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January 08, 2009

Not All Bad News - Economy Not Hurting Skier Visits As Much As Thought

First Tracks brings more economic info about the industry:

Reports recently released from U.S. ski areas confirm what a previous study indicated: that skiers and snowboarders continue to hit the slopes in strong numbers despite current economic conditions, as long as conditions remain snowy. According to the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), a random survey of several dozen ski areas nationwide revealed that skiers and riders showed up in numbers similar to last season's holiday period, and in some cases, in record numbers. Some resorts are reporting visits up 40 percent over last year's Christmas holiday period. ..

Visits also appear to be strong in the West, with Colorado's Arapahoe Basin, Powderhorn and Winter Park all reporting record-setting days. Vail Resorts, owner of Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Vail Mountain, and California's Heavenly Resort, said it planned to release visitation numbers later in the week. In Utah, Park City reports visits tracked on pace with last year, thanks in part to its accessibility to an international airport. In California, Mountain High, just outside of L.A., reports visits up more than 40 percent over last year. Meanwhile Mammoth Mountain reports that while it went into the holiday period behind last year's figures, it finished December up one percent over the previous season.

This fall reported season pass sales across the nation were at record levels, while advance hotel bookings were reportedly soft for some destination resorts. But where there was early snow, resorts are reporting that skiers are coming out at, or in higher numbers than last year and above the 10 year average thus far.

An October survey of a national sampling of skiers and snowboarders showed that the total number of days they intended to hits the slopes tracked on pace with last year across every region of the country. More than half of surveyed consumers said they will seek out destinations closer to home. About 50 percent also indicated they will seek out more affordable lodging options and reduce the amount they spend on food and beverage during their trips. Many skiers and riders indicate they may shave off a day or two from their longest overnight skiing/snowboarding trip.

Pray for Snow. That is all I can say. And pray that people continue to visit resorts, just cut back slightly on their food and drink spending, go closer to home, take shorter trips, and spend less on lodging. These are good things anyway as they tend to bring down prices. Resorts will lower their prices to be more competitive and this is good for everyone. Hotels lower prices to compete with bargain down mountain places.

But predictions for things being completely dire seem to be exagerated. This is very good news.

Posted by Justin at January 8, 2009 12:20 PM


I agree with you, economic crisis wont be a hindrance for us. Continue the sports and continue visiting more ski areas. Thank you for the great post. Cheers.

Posted by: Ski Areas at January 8, 2009 06:47 PM

If there is one thing that I will always spend money on, it's hitting the mountains. Times may be hard financially for me (as I'm sure it is for everyone else), but when times get tough you still need to find time and money for the things that make you happy - which for me is riding!

Posted by: intheboard at January 10, 2009 12:29 PM