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Snow Boarding popularity and economics

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
I want to take the time it introduce myself as this is my first new topic. I am a 24 year old skiier form Rockville, MD. I have been skiing since I was 11. However I am a first generation skier and thus, I have never had an opportunity to go very often until this season. I have been lurking arround the board for a few weeks and I wanted to post a question for you all.

With regards to the increase in popularity of snow boarding and the plateauing of skiing that has been mentioned in this forum, I am curious how this isn't a great thing for skiers.

Set aside the effect of newbie boarders scraping snow off the green and blue runs, and look at the big picture. If I am a ski manufacturer and I am losing customers to a sport that is qualitatively the same with the primary difference being that the equipment costs 1/2 as much, then I will feel a great need to reduce my prices to compete and keep my customers or at the very least improve my products to offer more bang for the buck.

IMO if you look at the advances in ski technology, the mainstreaming of shaped skis, etc... that has happened in the past few years. You can attribute that in some respects to drawing people back to skiing from snow boarding, ski boards, tubing or whatever else they are doing that isn't skiing. I don't see how the competition is doing anything but helping skiers get better skis for better prices.
post #2 of 31
Tbone

Now that the two plankers in the park are way cooler than lid riders I reckon the lids will plateau very soon .... oops I forgot lids are a simple tool ...

Oz

[ January 24, 2003, 10:39 AM: Message edited by: man from oz ]
post #3 of 31
Makes sense, but uhhh...I haven't seen the prices of skis dropping, have you?
post #4 of 31
I agree ski prices are a rip off. My next pair will be $39 straights from Gart sports ... the latest carve jive gear is way too expensive ... for the prices being charged we should be getting titanium edges and kevlar bases

[ January 24, 2003, 10:55 AM: Message edited by: man from oz ]
post #5 of 31
With regards to the increase in popularity of snow boarding and the plateauing of skiing that has been mentioned in this forum, I am curious how this isn't a great thing for skiers.

with all due respect, I think only a small few people are saying that skiing has hit a plateau. I know boarders who are taking up skiing as a secondary snow activity.

as long as skiers continue to pay high prices for equipment, the prices will stay high. I pity any fool that buys a new Scream Pilot 10 at $1000. However, in our culture it's normal for people to want the "latest & greatest" -- and that fact drives a LOT of consumer purchases.

boarding is increasing in popularity because (1) it's easier to learn; (2) the equipment is cheaper; (3) the snowboard is a better powder tool; and (4) it's multipurpose. for backcontry skiing, one needs either a masochistic personality (to use std alpine eqpt), telemark gear, or alpine touring/randonee gear. in snowboarding, you use the same equipment.

I don't expect the growth of snowboarding to result in cheaper skis or skiing equipment. To save money, you still have to be a savvy buyer.
post #6 of 31
Quote:
Originally posted by gonzostrike:
With regards to the increase in popularity of snow boarding and the plateauing of skiing that has been mentioned in this forum, I am curious how this isn't a great thing for skiers.

with all due respect, I think only a small few people are saying that skiing has hit a plateau.
SeasonTotal Number of U.S. Skier Visits (in millions)
1981/8250.718
1982/8346.861
1983/8450.630
1984/8551.354
1986/8753.749
1987/8853.908
1988/8953.335
1989/9050.020
1990/9146.722
1991/9250.835
1992/9354.032
1993/9454.637

Ok, there is some minor growth but this is as close to plateaued as I can imagine.

Yes, there is some switching back and forth between skiing and snowboarding, but my experience is snowboarding is still taking more from skiing than skiing from snowboarding.

Mark
post #7 of 31
I was under the impression that snowboarding peaked out, resulting in SIMS' negative ads taking potshots at new school skiing's fashion/attitude ripping from its "cooler" boarder brethren.
post #8 of 31
First let me say welcome to Da Bears TBone, Way to go for your first topic. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img] You make some good points However there is another factor at play here.That factor is MSRP and that price IMHO is pure fiction. The Manufactures and Retailers know that they will sell vary few skis at that Price. The real Price point average is perhaps 30% under that MSRP price. I have seen the price of a few select skis fall. case in point the Atomic R:ex MSRP was $795 last season. This season MSRP is $725. I think resent numbers show that Snowboarding is leveling off.
post #9 of 31
Ok, there is some minor growth but this is as close to plateaued as I can imagine.

1) define "plateau," both literally and in the context of this situation

2) looks to me like it's been holding steady, and NOT hitting a "plateau." why do we need "growth" in skiing? is this nolo posting under the Maddog handle?
post #10 of 31
gonzostrike:

:
post #11 of 31
This is just an account of what happened here in wisconsin/minnesota-

about 1995 snowboarders were mostly a subject talked about but never seen. Around 97-98 there was a huge boom in the snow board pop. Almost no one started skiing, and about half of the skiiers started boarding. Anyway so snowboarding had its big boom and conqured the market because everyone thought it was cool, which it was since it is 10 times easier. Then skiing came back in recent years with new school punks acting like they are cool and in my opinion they are the ones who made skiing popular again. So now that skiing is cool again snow boarding is leveling off and the ski industry is advancing.
ALot of the reason for the big switch over is that ski technology was so old and boring that it just wasn't cool. and about the time that snowbaorders took over the world the ski companies went all out (for obvious reasons) and came up with so many technology advances that you can't even keep up with it any more (just take a look at our GEAR section) So give it a few years and board companies will come out with a massive outlet of technology increases, and skiing will once again be boring(and the cycle will go on and on..)

hm, thats confusing

BoB
post #12 of 31
Why dont we quit talking and go ski!!!!

duke :
post #13 of 31
Snowboard sales are on a decline, while ski sales are rising anually.
post #14 of 31
TBone,

Welcome, neighbor!

One thing that you overlooked is economy of scale. The more of something you sell, the less you can charge. One reason ski mfgrs might not be lowering their prices, is that with all of the costs they have to research, produce, market and ship skis, they are not making much of a profit.

As we all learned, last year K2 took their production facilities, and moved them to China. For a clue as to why, see the above paragraph.

I have the feeling that they simply can't bring in less income than they already are, or they will go belly-up.

And before anyone goes off on a rant, saying that the materials to build a ski probably only cost $40, you need to consider the $50-$150 per hour cost of employing researchers, the cost of marketing (to include sponsoring atheletes, and hand building their skis for gratis. And don't forget those demo vans), the cost of machinery, re-tooling for every new type of ski, facilities, management, administration, etc., etc., etc. I can promise you that a $400 toilet seat, or a $400 hammer is no match for the technology and quality control that goes into a high-end pair of skis. Oh, and that $400 hammer was probably produced with $2 in parts, and all design, production and testing had to have been done in 3-4 hours. try that at home!

[img]tongue.gif[/img]
post #15 of 31
Quote:
Originally posted by Taylormatt:
Makes sense, but uhhh...I haven't seen the prices of skis dropping, have you?
Um...no.
post #16 of 31
Quote:
Originally posted by funkybob:
-
so snowboarding had its big boom ...since it is 10 times easier.
...the ski companies ... came up with so many technology advances BoB
Is snowboarding still "10 times easier" in the era since "the ski comapanies went all out ... and came up with ... technological advances?" I really don't know a thing about learning to snowboard, but skiing has certainly gotten less difficult.

I mean skiing seems pretty darn easy on the new equipment, and I understand that the lack of challenge on regular pistes is what now drives a lot of young skiers to terrain parks and extreme off-piste areas.

From my personal experience, I was a pretty good skier on the old-school/pre-school gear (pre-1975) and then took 20 years off from the sport. But there are things I can do now on the new equipment that I never could do 20 years ago when I had a great deal more athletic ability. On the new stuff, all you have to do is think about turning the skis and ...
post #17 of 31
Quote:
Originally posted by Utah49:
The Manufactures and Retailers know that they will sell vary few skis at that Price. The real Price point average is perhaps 30% under that MSRP price.
Welcome aboard TBone

I can't speak to the numbers of skiers, snowboarders or whether either are reaching a plateau of some kind.

But, as Utah49 has pointed out, the pricing of ski gear is less than retail. It is very similar to the pricing of tennis equipment years ago - and probably still is - every manufacturer has a retail price, but consumers don't pay retail. Manufacturers used to have wholesale and retail, now they have wholesale, maximum area pricing (MAP) and manufacturers suggested retail pricing (MSRP). Call it what you want, I don't see the price of our toys coming down.
post #18 of 31
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the Warm welcome. I wasn't expecting to start such a debate. I was just commenting on what a wonderful time this is to be riding down a hill on anything and that the quality of equipment seems to improivng very nicely. I just hope this trend continues as more competition can only help improve the equipment and the sport, if not always the prices.

[ January 25, 2003, 11:40 AM: Message edited by: TBONE ]
post #19 of 31
what most of you don't realize is that a lot of skiers do pay almost retail, when you don't live near ski country & buy your gear from shops in atlanta, orlando tampa ect. you may not pay retail but its close maybe 10-20 percent discount at best, unless its several seasons old stock, even in summit county there are several high end shops that don't discount at least not much but they sell quality service not discount prices, most of us that frequent this site know what gear we want so a knowledgeable salesman is not as important to us as a reduced price, but if you don't know any thing & need a lot of help to spend your money you would be better served to go to a shop with good sales people that ski & know their stuff than to walmart even if it cost more upfront, one good case in point is we all know how important a good bootfitter footbeds ect have become & are more likely to spend near retail for boots than skis, now I hunt deals as good as anybody because I am a gearhead & love neat stuff, I hate to rent, I also have this theory that I only have x amount of dollars to spend so the better deals I can get the more neat stuff I can buy, for some people though that make to much money the time spent hunting a good deal may be a waste of their time, now lets see were can I find a deal on those new rossi b2s.
bteddy
post #20 of 31
Alot of folks have said how boarding is so much easier than skiing...I have to disagree here. I've skied since I was 3 (31 now), skiing is 2nd nature to me. This year I spent a day on a board after taking private lessons and I have to say, there's nothing easy about it. It might be easier for someone with no skiing background to pick up, but for those of us who engrained skiing into our brains...everything we know is detremental to snowboarding. Everything that is instinct to us will land you on your butt or face on a board. That's alot of instinct to forget. It's not that easy. Again, it may be easy for people who never really skied, but I don't think it is for most of us "old schoolers". I have much more respect for the snowboarders who used to ski and switched than I used to.

I still think a board would rule in powder, I just don't want to start all over again for an entire season...and then I think about how life would be without bumps [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img] . Skiing is for me, but I respect a GOOD boarder much more now than ever before. The skidder wanna-bes that scrape the snow off the headwalls and ruin the bump runs...I could do without them :

I just had to add that, since I wonder how many guys who claim boarding is so much easier have actually tried it. No intent to start anything here, just curious how many tried and thought it was so easy, because I will admit, it kicked my @ss. The world was never so right as the minute I clicked back into two planks after attempting boarding [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #21 of 31
Interesting thread Tbone. Today I was riding the lift with another tele skier. He commented about the increase in the popularity of tele skiing and how many good 3pin skiers there are now. He also commented that he thought there were less boarders this year, that many who already knew how to ski had bought twin tips and were now jibbing on skis instead. I hadn't caught on to this but after he mentioned it, he was right! Maybe it was just the day but there sure seemed to be way less tray riders than before.
post #22 of 31
My daughter has been on skis since she could walk, and skis black runs with ease. This year in the grade 5 program, she has decided to give boarding a try. I think that's wonderful, and am looking forward to learning with her, though I'll have to trade in my one-piece powder suit or I'll look like a dweeb!

I just can't understand the contempt many skiers have for boarding and boarders. They are two perfectly legitimate ways to slide down mountain. I couldn't care less if boarding overtakes skiing or vice versa, so long as there is enough business coming to the hills to keep them open.
post #23 of 31
TBone--

Welcome to the forum. John H, no tears out of my eyes that manufacturers have to pay for R & D, Engineers, etc- what makes them different from a company selling laundry deteregent? The price is jacked up regardless of the product.

And, as somone else mentioned, if the consumer if willing to spend the money, the prices won't change.

BTW- TBone--I used to live in Rockville. How's the skiing up at <font color="#000066">Liberty</font> these days?
post #24 of 31
Hey JR, I'm right there with you. I've actually been boarding for many years but my 10 year old daughter has skied since age 4. She told us after our last Mammoth trip in December that she wants to try boarding...like her 8 year old brother. If that's what she wants to do, I'm OK with that. She'll never know what she likes better if we don't give her the opportunity.

I don't know which is easier to learn. I guess it depends on the person. I know both came very easy to me. However, I was able to get better at a faster rate on a snowboard and there is no better feeling than floating thru 2' of fresh powder on a board.
post #25 of 31
Quote:
Originally posted by gonzostrike:
[QB][i] it's multipurpose. for backcontry skiing, one needs either a masochistic personality (to use std alpine eqpt), telemark gear, or alpine touring/randonee gear. in snowboarding, you use the same equipment.

QB]
It's masochistic for a skier to take off his or her skis and hike, but not for a snowboarder to do the same thing? Or have split snowboards become that popular in your part of the country?

I've more often heard the arguement that boards are less versitile. One can at least traverse on alpine skis, or one can buy alpine trekkers for $140, and traverse farther.

Or why not simply switch to randonee gear? Its is easy more versitile than either. I fail to see where you would need also to have alpine gear, given the quality of randonee gear available.
post #26 of 31
Randonee, french for can't tele. [img]tongue.gif[/img]

[ January 29, 2003, 09:28 AM: Message edited by: Lucky ]
post #27 of 31
Quote:
Originally posted by JR:


I just can't understand the contempt many skiers have for boarding and boarders. They are two perfectly legitimate ways to slide down mountain. I couldn't care less if boarding overtakes skiing or vice versa, so long as there is enough business coming to the hills to keep them open.
I can. The problem with bad snowboarders is that they do it because it fits with their "punk" culture. Thus, you have a bunch of angust filled, mannerless jerks running around. Just the other day, I watched a snowboarder get into an argument with a skier who was passing on a lift. After calling him various things which I don't care to speak of here and insulting his skill, she proceeded to heelslide a slope covered with the closest thing we get to powder in Tennessee, creating a 5 foot swath of pure ice. I have been insulted by the same boarder and her friends in the past. The ironic part about this particular group is that they're wannabes. They built a 2 foot kicker then sat around for 30 minutes too scared to hit it. The irony? Just after they yelled at me proclaiming how badly I sucked, I hit their kicker and caught approximately 3 feet of air off of it. And stupid as they were, the landing zone was a sloid sheet of ice.
If you want to snowboard or ski, go take lessons, learn common courtesy, the responsibility code, and take a couple of courses on riding steeps and powder. I'm sick and tired of skiing down heelslide tracks.
post #28 of 31
Dudes,

I'm 54 and my midlife crisis took the form of a snowboard. I bought a soup-to-nuts setup for $125, el cheapo. I rode the board for 2 seasons, exclusive. I went back to skis for ski patrol 3 years ago and have only been on the board a few times since, choosing to keep working on my skiing skills. I think I can do more on skis. I found the board to be a thrill, great in powder and crud, athletic, but somewhat undignified. I mean, you have to keep hopping around and there's all that bending over. Plus, it's hard to stand around the trailside and admire the scenery and have conversation. The younger set just plops down in the snow, but I found it hard to pop up again, so I tended to just not stop. Anyways, I probably will ride a few times this season, just so I don't forget, but my heart belongs to the planks.

Now, my son started skiing at age 9, one season, and then it was snowboard from then on. Now come we to this season. He is 14 and he tells me he wants twintips. Whoa, dude. So, I get him some volkl v parkriders. He also joined the ski team at school and run gates now with these twintips. He's on skis 2 days/week and board 2 days. What I think is happening with his gang is they all are trying everything. Most have both planks and boards. I don't get the feeling that his generation is very polarized on this issue.

Whenever I can I say "Rip it, don't strip it".
post #29 of 31
How can you spot a rich snowboarder? They have gravy on their side of fries in the lodge for lunch.

Zachman: you don't have a problem with boarders, you have a problem with boarders that are *******s. My experience shows that most are not, though they speak a different language than skiers, and there do seem to be more *******s on boards than skis. Mind you, I have also noticed that the majority of ******* drivers drive import vehicles. I'd avoid ski areas with lots of imports in the parking lot with board racks on top.
post #30 of 31
Quote:
I can. The problem with bad snowboarders is that they do it because it fits with their "punk" culture. Thus, you have a bunch of angust filled, mannerless jerks running around. Just the other day, I watched a snowboarder get into an argument with a skier who was passing on a lift. After calling him various things which I don't care to speak of here and insulting his skill, she proceeded to heelslide a slope covered with the closest thing we get to powder in Tennessee, creating a 5 foot swath of pure ice. I have been insulted by the same boarder and her friends in the past. The ironic part about this particular group is that they're wannabes. They built a 2 foot kicker then sat around for 30 minutes too scared to hit it. The irony? Just after they yelled at me proclaiming how badly I sucked, I hit their kicker and caught approximately 3 feet of air off of it. And stupid as they were, the landing zone was a sloid sheet of ice.
Yes, that is the problem -- attitude. Unfortunately, young folks are prone to try to gain independence by spouting negatives toward whatever they are not interested in doing, and the "interest" often is fueled by peer pressure or "image," not something else. Anyone who is self-critical and is beyond 30 years old should know exactly what I'm talking about. Remember those embarrassing things you did in the name of being cool, in an attempt to attract boys/girls (hey, whatever works for you -- not that there's anything wrong with it : ), or in an attempt to fit in with a group you admired?

Face it, folks. It's rare in our culture to see someone do something for singularly soulful reasons. I'm lucky enough to have started skiing because my mother thought it would be a good activity for me. I quit skiing when I went to grad school and started hanging around "career-oriented" people. Even as a young adult, societal pressures crept in.

Now I'm happily a skier and would like to learn boarding, but don't feel inclined to take up something new when I'm already passably lousy at skiing! [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]
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