Originally Posted by JoeUT
I'm not sure how you can be so dismissive of some points while maintaining a rather tenuous position that implies that Europe's higher skier numbers are directly correlated to its larger resort sizes. Season pass prices have become important to tourists because some, like the Epic Pass, are now low enough that tourists can often save money by buying a pass instead of lift tickets. Not to mention all the multi-resort passes that we've seen in recent years. Booking last minute isn't solely a function of chasing powder; not everyone can or wants to book a vacation months in advance. That goes for any vacation, not just ski vacations.
The real issue, though, is that you haven't made a correlation between Europe's higher numbers and its larger resorts, nor does it seem like there's one to make. Not all of Europe's resorts are big, interlinked multi-resorts, so a good chunk of its higher ski numbers are coming from resorts of smaller size. You can't really just compare Switzerland, the most mountainous country in the world, with the US based on population alone, without taking things like size of the country, number of resorts and regional population into consideration. That's as helpful as comparing Colorado to Texas. Europe has twice the population of the US and close to 50 percent more than N. America as a whole, and Switzerland is basically its skiing capital. And I'm sure a much higher percentage of its native population skis because their entire small country is made up of mountains.
Actually, I was talking about Austria, which has the same population of UT and CO combined but less land (a surprising amount of which is actually fairly flat) and its major population centers are farther from the mountains than SLC and Denver. And yet they get 50-60 million skier visits per year, depending on snowfall and the global economy.
I'm not saying that they get more visits simply because the ski areas are bigger. I'm saying that the resorts in the Alps get more visits because they make skiing more convenient and affordable than it is in the US. Offering large amounts of terrain is only one part of that. Park City is in a unique position in the US in that it actually could make skiing pretty much as convenient as the major European resorts and at least slightly more affordable than other major US resorts. They've already got the convenient town right up against the mountain. Connecting the three resorts would mean that people would only need one lift ticket and wouldn't need to drive to get from one part to another. The added benefit of that convenience is that people would be able to take more advantage of multi-day discounts, making their trips at least slightly less expensive. And all it would take to make that possible is one new lift (which is already being built) and one dropped rope essentially.
As for booking far in advance, you're right; not everyone wants to do that, but a fairly large number of people do. If you've got a lot of accommodation still available for last-minute bookings, then it means that your popularity doesn't really match your capacity. From a business perspective, that's not a good thing.
BTW, there are a few things you're forgetting about Europe and the Alps. First off, a very large number of Europeans are in countries like Russia, Ukraine, and other non-EU members that don't really have many skiers, let alone skiers going to the Alps (Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus have over 190 million people combined). Secondly, Portugal, Spain, and some of France are actually closer to the Pyrenees, which have their own ski areas competing for business (Portugal and Spain have over 55 million people). The same goes for Scandinavia (over 20 million in Norway, Sweden, and Finland, which all have their own ski resorts). On top of that, the report I linked above doesn't count Germany as part of the Alps region, meaning there's another 80 million people in a country with its own resorts. So out of the roughly 740 million people in Europe, over 155 million live in the same country (or same peninsula) as competing ski regions and over 190 million are in countries with very few skiers and even fewer with the means to do a ski trip in the Alps.
And yet France, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy got over 160 million skier visits in the 12/13 season.
Originally Posted by BobMc
Cerebral Vortex is always convinced he's going to jaunt over to Snowbird from Park City and leave Mom behind.
Actually, I'd probably convince her to stay in Solitude. We'd be able to ski to just about any part of the area in an hour or less from there, and Solitude and Brighton have terrain that we both like.
Edited by CerebralVortex - 9/16/15 at 4:35am