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Give the First Day Away

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 
Okay, I said I start a new thread and this is it. I'm sure it'll raise some hackles.

Here's the scenario. Snow sports are losing participation--alpine skiing has 40% less people playing in the sport since 1988; cross country skiing has -40% as well. Snowboarding, on the other hand, is up 258% since 1990. But the number of snowboarders was small in 1990, so even with that growth, overall, snowsports are down 15% in the last 15 years. Overall, we lose 1% a year.

When asked, "What is the greatest force in the universe?" Einstein answered, "Compound interest."

Anyway, compound interest is taking the 1% drop per annum in snow sports and making the deficit bigger and bigger each year.

The answer is obvious, isn't it? We need more people to join the sport.

Before you say, "Oh, we don't need any new people--their loss only means more for me!" let me hasten to mind you of another statistic: in 1986 there were 709 resort areas (though "resort" may be an exaggeration...)and today there are 503.

So, I was thinking about this, and I guess Warren Miller was too, because we have come up with the same solution: Do what any self-respecting crack dealer would do and give the first taste away. Only we wouldn't put it quite that way to most crowds, of course.

The industry could call it something catchy like: "Give the First Day Away." The giveaway would be lifts, lessons, and rentals. Then, and this is crucial, make sure the lessons are given with as much care as on a first date and the equipment is supertuned and sized right.

What do you think of the idea? This is an invitation to poke holes, take shots, and all join in a pig pile if you so desire.
post #2 of 51
Many states are aware of the effect on tourism/economy that skiing has. The NSAA has been publishing figures for years.

Some states have "take your daughter to the slopes" day, some have a fourth grader can ski for free if with a paid adult, "learn to ski/ride"(3 days of rental, lessons and ticket for $70). I'm sure there are more.

As a non-resort owner, I would say, give it away. If I were a resort owner, I might have a "string attached to it". If one person pays, 2 can learn free.

Any resort people out there?

What other "give aways" are out there?
post #3 of 51
Here in New Zealand the season just ended had 1.2 million skier days which was the best ever, beating the previous record of 1.1 million in 1994. It was accredited to ultra cheap season passes, even though the snow was less than average.

Although there may be a reduction in the number of skier days, I wonder if the increase in ticket prices has actually lead to more revenue for the ski areas.

In past years ski areas in NZ have had schemes for first time skiers and boarders which included transport, rental, beginners lift ticket and first time lesson for very cheap, I heard they were successful but I haven't heard of the repeat rate for those skiers. One mountain has children under ten ski free policy.

And at the same time we benefit from ski areas which are definitely not for beginners. There are two ski areas here which have no beginners facilities or terrain whatsoever. The atmosphere there is so cool, everyone is a decent skier with respect for each other and a really easy going attitude. There are no posers and everyone knows what they are doing, the feeling there is so different from ordinary ski areas.

I think we all benffit from diversity between ski areas.
post #4 of 51
Snow sport participation cannot improve as modern western society gets lazier, and if 60% of the population does not have the physical fitness required to participate in these sports. Also, the learning curve requires quite a few days on the snow, and the modern person wants instant gratification in one day. Equipment prices are also prohibitive for many people, especially if they don't want a soft foam core piece-of-... cap ski in a 150. And as TV, computers, the internet etc... keep growing snow sports will keep declining because more people will want to sit in their homes on the computer rather than going outside and hurting themselves by getting pelted with out-of-control boarders and snowplowers.
post #5 of 51
Thread Starter 
Nice segue, MikeB.

Don't think it'd work, eh?
post #6 of 51
Some resorts recognize this and are doing pursuing it. At Bogus Basin $199 gets you 4 lessons, equipment rental for the season and a season pass after you complete the 4 lessons. Kids 7-12 pay $149.

NSAA’s numbers show that skiers/riders who take lessons will stick with it in greater numbers than those who don’t (Wow, shocking). The resort isn’t really making money on these guests the first year, but are investing in the future season pass holders.
post #7 of 51
The Mid-Atlantic Snow Time Inc. resorts (Whitetail, Liberty, Roundtop) have a learn to ski/board package that costs $50-$65. That's a beginners lesson, beginners lift, and rental. The package is guarenteed to have people turning, stoping, and riding a lift or money back.

Since it's been statistically shown it takes 3X (on ave.) to get someone hooked, we sweeten the deal. At the end of the lesson, the instructor gives them a voucher for a return trip. That's another regular lift, lesson, and rental package for the sum of $39. To keep them interested, we make them purchase it that day. When they come back they then get a free advantage card ($99 value) which gets them 40% off the rest of the season.

Snow time is really trying.....
post #8 of 51
1. Society is rapidly going soft.
2. We legislate and take away the fun\risk.
3. Skiing is so dang expensive.
4. Snobs and ego = ski marketing.
5. Money talks, real people walk.

post #9 of 51
i think it's a great idea to offer free-bies to new skiiers to entice them. it works well for the resort too! my friends just learning always sware by the places they learned at. i dunno why.

other things to consider: the U.S. population is on the rise big time. which means as overall population has increased, skiier population has decreased. bizarre? maybe.

how about an economic perspective: as the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. fewer and fewer families can afford skiing the way prices have sky rocked recently. i can name a dozen ski areas in new england that charge over $50 for a weekend. let's do some math for a singal day of skiing: $50 for tickets, $10 for food at mountain, and another $10 for dinner all times 4 for a four person family equals $280 for a singal day of skiing at a big resort! plus gas which will be $20 for those big ass stupid gas guzzling SUVs (only costs me $7 round trip for 250 miles in my beat up 94 saturn saden!). $300 for a family of four for one day?! ouch! how many family ski trips do you take a year on that budget?

there's the problem, families aren't getting as involved as they could because of price. my friends (20ish years old) who don't ski never will cause it's too hard for them. it's all about getting the kids up there.

i would be willing to bet most skiiers got involved through family, sometimes friends, and usually at a young age.

in any case, the average family is making less for doing more these days. and the average ski trip is insanely expensive unless you know where to go.

ideally, if the ski areas want to attract new blood, a day such as 2 fer the price of 1 if your friend is a newbie should be available at every area, everyday (even holiday). as long as they ski like a newbie and take a lesson, it means expert skiers like me can drag along newbies and snar them with a "well, it won't cost you anything the first few times to learn!"

plus, it gets current skiers to get their friends involved. most people won't give skiiner a shot unless someone else is there with them while they learn.
post #10 of 51
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the great ideas. RivercOil's (meaning???) bring a newbie 2-1 discount is terrific because it creates an opportunity for enthusiasts to convert newbies, while adding a new dimension to their relationship.

Bring it on, let's do some brainstorming: what is holding those potential skiers/boarders back and what would turn them on?

It's all not money, as someone has said, but how one prioritizes (to an extent--stats say the 20-somethings are the majority of cross country skiers, hmmm, wonder why?); but first it has to become a priority...
post #11 of 51
Three words:
post #12 of 51
Nolo – Growth in the sport is definitely needed, but I think your statement that the future of the sport is with families and children is only half correct. The future of the sport is with the youth.

I know a lot of people who have been skiing once or twice but didn’t pursue it because their friends don’t ski.

While family vacations to the snow are definitely an important cash injection for the industry it is those in their teens and twenties with the passion to put their lives on hold, move to a resort and work bumping chairs and fitting skis for minimum wage, who are the real soul of skiing. I am incredibly grateful for my parents teaching me to ski, but I ditched them as soon as I was able. I was seven when I first rode a chairlift alone, and twelve when I could out-ski my parents and didn’t bother waiting for them anymore. Since then I have spent four seasons in the industry, had three overseas ski trips and spent untold dollars on the sport. My parents havent skiied for years and I don’t tell my parents what I do anymore because they would worry too much.

The huge growth of snowboarding has been because of its innovative and young image. And very few snowboarders were introduced to the sport by their parents. They pursued it themselves because of its image and it is what their friends were doing. I think skiing is about to change its own image with the current revolution in the pipe and park, as well as backcountry jibbing. Almost all the innovators in skiing now are under thirty. Tanner Hall is 17, Candide Thovex is 19 and has his own signature model skis. Once we get past the conservative, elitist attitude and show that skiing is an exciting and fun sport, skiing will grow again.

And all the stuff oz said.
post #13 of 51
Merry Christmas Kiwi.

Give youth some slack and watch them create. I was one, one time and we did create what you got.

Oz [img]smile.gif[/img]

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ December 24, 2001 09:18 PM: Message edited 1 time, by man from oz ]</font>
post #14 of 51
One of the best things the resorts do is discount ski bus packages for the kids. They learn young and with their own group and they bring the parents/family in to feed their addiction. Win/Win
post #15 of 51
Just a couple of examples:
A couple I know from England went to Winter Park last year, and had contacted me through a web site for advice & info.
They told me they wanted to go to a different resort each year.
On arriving in WP the wife booked a 3 day lesson, and was told that by doin git, she could buy a season pass for this year for $95.
They mailed me when they got back to ask why I hadn't told them about the offer, but that was because WP didn't advertise it (at least not anywhere I could see), but it made their minds up that they would return to WP this year.
One very happy couple.

Example 2: Val d'Isere did a discount system based on how many times you visit. (I'm not sure if it is still in operation). Basically, if you have bought a lift ticket within the last 3 years, you'd get 5% discount off this years lift ticket. 2 within 5 years = 10%, and it went up to 20% discount.

I was introduced to skiing in my mid 20s by friends, and in Ireland, I think that is the most common way. There are school ski trips, but many people take it up after university. It's very expensive for a family from Ireland to go skiing, most of the flights to ski areas are from London, which costs around $200 per person to start off with. That prices many families out of the market. I believe that if the airlines would reduce prices, then you'd see more people on the slopes.

My 2 cents


Happy Christmas
post #16 of 51

the meaning behind 'riverc0il' is as follows. i was sitting at my desk 5 years ago trying to think up a username for an online video game 'Red Alert.' i looked out my window and saw the river which i was fond of, and i was half way there. c0il comes from a weapon in the video game called a 'Tesla Coil.' i substituted the o for a zero cause i'm a dork.

i think optimizing the "FUN" factor is the most important once you get the first timer there. keep them on easy terrain and get them having fun. i hear more horror stories from friends that tried it once and never will again... they always involve spending an hour on the beginner slopes, and then getting dragged down a square. then they say never again.

thinking on the money issue again, i don't think i thought it through fully in my last post. in addition to the lift tickets, food, and gas which i highlighted, also to be considered is ski gear. most people have specific gear for skiing: jacket, hat, gloves/mittens, neck warmer thingy, ski pants, thermals, goggles, etc. all gear that can't be used any where but skiing. add in boots/skis/poles/boards/bindings/etc., or rentals every time... and geez, i dunno how i afford it myself!!! haha.

think about it. counting all the ski gear you pack into your car everytime you go skiing, then add food, gas, and lift ticket. how much money is everything worth put together? i have $1,000 in skis/bindings/boots/poles (that is low cause the bindings were free, boots 10 years old, and $20 composite poles) plus i'd esstimate another $600 in clothing/warm gear. just for one person, my net worth on the slope approaches $2,000! lol.
post #17 of 51
I myself am a "product" of the Perfect Turn System. My husband bought me the 3 lesson lift/combo/lesson package, and he in turn received a free lift ticket.
And yes, I did get "hooked" on skiing.


Living in the Boston area means most ski trips involve lodging, and the good ones, as Stewart mentioned, involve air fare.

Even if you get your first lesson and lift ticket free, continuing to ski, consistantly, involves a high tolerance for credit card debt. This year, in a precarious economy, the idea of just taking off mid week is becoming less acceptable. With New England lift tickets sometimes as high as $60, and Vermont engaging in the unsavory practice of taxing lift tickets, tickets : combined with overpriced lodging and on mountain food, no matter what you give away the first day, retention may be questionable.

Needless to say, the mountains need to rethink their pricing policy. Here's an example: I believe that the price of the average 2 hour group lesson, about $35, is more than reasonable. But combine that with lift tickets and lodging, you are going a bit over the top. Raise the price of 2 hour lesson, pay the pro higher, give the lift ticket away for free.
post #18 of 51
Here's my 2 cents on this issue =)
This is geared towards more people just getting out there and skiing OR boarding, but hey...the more people that get out there, the more people skiing

Alot of smaller and less known resorts have great deals for skiers of all ages. A very good example in my mind is Sierra at Tahoe. Best bang for the buck in my opinion for the following reasons.

1. $99 for 6 lift tickets for college students
2. Free lessons offered 2 times a day, first come first serve
3. 3 hr backcountry tours for $25/person
4. $199 season pass
5. Family ski pack for $300 (includes ticket, semi private lesson, and equipment).

There's more too. But at the same time, I notice that many of the "famous" resorts don't really offer that much in terms of inexpensive packages. Heavenly doesn't offer too much in terms of value except a free hr on demo skis $10/hr thereafter. Neither does Kirkwood the last time i remember.

Another example of a small, but successful resort is Mt. High in Southern CA. Lift tickets are $39 and season passes at $199. They also offer great packages for learning skiers/snowboarders and such, and lesson prices aren't too exorbitant like other places. Almost any weekend you go there, they'll be sold out of tickets. A testament to getting more people on the mountain...more skiers too [img]smile.gif[/img]

I might be going off on a tangent, but most people I talk to haven't heard of either Sierra or Mt. High, but they've heard of the higher "tier" resorts like Squaw, Heavenly, and Jackson Hole. If those types of resorts could offer similar programs and packages as the smaller resorts do, I think more people would actually think about going out and try learning skiing and snowboarding because a well known resort is offering a great deal.

Though I might sound fanatical about Sierra, I think alot of resorts could learn alot from what Sierra at Tahoe has done for family oriented and beginner snowsporters as well as those that don't have as much $ as others. [img]smile.gif[/img]

What do you guys think?

post #19 of 51
Here in Dairyair we do just what you suggest. Tyrol Basin offers free first time lift, rentals and lesson at certain times. It does work. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #20 of 51
Thread Starter 

Sierra sounds like it's doing its part to rejuvenate the sport.

Can you tell me what the $25 three hour backcountry tour entails? Transportation, guide, instruction, other...?

Also, can you give more details on the Family Ski Pack for $300? What's a "ski pack?"

All good stuff! I'm taking notes.
post #21 of 51
Thread Starter 

How do we know that the Tyrol Basin free beginner package works? How long have they offered it? Do they keep statistics on returns?

I was thinking, with the recession, travel cutbacks, and January looking grim at some resorts, that a bunch of areas might use the down time to experiment with some novel approaches to fill their hill and keep their employees earning and eating.

I just received a promotional card from Copper for a special deal if I book by January 15. The sales pitch begins with a SNOW report: "You demanded great conditions and you got them. We've received over 5 feet of the whitest, fluffiest, Rocky Mountain powder..."

Do you know of other areas ramping up marketing efforts to get the skiers/boarders to come?

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ December 25, 2001 03:38 PM: Message edited 1 time, by nolobolono ]</font>
post #22 of 51
I called the ski patrol (who's running the backcountry thing) at Sierra at Tahoe 2 days ago. Basically what it is is what it sounds like. Sierra opened 5 backcountry gates this season (or was it last?) so basically, to get you started off you sign up for the backcountry tour for $25.

Here's the lowdown: They have 2 ski patrol guides. 3 people max for each ski patrol so it's limited to 6 ppl/tour. They require atleast 2 ppl tho. The first tour is from 8:00 to 11:30am and the second is from 12:30-4:00pm. They lend avalanche trancievers, and basic know-how of backcountry skiing. There's an on-snow test to see if you're eligible for the class. Backcountry etiquette, tranciever use, what to do if caught in an avalanche are some of the things that would be taught. And skiing/boarding in the backcountry [img]smile.gif[/img] The first tour would commence around Jan 1 or so due to permit issues and stuff.

The family ski pack, from what I can gather, includes the following:
1. $300 for up to 4 participants, one has to be 12 or younger.
2. 2 hour semi private lesson
3. Equipment
4. Beginner lift ticket

It's a good deal because it allows the family to ski/board/learn together, and the frustration of trying to teach your own kid how to ski or board is lessened [img]smile.gif[/img]

Check out Sierra at Tahoe for more specials and stuff. They have alot of great deals for families. They've been able to concentrate on just improving the resort with no $ spent on accomodations and such, so i think that's why they're able to offer great packages. I'm going there this week so I'll tell you about the quality of the free lesson if I can get to it [img]smile.gif[/img]

I'm sure there's other resorts out there doing similar things. If there are, if you guys could post details here, that'd be great [img]smile.gif[/img]

post #23 of 51
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the details, MelloBoy.

Do the groups on the backcountry tour ski back into the area boundaries at the bottom, is there a shuttle--i.e., how do they get back to home base?

Is the family ski pack for all abilities or just beginners? It works out to $75/person for lifts, lesson, and equipment, let's say $25 for each item--which doesn't seem like such a great deal, without factoring in the value of a semi-private group lesson. I think the semi's a neat deal, but demographics say there aren't a lot of family combos consisting of Ma, Pa, a Susie, and a Bob, so it may have limited appeal...

Just thinking out loud.

Also, the deal WTFT told us about is pretty smart:

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>On arriving in WP the wife booked a 3 day lesson, and was told that by doin git, she could buy a season pass for this year for $95.
They mailed me when they got back to ask why I hadn't told them about the offer, but that was because WP didn't advertise it (at least not anywhere I could see), but it made their minds up that they would return to WP this year.
One very happy couple. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Way to invite loyalty!
post #24 of 51
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Lisamarie:
Living in the Boston area means most ski trips involve lodging, and the good ones, as Stewart mentioned, involve air fare.

This year, in a precarious economy, the idea of just taking off mid week is becoming less acceptable.

With New England lift tickets sometimes as high as $60, and Vermont engaging in the unsavory practice of taxing lift tickets, tickets : combined with overpriced lodging and on mountain food, no matter what you give away the first day, retention may be questionable.

gotta disagree that most trips involve lodging if you live in the boston area. most resorts are within 3 hours of boston making it an easy drive each way for a day trip.

that should be a benefit for new england resorts having a metro area like boston within 3 hours of most resorts. it's an easy drive to get almost any where.

in my previous posts i was highly critical of pricing, maybe a bit too negative. one thing about new england skiing is that some of the best mountains are the cheapest! especially for learning: Gunstock, Black, Cannon, Waterville, and Ascutney come to mind as really cheap places to go that offer a great place to learn - all within 2 hours of boston.

frugal skiing is possible and i practice it. cannon, magic, jay, mrg, waterville, wildcat, burke, cranmore, black all offer great ticket prices, in my opinion, with low crowds and great skiing, often times better than resorts charging twice as much.

i say, just take a couple mid-week vacation days and get mid-week rates (and twofers) at some of the above mentioned resorts. it's a shame though these resorts are less known to newbies, so newbies probably pay the big bucks at the big mountains mid-week.

here's my ultra cheap ski plan for this year. february i am taking a week off from work, throwing the skis in the car, and doing mid-week skiing up route 100 for a week (magic, mrg, the bush, jay). find the cheapest lodging possible and eat out of a cooler as much as possible. if lodging is too expensieve, i have a warm sleeping bag and a comfy compact car! lol. i'm estimating my total cost for the week at $300-$400 for everything (including gas and food).
post #25 of 51
Actually, I should have clarified that having a greyhound makes trips that are even a 3 hour drive not a great idea. 6 hours travel, plus 4 hours skiing makes for a long time with no doggie walk!

We did discover Sunapee last year, which is a bit more reasonable and not too long a drive.

But even with a 2 hour drive, since the main issue of nolos thread was how to attract and retain new skiers, I find that its consistency that helps people learn faster. If a new skier makes the 2 or 3 hour drive on saturday, will they also feel up to doing it on Sunday. And as I mentioned earlier, midweek is not always an option for people.
Jay peak does rock, but its hardly a day trip. But if someone is willing to be up at 4:00 am, there's always the day trips from ski market and BSSC!
post #26 of 51
Actually, sierra has a great "open boundary" policy. Those gates at have been open for three years now, and you can go right through them anyway, even without a guide, if you so desire. If you do it right, you can follow some really nice lines, and still make it back to the chairlift. If not, you gotta hitchhike back up the access road to the resort.

Wow, c0il, small world. I grew up with the Merrimac flowing right outside my bedroom window. I learned how to ski at that very same 250 foot tall mountain you have in your backyard.
post #27 of 51
Wow! This topic was started yesterday and already has 25 posts. Well, I just came back on so I'm getting in late. I'm sorry, but I have to go all the way back to the original post for my reply.

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by nolobolono:
Here's the scenario. Snow sports are losing participation--alpine skiing has 40% less people playing in the sport since 1988; cross country skiing has -40% as well. Snowboarding, on the other hand, is up 258% since 1990. But the number of snowboarders was small in 1990, so even with that growth, overall, snowsports are down 15% in the last 15 years. Overall, we lose 1% a year.

When asked, "What is the greatest force in the universe?" Einstein answered, "Compound interest."

Anyway, compound interest is taking the 1% drop per annum in snow sports and making the deficit bigger and bigger each year.

The great thing about statistics is that you can take the same figures and twist them to make any number of completely different points. Your figures show that alpine sport participation is down since 1988, so you conclude that things are looking bad. Well, the stock market is WAY UP since 1988. Does that mean that things are absolutely fantastic for investors right now? How about showing us the stats for the past 5 years? They would be infinitely more relevant.

And as for your compound interest theory...that was pretty much pulled out of thin air too. You're taking a 15% drop over 15 years, and assuming 1% each year. But that's not the case. That number fluctuates every year. (One more stock market analogy coming) If you looked at the market over the past couple years, you would say: "Why does anyone invest when they are losing 20-30% every year?" But look at the same market since 1900 and you see that investors average a 7% gain every year.

Statistics are all about how you use them and how you interpret them, which is why they are almost always useless in a debate.
post #28 of 51
Wow! I never realized how good we have it here in the west. I started skiing through the Seattle Public Schools when I was in elementary school. It was great - we got on a bus, rode up with all our friends and skied the day away. Ski school students rec'd a discount on purchasing or renting equipment and lift tickets were included. Good deal. Kids could ski even if their parents didn't.

I believe we still have programs in our public schools and some private organizations such as the Elks and what not.

I know there is a ski shop in Bremerton that has a deal where the first year your kid skis you pay something like $200.00 for equipment but it must be used then the next year you get to upgrade to brand new equipment at a reduced price and so on and so on....

Here in Washington we have to drive a little further to our resorts than SLC - about 1.5hrs, but on the flip side we don't have to deal with snow in town which is good with all our hills. However it sounds like we still have a pretty good deal compared with the east.

I would be intersted to know the increase/decrease in skiing stats by region. Anyone have a reference for me?

On another note - the most common reason my friends give for not skiing anymore is knee injuries. I have at least half a dozen friends that have given up skiing due to knee surgery. The next most common reason is that they are transplants from warm climates and never learned as kids and don't want to start now.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ December 26, 2001 11:06 AM: Message edited 1 time, by Sugar Snack ]</font>
post #29 of 51
This thread sure has a lot of good ideas on it, but I think something has been missed here. The problem is that things have to change with culture shifts. Just like drive-in movies disappeared back in the early 70's, some of this ski mania has waned also. Many of the larger ski areas that do attract large numbers try to develop a 'party' atmosphere. ... That is all well and good for those who are looking for that type of thing, but the good old low profile ski area that is all about SKIING is what is needed to bring people back. The exorbitant overhead of the mega resorts would be gone, so the price would be right, and could be held that way. What cost us all those people is the 'war' that many of the bigger resorts have waged on each other in trying to be 'the best'. Eight dollar burgers on the mountain coupled with equipment and participation costs that can rival any other personal sport have sent the casually interested snow sports spectator the way of the dinosaur.

What we have is not going to fix itself. Just like mega economies have to do, the ski industry is going to have to go through some rough times and probably experience some business casualities before the opportunity arises for fiscal sanity to return to the sport. There are already dedicated visioniaries who realize this and are trying to correct things before there is a train wreck; but history indicates that what looks like a disaster will probably occur before we see truly meaningful results.

Just my two cents worth!! --- My short answer to this is --- Just let it go and everything will work out!

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ December 26, 2001 12:39 PM: Message edited 2 times, by feallen ]</font>
post #30 of 51
i'm really enjoying this topic... it seems quite relevent especially with today's economy. although slinging ideas on a message board probably won't get anything actually done to fix problems, it's great to see other people's points of view.

geoff: small world indeed. i spent my entire winters after school on bradford back when i was in middle/high school doing rec skiing and racing.

regarding feallen's comment about needing the older low profile ski resorts to make a come back: i low old school classic ski resorts. my favorites include wildcat, magic, and cannon in in new england, not a condo in sight from the summits.

however, i don't know if this is what would do it. the prices and skiing at these places are great! but most people look at them as small time ski areas because they don't offer all the flash.

i wonder why this is??? why do people drive by magic mountain en route to stratton, bromely, k-mart, etc. why drive by black or wildcat on their way to loon, attitash, sunday river, etc. those are old time classic skier's mountains, they are there, but they don't draw the crowd. people want to go to the big resort, pay the big bucks, and live the big resort ski fix for a day or a weekend, or a week. they want an all in one package and a resort catoring to them. people are lazy like that.

also, the big resorts are always packed aren't they? people are paying the bucks to ski the ASC's and IntraWest's resorts. the smaller, cheaper, classic ski mountains can be down right lonely places on a weekend sometimes.

also, look at recent resort closings, especially in N.E. just this year: Tenney, Temple, and Whaleback. Burke and Magic both shut down and re-opened recently. the old school, cheap, classic ski areas struggle. maybe a marketing problem? maybe the prices are just 'too' low. or maybe people just don't like the rugged, classic ski feel? maybe they enjoy the big resort feel and are willing to pay for it...
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