Originally Posted by MattL
I'm wondering if the baggage fee have boosted performance rentals/demos and if shops in general 1) have a good selection available 2) have been able to keep up with demand if the rentals have surged 3) will I be able to get powder skis on a powder day (a problem in the past)?
My experience is purely anecdotal, so take the stuff below for what it's worth.
Worked last season selling condos/flights/lessons/rentals/lifts for Keystone, so I ran into questions like these fairly often. For folks flying, the cost of baggage fees made a difference, but mostly because it made them grumpy. They brought their own skis anyway and complained about the cost, which as you've seen, can be significant, especially since airlines typically classify skis as "oversize." I can count on one hand the number of people who indicated that baggage fees had interested them in demo-ing equipment, out of 100 or so flights.
The vast majority, however, (this being Kestone, of course) rented skis because they didn't own them, and the median skier flying to Keystone simply doesn't need anything better than the Apache Recons in the stock rental fleet. At resorts that draw more proficient skiers, I imagine more people will own their own skis and face decisions about fees, but I think that on the whole, the fly-to-ski crowd doesn't ski enough to justify purchasing their own equipment. Point being, I don't think baggage fees have had much of an impact on the demo fleet.