Skiing/Snowboarding Trends

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  1. #1

    Skiing/Snowboarding Trends

    In another thread there was a discussion regarding the % of criminals which led me to look into skiing/snowboarding numbers and the trend is a little disturbing. Last year the industry hit skier/snowboarder levels not seen in 25 years. Now that might be due to a poor winter since the numbers dropped dramatically last season. However over the past several seasons the trend is down



    http://www.nsaa.org/media/275017/1516_visits.pdf

    Now the total skier visits is one thing but the total number of participants is following a similar trend down 25% from the peak in 2010/2011.

    This document also highlights issues in the industry - the struggle of the smaller ski areas where the number of ski areas has gone from the mid 500's to the mid 400's over the past 20 years.

    http://www.nsaa.org/media/275065/Num...eason_1516.pdf

    With all of that information, what I find interesting is the industry seems to focus of beginner conversion and now so much on the cost of entry. While resorts are getting creative with beginner packaging and experience which leads to beginner conversion model, and newer pricing schemes seem to be focused on retention, is it enough to get numbers to turn around. Looking at things like 6% new participants with 1% conversion based on the total and limiting retention loss as being the model, it seems like they are not discussing demographic changes especially with respect to an aging baby boomer population. However, there seems to be a growing number of resorts working on retaining to 20 something crowds.

    While the document below is focused on beginner conversion, it seems like finding ways to lower the cost of entry should also be a factor.


    http://www.nsaa.org/media/22284/conversion_cookbook.pdf
    2012-2013 (39)
    2013-2014 (36)
    2014-2015 (51)
    2015-2016 (47)

    2016-2017 target - 50

    If you take what the mountain gives you, you will always have fun!

  2. #2
    While I agree that the industry needs to focus on newer customers and parents introducing their kids to the sport with baby boomers leaving the skiing population, the visitation report doesn't scare me THAT much. The thing that is concerning is the lack of GROWTH in the industry. In the northeast specifically we've hovered around 13 million visits for awhile now and hence the baby boomer issue youth participation is going to have to increase drastically just to keep up.

    If you look at the 2014-2015 season you see everywhere is within 3-5% of the 2010-2011 peak with the exception of the dismal year in the Pacific West because of the blob and in the midwest. While I know nothing about the midwest, the far west issues do not currently have to do with a loss of skier populations just yet, it is weather related.

    2010-2011 does not seem as much like a peak in terms of skier visits, it seems to me like a perfect storm of good winters all across the US. I wouldn't say the trend is down due to an aging population quite yet. If this is an average season across the US, it will be interesting to see what the numbers look like (and I could be proven very wrong about the trend not being down).

  3. #3
    Speaking to another trend, coming from a healthcare/medical perspective I wonder if the declining health of the American people in some aspects has anything to do with the lack of growth. Arthritis and diabetes prevalence have dramatically increased in the past few decades and show no signs of slowing down. If you have daily pain associated with osteoarthritis, you likely are not in a position to ski.

    Its possible that the skiing population is just healthier in general and is therefore exempt from the obesity trend, but I tend to not think so for a variety of different reasons. While certainly many people do not ski because they hate winter and the cold or it is too expensive... I wonder if health holds people back. If people are developing arthritis when they're 45 instead of 65, are they leaving the sport "early?"

    I think it would be useful for resorts to somehow figure out why people stop skiing. Somehow reaching out to former season pass holders or people who ordered tickets online and asking why you don't si as much as previous years could be fruitful.

    Obvious answers would be money, weather, parenting, but that can't be the whole story.
    Last edited by Jully; Oct 24, 2016 at 5:50 PM.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Jully View Post
    I think it would be useful for resorts to somehow figure out why people stop skiing. Somehow reaching out to former season pass holders or people who ordered tickets online and asking why you don't si as much as previous years could be fruitful.
    That would be interesting information. I wonder if any resorts have already done this. With computers and so many people paying via credit cards, there really should be a ton of data available to mine. Even if you just buy day tickets they should be able to figure out for a particular person what their habits are.

    Obvious answers would be money, weather, parenting, but that can't be the whole story.
    I've said it before, but I think the cost factor is huge. Sure there are tons of deals out there, but for the average person that just goes to look at a day ticket price without knowing about the various deals they will easily be scared off. I think another big factor for kids is competition from other sports. There are so many sports leagues and teams for kids now that just suck tremendous time that there's simply less time available to ski.

  5. #5
    Millennials and to a lesser extent Gen Xers simply don't have the wealth that the boomers have had. I predict this trend continues as older population dies off.


    Edit golf is slowing a lot as well

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by snoseek View Post
    Millennials and to a lesser extent Gen Xers simply don't have the wealth that the boomers have had. I predict this trend continues as older population dies off.


    Edit golf is slowing a lot as well
    Agree, my Soaring club is aging out with no young members coming in. Many of the members own powered aircraft as well ,some have resorted to parting out their panes to sell as the market is not good .

    There is a stereotype that skiing is a "Rich mans" sport. I mentioned to someone that I skied and that was the first thing out of his mouth. I countered by asking him how much he spent on a pack of cigarettes per day and a case of beer per week. Turned out he was the "Rich " man.

    Another reason I believe is the instant gratification theme through society.Skiing is a sport that requires a lot of determination to learn. When I started I had a great deal of frustration with the old Spademan bindings icing up, literally had to scrape the ice off the plates to get back in the bindings while watching 6 yrs old whiz by. Equipment is far better now but as a novice falling is very common,if you pick a bad year or bad conditions to learn it can kill the fun factor. I didn't take any lessons but had good friends to teach me but still was my 3rd time out before I could make it to the bottom without falling.



    PS, the skier vs snowboarder thing is all in fun , or at least that's my take .
    "Make Greenland Green again"

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Siliconebobsquarepants View Post
    Agree, my Soaring club is aging out with no young members coming in. Many of the members own powered aircraft as well ,some have resorted to parting out their panes to sell as the market is not good .

    There is a stereotype that skiing is a "Rich mans" sport. I mentioned to someone that I skied and that was the first thing out of his mouth. I countered by asking him how much he spent on a pack of cigarettes per day and a case of beer per week. Turned out he was the "Rich " man.
    Sure there are ways to make it work, especially if you are single young adult with little responsibility in your life. Now throw in a typical family of four and go have a weekend ski holiday, now it's a rich mans sport!

    The problem I see with this argument is that the more middle class or even poor skier that is single isn't feeding the sport with new blood, any industry constantly needs a new and younger generation of participants to survive. So once that skier becomes a parent things have to change, they either figure out a way to make it work which generally means making more money or they decide to drop the activity all together, maybe little Johnny doesn't like the cold but wants to play basketball all winter instead making the decision that much easier.

    I'm guessing that a lot of people on a site like this are dedicated skiers and would make it work no matter what but for the majority of recreational skiers it's not that important.

  8. #8
    Americans are soft.


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  9. #9
    the Wussification of America isn't just a problem for skiing

  10. #10
    steamboat1's Avatar
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    Work is a full time job. The younger generation just doesn't have the free time a lot of us enjoyed. For most it's not 9 to 5 anymore. I see it with the hours my daughter has to work & she has a good job with a major corporation.

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