid by age in 2014:

 

The Boomer peak is now at age 54 and the Millennial peak is at age 23.  The 15-24 age group should have peaked in the 2009 study but in fact it peaked in the 2004 study and the decline since 2009 is steeper than the overall population decline. 

 

The Baby Bust low point in the above graph is the same 1975 birth year as in the 2009 Kottke Demographic Report graph of skiers by age.

 

Quote:
Thanks for an informative conversation on the issue.

Feedback and interactivity is a key value of Forums like this.  This is not the first time I've pursued research I might not have done on my own in response to an issue posted here. 

post #103 of 111

Just an anecdotal comment, totally unsupported by any data..  I'm at the very tail end of the baby boomer group.  When I run through my head all of the people I skied with when I was younger, say from age 12 on..  Probably less than half of those people that I still have contact with today still ski, at least still ski once a year or more.  

 

Are there people my age that started skiing in their 30s and 40s out there tearing it up?  Probably so and probably with more frequency than most of the folks my age that learned much earlier... sort of a been there done that wear out effect for many.  Also sort of an "man this is really cool I need to do this every chance I get" among the newer skiers regardless of age.

 

As mentioned there is a huge disposable income and available free time variable here that may be the strongest out of all of them.  Skiing's expensive.  Unless you live close to a hill with night skiing it requires either vacation/PTO days or enough weekend/or weekday off bandwidth where you're probably paying someone else to maintain your property to some degree if you have time to travel to ski resorts..

post #104 of 111
Quote:
When I run through my head all of the people I skied with when I was younger, say from age 12 on..  Probably less than half of those people that I still have contact with today still ski, at least still ski once a year or more.

All of us in that generation have this experience and know lots of dropouts. 

Quote:
Are there people my age that started skiing in their 30s and 40s out there tearing it up?  Probably so and probably with more frequency than most of the folks my age that learned much earlier.

Whatever the source, that was anachronism's thesis, that the remaining skiers were skiing much more.  This is true for me personally and true in aggregate at a moderate level as shown by the black line in the 2009 skier-by-age graph.  But the dropout rate is far more powerful and has resulted in a 35-40% decline in skier days among the Boomers in the past decade. 

Quote:
As mentioned there is a huge disposable income and available free time variable here that may be the strongest out of all of them.  Skiing's expensive.  Unless you live close to a hill with night skiing it requires either vacation/PTO days or enough weekend/or weekday off bandwidth where you're probably paying someone else to maintain your property to some degree if you have time to travel to ski resorts..

This is a key question, also raised by anachronism.  It's not clear to me that skiing overall is more expensive inflation-adjusted than 30 years ago.  For some of the avid skiers with season passes it's probably less expensive.  The fraction of the upcoming population that can afford skiing vs. prior generations is the part we don't know yet.

post #105 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

 

This is a key question, also raised by anachronism.  It's not clear to me that skiing overall is more expensive inflation-adjusted than 30 years ago.  For some of the avid skiers with season passes it's probably less expensive.  The fraction of the upcoming population that can afford skiing vs. prior generations is the part we don't know yet.

What has gotten more expensive at least for me and many is the free time/PTO.  I can't afford to leave the job to ski because I'm now too afraid of the bosses finding out ways to get by without me.The days of job security are long gone or at least way different than they were 30 years ago.  It's mostly only upper management and people that are the business owners that can afford to take a couple days of to go skiing more than once or twice a year nowadays..

post #106 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post
 

What has gotten more expensive at least for me and many is the free time/PTO.  I can't afford to leave the job to ski because I'm now too afraid of the bosses finding out ways to get by without me.The days of job security are long gone or at least way different than they were 30 years ago.  It's mostly only upper management and people that are the business owners that can afford to take a couple days of to go skiing more than once or twice a year nowadays..

 

Yup. By far the most expensive part of skiing is the time needed and opportunity costs involved. I can make a choice of working a full-time 9-5 job and get about 2 - 3 weeks PTO of which at least a week and a half of that will be spent actually being sick or doing other important things getting a solid week or two of skiing a year in. Or, I can take a $45K pay cut and work a part-time job along with some various side-gigs and get a good 30-50 days a season. That's a pretty damn expensive ski season.

post #107 of 111

if you appreciate a longer article: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/05/26/no-time

post #108 of 111
And then you've got so-called unlimited vacation..
http://time.com/3446598/richard-branson-wrong-about-vacation/
post #109 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
For some of the avid skiers with season passes it's probably less expensive.  The fraction of the upcoming population that can afford skiing vs. prior generations is the part we don't know yet.

 

Almost certainly less expensive on a marginal basis because season passes make us ski more. On a per season basis it is much less clear.

 

In the immediate future, I don't see skiing as an unaffordable sport for those that buy a season pass.  The problem is that first timers don't buy season passes, and shoving newcomers to the sport into the most expensive bracket is just a terribly dumb idea in the long term.

post #110 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemon Zest View Post
 

 

Yup. By far the most expensive part of skiing is the time needed and opportunity costs involved. I can make a choice of working a full-time 9-5 job and get about 2 - 3 weeks PTO of which at least a week and a half of that will be spent actually being sick or doing other important things getting a solid week or two of skiing a year in. Or, I can take a $45K pay cut and work a part-time job along with some various side-gigs and get a good 30-50 days a season. That's a pretty damn expensive ski season.

My PTO's mostly gone every year thanks to the annual "mandatory furlough" that requires we all take off Christmas Day through New Year's Day.  I usually only go try to ski one day over that madness, usually around the 30th.

post #111 of 111
The last two years here the "all time record" was set on the 29th. The 26th is not bad. And the 1st is great as well.
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