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Local Day Areas vs. Major Destination Resorts

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

So while discussing something in another forum, I thought about something, and decided to start an outrageously contentious, highly opinionated thread. The question I'm going to pose to start this poop storm is:

 

Which is more important to the North American skiing industry: Local Day Areas, or Major Destination Resorts?

 

Let the battle begin.       

post #2 of 18

I don't know what the controversy is?  I think there is a place for both.

JF

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

A place yes. But which is the more important place?

post #4 of 18

Important to the industry? It depends on the definition of the word "is." Assuming:

 

1 - by important to the industry, you are referring to revenue

2 - "major destination resorts" includes any area where a large percentage of skiers stayed in lodging on or near the mountain

 

Then I think it's very clear that destination resorts are more important to the industry. A million people a year visit Vail every year. I doubt 50,000 visit Cooper.

post #5 of 18

The question is not about a single ski area or resort, such as Vail.  It is about all local areas vs. all destination resorts.  I suspect that local areas attract more visitor days per season than destination resorts, but that doesn't mean that one is more important than the other.   They exist in symbiosis, each feeding the other.   If one was eliminated, the other would wither.  Many people go to local ski areas so that they can prepare for their big visit to the destination resort.  Those resorts depend on skiers from local areas.  It's a feedback loop, if you will.

 

In my region, the answer would be that the local areas are much more important.  For instance, if I had to choose which was more important to me, Mt. Baker or Whistler/Blackcomb, I would pick Baker for sure.  It's smaller, but closer, cheaper, and just as challenging as W/B. But from what I read on Epic, it seems that is not the case in other parts of the country.  So both are needed and neither is more important than the other.

post #6 of 18

I would guess that withoug the local ski areas there would be fewer big destination resorts.  I think it would be interesting to see how many mid-western skiers there would be if they didn't have local hills to learn on.  I don't think many people would be willing to drop thousands of dollars to take a trip to a big destination resort to try something like skiing for the first time.

post #7 of 18

They are both equally important.

 

The smaller areas feed into destination areas in two ways:

 

1.  They provide an introduction to the sport and a training ground for people who later move to the big areas.

 

2.  They deliver a good number of the occasional visitors, for a week-long or even a weekend trip,  to the destination resorts.

 

Without the small areas, there will simply be fewer opportunities for people to get started in the sport.  People won't just go straight to the destination resorts, they will more likely leave the sport altogether.

 

The destination areas complement the small areas perfectly.  They provide a change of pace and a new environment that maintains long-term interest in the sport.  They provide a challenge to look forward to, and a reason to get 20 days of training in at the small hill to make the big mountain experience more enjoyable.  They provide an opportunity for "cross-pollination" as people from many different regions meet in the major destination areas.

 

Without the destination areas, the local experience becomes a bit more limited.  The local hills become more insular, without the new ideas and even just the stories coming back from the large destinations.

post #8 of 18

I guess we need to see some hard numbers on total revenue from both types of ski areas to get a more definitive answer.  However, I can picture the sport surviving with only local day areas, I can't picture it surviving with only major destination resorts.

post #9 of 18

There were no big destination areas till there were regional areas.  A few of those little regional became some of the big dogs, but the regional areas are the bedrock of the sport. 

 

Just like in the rest of society though a lot of folks can not wait to move to the Big city/resort to visit or work.  A lot of those same people find their way back to the regionals after their spell in the bigs. 

 

Skiing would be a very different sport without a strong mix of the 2 groups.

post #10 of 18

As a midwest based skier I'd suggest like others above that both types of areas feed each other.  I look forward to regular trips to major resorts each season for many reasons including a break from trying to find a parking space at Buck Hill on weeknights.

post #11 of 18

seems like a flawed question, I don't there's a continegency of resorts that really cares too much what the other does (unless they are competing). each is independently owned or owns several different resorts, (VAIL, Intra, ETC) so they want as many skiers to come to thier own resorts.  I don't think there are any Major resorts that don't rely on both markets: local vs. tourists to make a profit. if any small local resorts go under or is distressed, I don't think there's a fund out there.....

post #12 of 18

There was a time when there were no destination resorts, and the the sport of skiing thrived.

post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Posaune View Post

The question is not about a single ski area or resort, such as Vail.  It is about all local areas vs. all destination resorts.  I suspect that local areas attract more visitor days per season than destination resorts, but that doesn't mean that one is more important than the other.   They exist in symbiosis, each feeding the other.   If one was eliminated, the other would wither.  Many people go to local ski areas so that they can prepare for their big visit to the destination resort.  Those resorts depend on skiers from local areas.  It's a feedback loop, if you will.

 

In my region, the answer would be that the local areas are much more important.  For instance, if I had to choose which was more important to me, Mt. Baker or Whistler/Blackcomb, I would pick Baker for sure.  It's smaller, but closer, cheaper, and just as challenging as W/B. But from what I read on Epic, it seems that is not the case in other parts of the country.  So both are needed and neither is more important than the other.

I think we are lucky in the Northwest. Almost all of our area's aren't "destination resorts" but we still get lots of amazing places to ski. Without the hassle of the crowds that you get at a lot of the Tahoe, Colorado, and Utah resorts.

 

post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by iWill View Post

There was a time when there were no destination resorts, and the the sport of skiing thrived.



Camp Hale was the first "destination" Ski resort in Colorado.

post #15 of 18

I think the Winter X Games would suck and be boring at a small local resort.

post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by iWill View Post

There was a time when there were no destination resorts, and the the sport of skiing thrived.



Personally, the non-destination resorts are more important to me. If I never ski Heavenly or Deer Valley again, I'll be as happy as a clam.

 

I prefer the low key-no ego vibe of the smaller hills.

 

post #17 of 18

As would the winter Olympics if conducted at undeveloped resort with no proper infrastructure
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FujativeOCR View Post

I think the Winter X Games would suck and be boring at a small local resort.


 

post #18 of 18

Not me.  Although I personally agree on Heavenly, in recent times, I've tried to enjoy all resorts equally.  They all have something to offer in some way or another.  I visited 18 different hills this past winter ranging from the small...Badger Pass, to the large, Heavenly.  I got some good memories out of both of them and also from everywhere I went in between.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr5150 View Post





Personally, the non-destination resorts are more important to me. If I never ski Heavenly or Deer Valley again, I'll be as happy as a clam.

 

I prefer the low key-no ego vibe of the smaller hills.

 

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