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Just how bad is the ski business this year? - Page 4

post #91 of 103

Last year was a great one by all accounts.  But we had more snow last year too.

 

I think there is the warm high pressure effect that's been going on too.  Day after the dump Alta was pretty ripped up.  Well two days after it was.  So it depends and if we get more snow I'd bet things shape up for many areas as far as ticket sales.  Dunno about week-long stuff though and I wouldn't be surprised if things are down due to economy.

 

post #92 of 103

Pretty darn bad!  Look at this guy: he is practically giving skis away!   What a schmuck! 

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/80172/ski-sale-2009-s-up-to-60-off-end-of-season-sale-from-dawgcatching

 

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.   

post #93 of 103

Dawg

 

right on!

 

Mike

post #94 of 103

Bad here, Snow Creek in Weston,Missouri. Weather has not helped, nearly 70 one day then 9 the next. Shifts and pay have both been cut. I went to our sister area in Saint Louis yesterday and they are not feeling nearly the losses we have noticed.  

post #95 of 103

Dead on the money...

 

The mountain biking industry wonders why the rapid growth it experienced through the 90's came to a rapid close(road biking, of course, is in vogue now, so they've decided to stick it to everybody) - I stopped mountain biking competitively in 2001, and now that I have to pay for components, I'm appalled by how expensive everything has become, and always think about the new young guys, and how it has become more difficult due to the cost of entry.

 

Same with skis...

 

Being a racer, life is good - you either don't have to buy anything, or you get it for nothing... but if you're one of the majority who are recreational participants, it's insulting - especially if at one point you were in the 'racer' category.

 

I know prices will rise, but there's a difference between passing along higher input costs, and selling hype.

 

 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post

Pretty darn bad!  Look at this guy: he is practically giving skis away!   What a schmuck! 

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/80172/ski-sale-2009-s-up-to-60-off-end-of-season-sale-from-dawgcatching

 

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.   

 

post #96 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoreCowbell View Post

Dead on the money...

 

The mountain biking industry wonders why the rapid growth it experienced through the 90's came to a rapid close(road biking, of course, is in vogue now, so they've decided to stick it to everybody) - I stopped mountain biking competitively in 2001, and now that I have to pay for components, I'm appalled by how expensive everything has become, and always think about the new young guys, and how it has become more difficult due to the cost of entry.

 

Same with skis...

 

Being a racer, life is good - you either don't have to buy anything, or you get it for nothing... but if you're one of the majority who are recreational participants, it's insulting - especially if at one point you were in the 'racer' category.

 

I know prices will rise, but there's a difference between passing along higher input costs, and selling hype.

 

Don't even get me started on the mountain bike industry  Marzocchi moves their production to Taiwan, has a rash of QC issues on suspension forks that retail for $900 that last 2 months before ceasing to function, and then take another 2 months to warranty the darn thing.  Forks that cost $900, or frames that cost $1500-2500, brakes that cost $300, shouldn't have warranty issues.  And it isn't the companies that have to deal with the angry customer, it is me, the retailer.  Rear shocks from Fox seem to have a 1 in 7 failure rate these days.  Imagine if new cars sold had a 1 in 7 failure rate for their suspension, and the customer had to park the car for 3 weeks while waiting for the shock to be replaced under warranty?  Well, that is more than commonplace in the mountain bike world: if you ride, and don't want to hang up your wheels while your shock dies a month after you purchased it, you had better have a "backup" $300 shock on hand. 

 

Riding is supposed to be about having fun, not dealing with gear that isn't reliable and costs an arm and a leg Maybe that is why I had so much fun on my singlespeed this year.  No wonder that cycling continues to be a white, upper-middle class sport in this country (hey, just like another sport I know) whereas in Europe, racers have traditionally been from working-class or farm backgrounds.

post #97 of 103

Dawg,

 

You really nailed this.  I 've been thinking for 5 years that the $100 daily lift ticket is on its way....how imuch s Aspen this year...$94?  Every year, withouth fail, tickets go up at least $5...it really is cost prohibitive.  At least pro sports teams (like the Red Sox, for instance) recognize that the economy will impact their business and they announced that they will not raise ticket prices this year.  Ski resorts seem oblivious and I have to believe there is a point at which people will simply no longer pay.  I only make it work b/c of economies of scale (season pass etc) and, otherwise, couldn't afford to do this sport I love.  I just saw the first round of 09 gear starting to go on sale (Evogear) but I expect this is only the beginning.  With consumer spending dropping, I expect gear will go on even bigger discounts toward the end of the year with consumers holding on to their wallets.  I really don't feel sorry for the ski resorts, i hope this is a wake up call for home much the gouge the consumer.  I'm certainly not happy about all the suffering this bad economy is happening but I do hope it will know some sense into resort operators.

post #98 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by locknload View Post

Dawg,

 

You really nailed this.  I 've been thinking for 5 years that the $100 daily lift ticket is on its way....how imuch s Aspen this year...$94?  Every year, withouth fail, tickets go up at least $5...it really is cost prohibitive.  At least pro sports teams (like the Red Sox, for instance) recognize that the economy will impact their business and they announced that they will not raise ticket prices this year.  Ski resorts seem oblivious and I have to believe there is a point at which people will simply no longer pay.  I only make it work b/c of economies of scale (season pass etc) and, otherwise, couldn't afford to do this sport I love.  I just saw the first round of 09 gear starting to go on sale (Evogear) but I expect this is only the beginning.  With consumer spending dropping, I expect gear will go on even bigger discounts toward the end of the year with consumers holding on to their wallets.  I really don't feel sorry for the ski resorts, i hope this is a wake up call for home much the gouge the consumer.  I'm certainly not happy about all the suffering this bad economy is happening but I do hope it will know some sense into resort operators.

Speaking of gear sales and "needing to make stuff go away", did you see my sale thread? I don't think I have ever run prices this low, at least not until April, but hey, got bills to pay and wallets have been pretty much closed all season.  Unfortunately, the retailer is really hurt by this price escalation. I would rather sell 10 pair of skis at $700 rather than 4 pair at $1000.  10 skiers buy more accessories than 4 skiers, and bring more enthusiasm to the store. Also, 10 skiers have more friends than 4 skiers do. When resorts push up ticket prices, it results in a diminished customer base, which again hurts us.  Our business is tied to that of the ski industry: if the resorts are making bad moves, shops will suffer or go out of business, no matter how good they are.  

 

Some are doing it right: at the local hill, Hoodoo (1100 feet vertical, 5 lifts) they have fixed prices at $42/day for adults, and that is holiday pricing.  You can get a 5-punch pass (good for 5 tickets anytime, including 9am-8pm marathon session) for $165, or $33/ticket  Tightwad Tuesdays (around $18) are another way to get skiers on the hill.  These guys making skiing affordable, and although the lifts are all fixed-grip quads, they work fine (unlike Bachelor, which is notorious for getting stuck on a lift) and I get plenty of vertical there. Grooming is better than Bachelor. The owner isn't a big corporation, he is just a guy who loves skiing and wants to get people on the hill while turning a reasonable profit.  I have no idea why this isn't a more common business model.  $94 lift tickets? Simply ridiculous.  At least with the real estate bubble bursting, it may bring resorts to the realization that they are in business to get skiers on the hill, not prospective real estate investors.   A silver lining perhaps....

post #99 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post
 

Some are doing it right: at the local hill, Hoodoo (1100 feet vertical, 5 lifts) they have fixed prices at $42/day for adults, and that is holiday pricing.  You can get a 5-punch pass (good for 5 tickets anytime, including 9am-8pm marathon session) for $165, or $33/ticket  Tightwad Tuesdays (around $18) are another way to get skiers on the hill.  These guys making skiing affordable, and although the lifts are all fixed-grip quads, they work fine (unlike Bachelor, which is notorious for getting stuck on a lift) and I get plenty of vertical there. Grooming is better than Bachelor. The owner isn't a big corporation, he is just a guy who loves skiing and wants to get people on the hill while turning a reasonable profit.  I have no idea why this isn't a more common business model.  $94 lift tickets? Simply ridiculous.  At least with the real estate bubble bursting, it may bring resorts to the realization that they are in business to get skiers on the hill, not prospective real estate investors.   A silver lining perhaps....

That's right. I'm one of those who got pushed away some years ago by the sky-rocketing lift ticket prices. I stopped going to downhill resorts. I just focus on x-c skiing which trail fees don't cost even close to lift tickets. Not to mention I can ski in the woods for no cost!

 

When I decided to get back into lift-served resorts, I mainly go to smaller hills. I set my limit on lift tickets: $50/day is the max. I made exceptions when I go to more out of way places like Epic Gatherings because I only do one/two week a year. And even then, I try my best to skip the ones with expensive lift tickets, or only go there when I can find deals. I even gone over to ski in Europe, for simply the lower priced lift tickets offsets the extra air fare!!! 

 

And I'm slowly getting into telemark. Not because it's "cool" but because I can then skin uphill and thumb my nose at the $100 lift tickets!!! Oh and the side benefit? I don't have to worry about being crashed into by someone going too fast on those expensively groomed-too-smoothly snow!!!


Edited by at_nyc - Wed, 04 Feb 09 04:58:57 GMT
post #100 of 103

I am not in Snow Managment at these ski areas----small hills meant for skiing, not real "resorts", but in my view....they are doing quite well.

 

Skiliberty, SkiRoundtop and Whitetail---all in Pa.     All within an hour of DC or Baltimore.

 

 

Lots of beginners---really excellent learn to ski packages that keep folks coming back for free lessons.

 

399 season pass to all three areas.

 

 

post #101 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post

At least with the real estate bubble bursting, it may bring resorts to the realization that they are in business to get skiers on the hill, not prospective real estate investors.   A silver lining perhaps....

I certainly hope so.  You've made some wonderful posts on this subject, thank you for taking the time to share your perspective...I hope many folks come to understand it and put into motion the kind of change you speak of.

post #102 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by locknload View Post

Dawg,

 

You really nailed this.  I 've been thinking for 5 years that the $100 daily lift ticket is on its way....how imuch s Aspen this year...$94?  Every year, withouth fail, tickets go up at least $5...it really is cost prohibitive.  At least pro sports teams (like the Red Sox, for instance) recognize that the economy will impact their business and they announced that they will not raise ticket prices this year.  Ski resorts seem oblivious and I have to believe there is a point at which people will simply no longer pay.  I only make it work b/c of economies of scale (season pass etc) and, otherwise, couldn't afford to do this sport I love.  I just saw the first round of 09 gear starting to go on sale (Evogear) but I expect this is only the beginning.  With consumer spending dropping, I expect gear will go on even bigger discounts toward the end of the year with consumers holding on to their wallets.  I really don't feel sorry for the ski resorts, i hope this is a wake up call for home much the gouge the consumer.  I'm certainly not happy about all the suffering this bad economy is happening but I do hope it will know some sense into resort operators.


 

What I am amazed at is CO lift ticket rates.  $90+/day is f&*^ng crazy.  Hey, I know it cost a lot of money to run these resorts, but how can you continue to justify $25-40/day more than a neighboring state like UT resorts?

 

Utah lift tickets can be had discounted normally for $55/day.  Yeah, I know, the skiing sucks in Utah, that is why I keep going back there every year.

 

It seems CO is leading the way with the insane pricing.  I think they are going to be victims of their own doing with all the Aspen/Vail hype and media. Celebrities owning big properties, selling their own high priced properties and so forth.  The mystique...OOOOooooo.

 

I might not be taking the family back to CO again.  It isn't much further to Utah from my location, and the savings of hundreds of dollars for a trip of 4 people adds up.  Either that, or skimp on the accomodations a bit more and food costs.

 

 

post #103 of 103

Skiing has never been a "cheap" sport but I do think for Joe Average it is becomming tougher to make it a family affair.

Lady Salina and I have skiied for meny years (me more then her cause I.m alot older ,wink wink) We have skied together since we met (28 years ago for me and alot less for her wink wink) .As friends of my family own a ski area in Ont we use to get out a lot at this resort, we moved from that area and started paying more for skking but always seemed to find deals on equipment and lift tickets (Blue mountain Ont use to have a season night pass for 29$!! Big baby and O Hill only) Not making alot of cash back then we use to look for deals on trips and could always find one or drive somplace for less cash. Now at some point kids started showing up in the house ( A total of 2 ) Ticket price and equipment costs started raising and now we had 4 to get to the hill. So whats a smart family do to afford to keep skiing? The mom and dad get certified as instructors and get pro deals and free lifts for the family (usually 1 didn't have lessons if the other did and if we both did there where a lot of young ski instructor girls more then happy to ski with the kids,(so cute hehe) As the kids grew and again we changed location for "other work reasons" our dynamics changed a bit but basically we would be at the hill 3 nights and 1 day on the weekend minimum.Afew years ago Lady Salina and I decided that too much detection and correction of each others skiing was a bit too much, so we started skiing more for fun and paying more. This really wasnt a big problem as we both earned a bigger wage and decieded this is the place to spend our household income. Now as we see prices rising again and our income changing again in these tough economic times we are skiing less then we would like to and spending less on equipment then we would like to. I guess what my point is we have always been a couple that truely love to ski and have always found away to get our fix but it is getting harder for us who truely love to ski, what makes the resorts think the normal family will choose to spend all the family extra income to learn to ski??

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