Two numbers at issue:
- number of annual "skier" visits
- number of snow sports participants
The number of annual visits has been relatively flat for 30 years. (Say mid 50 million on average), which in itself is not encouraging, but steady if nothing else. http://www.nsaa.org/nsaa/press/historical-visits.pdf
The number of participants is declining.
Since recruting new participants doesn't net out positive, the logical interpretation is that those who do participate slide more to offset the decline.
Any survey or industry consultant opinion is subject to question, but the information is in line with SAM, NSAA, SIA, and other reports I’ve seen.I’d challenge any analysis (Mr. Berlin’s) that didn’t at least mention economic factors as a component, but I also don’t subscribe to the theory that the cost of skiing is THE reason for ski/snowboard attrition. When most stadiums across the country are filled to capacity with families paying $100+ per person to watch a football/baseball game for 2-4 hours, or $12-$18 each on average for a 90 minute movie, or the number of high ticket revenue music concerts taking place, the lack of money argument is diminished. It is a choice of how the available entertainment dollars are being spent and what is more highly valued. Obviously spending 8 hours in the cold sliding down a hill is not as attractive as other activities. Many people spend the bulk of their entertainment dollars on warm weather activities and winter loses out. Personally I think skiing is a good value compared to the options listed … however, that doesn’t make it inexpensive. Lisamarie’s post regarding an increase in older skiers might be partly explained by economic factors – those people having had a lifetime to accumulate more wealth and having more free time as family obligations subside.The past few day’s financial markets are heavily impacting just about everyone. Doubt anyone really knows how it will fall out.
**Forgot to note that I recall seeing that twin tip sales were up over 180% in the past year or two. Don't recall the report, but is was an equipent sales report. Boards were lower on that report IIRC. Doesn't necessarily equate to each pair of twin tips sold bumps a snowboard off the snow ... buyer may own and use both.