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Ski Industry Optimistic

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thought this was notable ... but I don't know if I would bank on it.


An excerpt:

Across the continent in Washington, Crystal Mountain opened Nov. 2 — the earliest since 1994 — thanks to snowfall of up to 3 feet in some areas. Loveland Ski Area in Colorado opened its season even earlier, on Oct. 14.

Bookings at major western ski resorts were up 6.6% from where they were Sept. 30 of last year, according to the Mountain Travel Research Project, which tracks the ski industry.

In some areas, such as Lake Tahoe, Calif., bookings are expected to rise sharply. The Lake Tahoe Visitor's Authority predicts an 18% increase in the number of nights booked in local hotels this winter.

And nationally, the trend is positive, with records set in tickets sold by the ski industry in four out of the last five winter seasons in terms of numbers of tickets sold, says the National Ski Areas Association.

The outlook was similar elsewhere in New England as well as other regions of the country. Heather Atwell of the Vermont Ski Areas Association said that based on early bookings, "they're still fairly certain people are still going to come."
post #2 of 5
The title "Despite gas prices,"... reminded me that I saw petrol being sold for the lowest price in my area for over 12 months. I enjoyed this quote though... are my reflexes that bad?

At the same time, many destination resorts are taming their trails a bit with more grooming and fewer obstructions to keep the baby boomers, whose reflexes aren't what they used to be, coming back
post #3 of 5
It's a fickled industry for sure.

I better qualify for you wbroun. You're a man who delights in the substance of reliable information...

I've been working in the ski industry for 16 years. First as a tech rep, then as a retail buyer and for the last 10 years as a project manager.

Ski resorts make or break their ski seaosn budget numbers in this order:
First on Christmas
Second ...Thanksgiving
And a distant third is Spring Break.

Christmas is the biggy. The snow is very unreliable that time of year but the destination market is very profitable. There's great opportunity to make the numbers happen. Skiers aren't dumb. They will yank their reservations from one destination and head somewhere else in a heart beat all because of weather. Nothing beats seeing the Denver Broncos playing a home game in November during a blizzard to cause central rez phones lines to go crazy for Colorado resorts

Thanksgiving is such a weird time of year. By all accounts everyone should still be playing golf and riding bikes. But the skiing consumers want their turnz ...and they want them early. That's a big reason why some "western" resorts have invested gobs of money in snow making. Copper Mountain is a great example of this. They have tons of water rights and a very sophisticated snowmaking system. Go figure. Thanksgiving is rich in destination market revenue. If it "happens", then it's very, very good for early season numbers.

Spring Break is almost a no brainer. By then there is snow. It's now a game of how good marketing, sales and central rez can entice. And it's also a game of how well the resort can deliver. If those things click, then the oh-so-valuable recycled skier market is sold on brand X or brand Y.

This early season in the central Rockies has been amazing by comparison of year's past. Patrol can hardly keep up with the control work to open new terrain.

I'd say that the news report is accurate.
post #4 of 5

I love James Thurber ...especially "My Life and Times". Hilarious stuff.
post #5 of 5
Skiers are too fickle! Not the people around here, of course-we often have a difficult time understanding why people don't ski 20 times a year and move to snow country. But, we are the passionate minority. The majority of skiers these days seem to be aging baby boomers that ski 4-5 times per year, and easily get turned off. If they get in early turns, then great, they will ski all season. But, if it is dry through Christmas, they write the season off and don't come back until the following year, no matter what happens in February and March. I have seen it 3 of the past 5 years: late snow that came heavy in March onward, but no skiers. The other 2 years, early snow meant a consistent customer base all winter long, right up through April.

Also, I just don't see the industry getting too much busier anytime soon. When my dad was a kid growing up 1 hour from a decent Cascade resort, he said that practically everyone skied in the winter. After all, what else are you going to do in Oregon over the wet months? Now, kids aren't as active, and stay inside playing video games. In my college fraternity my senior year, we had 37 guys living in the house. Despite proximity to local ski areas (3 within 1.5 hours) only 7 people made a run that winter (despite constant prodding on my part). And these are young, athletic guys, most with more money than the average 20-year old (say what you want about higher-education, in the US, but college kids are much more likely to be from middle to upper class families than people on average).
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