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September 14, 2007

Helmet and Season Pass Use (h/t First Tracks)

This from FTO regarding helmet and season pass usage:

Among the most prominent trends noted in the 2007 National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) National Demographic Study is the continued aging of the visitor base, with strong growth in skiers and snowboarders aged 45 and older. The fact that older participants are being retained in the sport in significant numbers is a welcome trend for the ski industry, while at the same time raising concerns about introducing the next generation to the sport.

The average age of participants has risen steadily from 33.2 in 1997-98 to 36.6 in 2006-07. Specifically, since 1997-98, the proportion of visitors aged 45 to 54 has increased from 14.0 percent to 19.4 percent; the proportion of visitors aged 55 to 64 has almost doubled from 4.6 percent to 9.4 percent; and the proportion of visitors aged 65 and older has also almost doubled, from 2.4 percent to 4.2 percent.

Age differences across different regions of the U.S. are dramatic. The Midwest has the youngest visitor base with a median age of 22, followed by the Southeast at 28, Pacific West at 32, Rocky Mountains at 39 and the Northeast at 40.

This year’s study also indicates a continued increase in helmet usage. Overall, 40 percent of survey respondents were wearing a helmet when interviewed, up from 38 percent last season and 25 percent in 2002-03.

Season pass usage also continues to rise. Thirty-one percent of respondents owned a season pass this season, up from the 26 to 29 percent levels during the prior five seasons.

First, I am a huge proponent of helmet usage. I like my grape. My kids wear helmets. I make them. They have never really skied without one, so it becomes second nature. And with the cool helmets now days and the add-ons like my Skull Candy ear phones, skull caps, and so forth, I actually prefer having my helmet to the years and years of wearing a hat.

It is also good that the sport is retaining older skiers. These folks buy real estate, spend more, and usually are bringing their kids skiing with them, helping the long term viability of the sport. And folks are skiing enough and resorts are pricing passes like the Colorado Pass low enough that folks view season passes as a good investment.

All of these trends are positive for the sport.

Posted by Justin at September 14, 2007 08:55 AM