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Resorts bracing for a slow season?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Do you think the resorts are bracing themselves for a slow ski season due to the economy, gas prices etc.? Is your local resort offering any deals to try to boost business? Ours has cut season pass prices by about $200 for early birds and allow you to pay in 3 installments.
post #2 of 29
Oh, I definitely think it'll have an effect.

See this article:
http://industryreport.mountainnews.c...n_out_of.shtml

It's fairly skimpy on details, but does address a few things.

I think the biggest problem will be the higher airline costs. Have you looked at airfares recently? They're getting pretty hefty. That tends to translate directly into lower group business. I really don't think it'll affect day trippers at all - higher gas prices really haven't seemed to lead to less driving, just more bitching about gas prices.

And really it comes down to snow, despite what the marketing departments would like to believe. Have a good snow year, and revenue will be up and it's as simple as that.

(I feel sorry for your pass folks - installment plans on passes are nothing but a bunch of headaches.)
post #3 of 29
I'm thinking resort employees will get hurt the most. And maybe resorts might lose part-time employees as it's no longer worth it to drive up for a few hours work.
post #4 of 29
Regular is back down to $3.60 in some areas - even lower in others. It will have some effect, but as big if it continues to back off.

The economy is hurting middle America. Yes, it will cause families to juggle priorities.

The Euros are coming. USA is cheap, cheap, cheap. Well... as long as the exchange rates don't change.
post #5 of 29
One of the local ski clubs here justed posted prices for 3 trips out West. The prices are cheaper than last year, and i think it's because hotels are concerned about airfares and a recession. even the Canadian trip was inexpensive, but apparently they passed on their annual European trip.
OTOH I know they haven't locked in airfares yet, so they might be in for a big surprise when they actually buy the tickets.

BK
post #6 of 29
I think the rise in gas prices is more psychological than anything else... I'm going on a road trip this weekend, and calculated that my gas costs will be about $10 more than last year. It's an increase, but it's hardly going to stop me from going.

Airlines are a different story.... the airfare increases are more than just jet fuel costs.

But yeah...as others have mentioned, have a good snow year, and the costs to get there will be irrelivant. When you look around and you see powder everywhere, it makes you want to go skiing...even if you've never done it before .
post #7 of 29
FWIW- I was contacted last month by our Steamboat properties to see if I had my weeks reserved as they had seen an early uptick in reservations for the season.
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay31 View Post
I think the rise in gas prices is more psychological than anything else...
Nobody here lives near the mountain - the closest "town" is 30 miles away, and most of us live down near the city - 56 miles away.

At 50 miles each way = $16 per trip. For 60 trips that's over $900 versus $450 a few years ago. The extra $450 = no more traveling to other ski areas.

That's not psychological. That's very real.
post #9 of 29
I think the local resort hotels will see an increase in business cause it is becoming more cost effective to take multi day trips and stay overnight than drive 180 miles + for several one day trips. Last year gas from my house to the mountians and back was about $60.00. Now it is more like $85.00. I could stay overnight for that so one two day trip now looks more attractive than two one day trips.

Also, a tour bus from Raleigh/Durham running Saturdays and Sundays to the Smokeys would be a product offering I'd definatley be interested in. There used to be one in the 80s when I lived on Long Island.
post #10 of 29
I know I saw it above, but can you say "Euro shopping spree". The foreign tourist are flocking.
post #11 of 29
It's cheap for Euros when we get to the US, but it's expensive to get there. The "economic downturn" (aka recession) and rise in gas prices are really hitting home here too.
This time last year I was spending about $500 a month on gas. Last month it was over $900. That extra $400 has to come from somewhere. Next season I'll manage 1 week in America, not sure if it will be any more. That's in contrast to 4 weeks in the US 2 years ago!
post #12 of 29
Finndog, I hope you're right but I just don't believe it.
According to today's news July car travel miles were down nearly 5% from July 2007. The same article noted there had been steady but smaller monthly declines since last fall.
I agree that it's got to have an impact. My Christmas 2008 air fares will be double Christmas 2007. The regular ticket price did not double but there are fewer deals and more add-on fees so the overall cost of air fare doubled.
My guess is we've heard a lot of talk about the impact of the "recession" for several months. Now we're going to really see the effects of it in our everyday lives. I think we're in for a tough 24 months.
post #13 of 29
Well, we have no market for Euro travelers, the canadian dollar is slumping a bit, everyone has to drive to get to the mountain, all our chairlifts are diesel powered, as is the on-site power generation. I expect prices to be up and skier visits to be down.

Other than that I expect a great season.
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryMorgan View Post
...and skier visits to be down.
All the better for the die hard skiers that don't let money take away from time skiing. Shorter lift lines probably too. Of course its easy for me to say when I don't have a family to support.
post #15 of 29
This year, I will buy only 1 season's pass (The Can.). I will forego an Alta Silver Card (the price of gas is just too high to make a lot of trips down to the valley), but try to buy a six or 10 pack to Snowbird, if avail., at BYU. The only reason for the Snowbird tix. is that it stays open until atleast Memorial Day.
post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveturner View Post
My Christmas 2008 air fares will be double Christmas 2007. The regular ticket price did not double but there are fewer deals and more add-on fees so the overall cost of air fare doubled.
It seems as though Alaska Airlines are hanging on to the lower fares. I just booked a round trip flight from Seattle to LAX for $179 taxes in for an early November trip to Disneyland. I was expecting it to be 400-500.
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveturner View Post
Finndog, I hope you're right but I just don't believe it.
According to today's news July car travel miles were down nearly 5% from July 2007. The same article noted there had been steady but smaller monthly declines since last fall.
I agree that it's got to have an impact. My Christmas 2008 air fares will be double Christmas 2007. The regular ticket price did not double but there are fewer deals and more add-on fees so the overall cost of air fare doubled.
My guess is we've heard a lot of talk about the impact of the "recession" for several months. Now we're going to really see the effects of it in our everyday lives. I think we're in for a tough 24 months.
Steve, check out flights for yourself, I have checked and most are not that much different from last year. Although times are bad for many, the media is hyping a lot. If it is all true, the good news will be more freshies......

Just ran January 17-24, Newark, NJ to SLC (utah) 338 non stop, r/t. Same as last season.
post #18 of 29
I think it is one of the reasons that Vail Resorts came up with the Epic pass- not only is it more expensive to get to the mountain, but as WTFH pointed out, people are having to spend more for non-skiing driving (and other things) which affects some peoples ski budget.
post #19 of 29
Last season Sunday River and Sugarloaf reported record breaking skier visits.

Last season we had near record breaking snowfalls.

It's anyone's guess what this season may or may not bring. I think it has more to do with snowfall than the economy.

Footnote.....I just paid $3.69/gallon for fuel here in central Maine.
post #20 of 29
3.69 in west central NJ too. Your point about the weather is very true. I think part of the increase at steamboat is the record snowfall last season as well.
post #21 of 29
I think it depend totally on where the resort is located and what type of skier frequents said resort.

I can see remote resorts frequented by vacationers taking a hit, but resorts like the SLC areas and/or resorts frequented by skiers who will spend the extra $$ regardless being business as usual. I know that I'm sure as hell not planning on curtailing my skiage.
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jer View Post
I think it depend totally on where the resort is located and what type of skier frequents said resort.

I can see remote resorts frequented by vacationers taking a hit, but resorts like the SLC areas and/or resorts frequented by skiers who will spend the extra $$ regardless being business as usual. I know that I'm sure as hell not planning on curtailing my skiage.
+1
post #23 of 29
I'll bet that Smugglers' Notch is barely affected. Although it does attract many locals (and I mean, really local), it's basically a destination resort. The people who've afforded to come to America's Family Resort will continue to do so. The 2008/2009 ski season at Smuggs will be fantastic!
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by oboe View Post
I'll bet that Smugglers' Notch is barely affected. Although it does attract many locals (and I mean, really local), it's basically a destination resort. The people who've afforded to come to America's Family Resort will continue to do so. The 2008/2009 ski season at Smuggs will be fantastic!

I think it could hurt Mad River Glen. It's a working man's mountain and you have to travel to get there unless you live in the valley.

I also think Killington could experience a squeeze. They have a big day tripper crowd and many people are feeling the economy in the northeast.

Maybe Killington will lower their prices once in a while this season.
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post
I think it could hurt Mad River Glen. It's a working man's mountain and you have to travel to get there unless you live in the valley.

I also think Killington could experience a squeeze. They have a big day tripper crowd and many people are feeling the economy in the northeast.

Maybe Killington will lower their prices once in a while this season.
The folks I meet at MRG aren't "blue collar". It may be laid back, but "working man's mountain"? You may be right, of course, but it just hasn't been my experience there, and I'm hard pressed to believe that the members of the co-op are swinging pick axes for a living.
post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post
I also think Killington could experience a squeeze. They have a big day tripper crowd and many people are feeling the economy in the northeast.

Maybe Killington will lower their prices once in a while this season.

I doubt it. The present management strikes me as being quite inflexible. The way they managed their opening & closing schedules, lift schedules, and pricing last season would have done the Soviet politburo proud.
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by oboe View Post
The folks I meet at MRG aren't "blue collar". It may be laid back, but "working man's mountain"? You may be right, of course, but it just hasn't been my experience there, and I'm hard pressed to believe that the members of the co-op are swinging pick axes for a living.
There is plenty of money at MRG. Most are share holders and season pass holders. But there are lots of locals who chose MRG and they are by no means wealthy. The $35 week day ticket attracts the average joe.

Weather is the greatest threat to Mad Rivers's bottom line.
post #28 of 29
The Summit Daily just had a front page story about this...jist was that good snow helps, but that some are worried about the economy...
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beric in Whistler View Post
It seems as though Alaska Airlines are hanging on to the lower fares. I just booked a round trip flight from Seattle to LAX for $179 taxes in for an early November trip to Disneyland. I was expecting it to be 400-500.
Depends were you want to fly and when.
The wife wanted to go on vacation recently and the cheapest airfare where I could trade a timeshare week was in Cabo. I had a coupon, so it was $500 each round trip on Alaska. Other people I spoke to paid $700 round trip each In the past the most I paid was $360 for that flight.
Still good deals to SLC from San Diego on Delta this winter. I think I saw $230 round trip.
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