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April 20, 2009

Thoughts on the Season from the Examiner

Some thoughts:

Skiing is an expensive sport. Let’s look at the numbers - $90/day lift tickets or a $400 season pass; $30/day ski rentals or buy your own for $600 (don’t forget another $400 for boots); $500 snow apparel; $20 parking for the day - and that’s if you live within driving distance of a ski area.

As the economy tanks how can people still afford it?

Apparently people are wondering the same thing themselves. Skier visits and overnight lodging occupancies (along with room rates) have dropped significantly in Colorado. Though the season is not quite over and totals are not yet available, the Mountain Travel Research Program estimates at least a 5 percent drop in skier visits from last year. Worse, occupancy for the 2008-09 season is down 16.3 percent, even though accommodations have slashed rates by nearly 9 percent. Ouch.

However this slide in skier visits seems to be limited to the western slopes. Ironically the ski industry on the east coast appears to be profiting from the slumping economy. Although international and destination markets suffer, smaller resorts benefit because they are more affordable and often closer to home. High travel expenses and increasingly inconvenient airline situations deter skiers from visiting Colorado, but nothing will stop them from skiing. Nevertheless skiers everywhere are conserving where they can. More than ever, people are ‘brown-bagging it’ in order to spend less while on the slopes. PB& J sandwiches and cans of PBR beat $12 burgers and $10 après-ski drinks.

Places like Brian Head and the local resorts should fare better than the major destination resorts for visits. Occupancy is down. Condo sales at Brian Head are nonexistent. Nothing is moving at all. I am sure that more people are brownbagging things.

Good article.

Posted by Justin at April 20, 2009 10:31 AM


Utah without question has the best North American skiing. I guess we brown bagged it this year at Brian Head but flying about 2500 miles on points to get there was well worth it. We were given 5 day passes @ $30/day to go with the more than affordable condo rental right across from the Giant Steps lift. Brian Head seems to be a weekend hill that thankfully stays open midweek. It has to be the best mid week bargain for an intermediate skier/boarder there is. Granted it isn't big in the vertical sense but the terrain is excellent and fun to cruise on. I would also say that their 250" of snow with more than their fair share of glorious sunshine beats being socked in where you cannot see your feet. As long as the rocks are well covered and the corduroy is primed then gazing across that valley for a hundred miles or more is unique indeed. It isn't mass tourism which should be an attraction in itself. On the other hand the prices of those chalets are obscene and reflects a value out of sync with where the resort currently finds itself. I do not understand how the real estate there can be the high rent district at such a humble resort. Those are some stunning chalets on the Navajo mountain but vastly over inflated prices on the real estate...

Posted by: away visitor at April 21, 2009 04:41 PM