Pretty darn bad! Look at this guy: he is practically giving skis away! What a schmuck!
We have been hit especially hard in Oregon. Mt. Bachelor is doing the first promotion I can remember in years: $29 tickets Tues-Wed-Thurs, or a $29 buddy pass any day excluding Saturday. In the past, the ONLY promotion I can remember them running was 2001/2002 and 2002/2003 for a $35 pass on Tuesdays, with a $20 buy-in. The mountain has simply been empty (so I have heard, no skiing for 2 more weeks according to my PT guy).
I do have to say that much of the ski industry has brought this on themselves. For years, they have been marketing real estate and "exclusivity" at their resorts, pushing away middle-class customers with high prices. Decent gear isn't exactly cheap either: a good pair of high-end skis purchased back in 1994 would run you $500 w/binding (at least what I paid for my Sollie 9s w/bindings, their high-end all mountain slalom) which correlates to around $720 in today's dollars. Yet, most high end skis are $1000-1200 w/binding at retail. Sure, they ski better, but computers and cars have improved much over the past 15 years and not increased much beyond the rate of inflation. Lift tickets have become sky-high. Sure, grooming and lifts have gotten better, but they weren't exactly bad when I started skiing in the late 80's. I know hardly anyone who needs a high speed lift because they are skiing top to bottom all day long with no breaks. And, the teaching situation is abysmal: instead of getting people skills so that they can grow, improve, and become more interested in the sport, ski areas try to take as much revenue out of the ski schools as possible. Lessons aren't affordable and often the level of instruction isn't what it should be.
Skiing is competing with too many other recreation opportunities, and the general tendency of Americans to be less active. It is foolish to go after a select group of customers while ignoring the general population and their future customer base. Golf may soon find themselves in the same boat: all of those high-end courses that play at $200/round and clubs that sell for $1500/set to hacks who can't break 90, let along 78, may find themselves with a diminished customer base. Central Oregon is becoming littered with high-end destination resorts that have $600,000 lots for sale that won't sell, and a big-name attached course that nobody can afford to play. Just like the mountain that (until last week) was charging $256 for a day's worth of lift tickets for a family of 4, not to mention lodging, gas, meals, rentals....It adds up. I don't blame people for skiing less.
Unfortunately, you could have the same thread regarding many industries. I am sure some of will be having the same conversation over on weight weenies when the bike season kicks up. A few years ago, a Colnago C40 could be had for around $2600 new (frame/fork). Now, expect to pay around $5500 for the current C50, or a Pinarello Prince, or any other "Fatta in Italia" high-end frame. Sure, bikes ride well, but the rate of 15%/year inflation we were seeing in the bike industry just isn't sustainable. Most people aren't going to pay $9500 for a top-end bike outfitted with good components: $600 Super Record shifters just don't offer any performance advantage over $300 Chorus or Centaur.