The U.S. has more ski visitors than any other country in the world. Vail has the most visitors in the U.S, and was ninth in the world according to the document below. The Alps combined is a bigger market than the U.S., but saying CO is not a big deal is a bit silly. It is one of the major ski areas in the world representing a significant population of skiers. We've had people weighing in from all over North America talking about a lack of narrow ski choices in the shops.
The entire US combined has only slightly more skier visits than Austria by itself, and Austria is a pretty small place. On top of that, the Alps include French, Swiss, Italian, German, and Slovenian resorts. If you combine all of those together, you're looking at well over the number for all of North America combined. And again, you have to keep in mind that the Alps only include small parts of France, Germany, and Italy. So, we're not talking about a huge area.
Also, when it comes to visits by area, you need to know a bit more about the resorts in the list. For example, Val d'Isere and Tignes are part of a fully connected ski area (the Espace Killy) covered by a single lift ticket. So, their combined skier visits would put them higher than Vail. The same goes for St. Anton, which is combined with Lech, Zurs, and Warth-Schroecken (the Arlberg ski area). Meribel is connected with Val Thorens and Courchevel, so that combined area (the Three Valleys) would be way above Vail, as would La Plagne and Les Arcs (the Paradiski area), which are already above Vail when considered separately. Listing those resorts separately is like listing Whistler and Blackcomb separately. If you take the numbers for connected ski areas rather than individual towns, the North American areas would all be farther down that list.
So when it comes to total skier visits, Colorado makes up a pretty small portion of the skiing world. The same goes for clothing and equipment sales, as well as hours with instructors.
You've had people from a couple parts of North America talking about a lack of selection, but you've also had people from other parts talking about not seeing that problem. Like I said before, it sounds like a local or regional problem, not a global or even national one. As such, publishing an angry rant in Ski, which is sold outside the US, is an overreaction.
Edited by CerebralVortex - 1/28/16 at 1:22am