Originally Posted by Tony Crocker
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