Tricia

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The Summit Daily has an article titled - As baby boomers leave the ski slopes, millennials fail to fill the gap

This makes me wonder what will draw the next generation to the slopes.
Do we need to develop more activity at the mountain so that it will draw a bigger crowd, or do we need to scale back and make it about skiing at its purest?

Is it -
  • Cost
  • Customer experience
  • Other outside activities drawing their attention
 

crgildart

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More feeder hills, more school ski clubs, more ski hills inside major metro areas, perhaps indoors since natural snow isn't as reliable as it used to be in some of these locales. Find ways to make the cost of skiing in both terms of cash, time spent, and travel easier for more income levels to achieve. If average home incomes are not increasing then the costs in terms of money and time need to be reduced for more people to be reached and hooked.
 

SBrown

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I did think this was interesting:
"The Chamber/Bureau also wants to showcase the diversity of things to do in Park City, since Powell has noticed that one of the reasons millennials ski less is that they often choose to participate in various activities.

“'They are looking for different kinds of adventures,' he said. “The boomers were more, ‘Hey we’re on vacation. We ski every day on vacation. That’s what we do.”

"Millennials might ski a few days, but also rent fat tire bike or go to the Homestead Crater for paddleboard yoga. By advertising that there is more to do than just ski in Park City, Powell hopes that more millennials will come."


When I was 30 or so, SUP yoga and fat tire bikes didn't even exist.

That said, I would be interested in seeing numbers specifically correlated to regional population growth. Denver has had such an influx of young adults, not sure what numbers are like here.
 

graham418

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It is not just skiing that is experiencing this. Sailing , Golf, Tennis are all suffering. There is a lot of competition for ones disposable income dollars. And time. Too many activities to partake , and time does not expand to take them all in. :huh:

Sailing in particular is hurting. How to keep young adults in the sport after they have gone through junior programs is a problem that everyone is trying to solve .
 

Started at 53

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I will just cut and paste this here from another thread, quite a bit of it relates to growing and sustaining the sport:

I’ll give my opinion being nobody asked :huh:

I have only skied two areas, Deer Valley and Andalo-Paganella in Italy

My first skiing was DV in ‘15 and I took 3 hour privates (I do not do group lessons). The instruction was very good and I learned a lot, maybe confirmed a lot as I had watched a lot of YouTube prior to getting on the snow and knew what to expect, and I think this made my actual lesson comprehension much faster. The instructor actually commented something along those lines too. $$$$$$$

This year in Italy the cost was a fraction of the DV lesson, and the Italian methodology was VERY different to the US style of teaching. The same movements were taught, but for my brain it did not work as well. The three hour lessons were not super expensive. $$

You can say you get what you pay for, but that is not comparing apples to apples. The two regions have different styles of teaching, I actually confirmed this later.

Now that I have the above off my chest.....

I think that the mega resorts are being short sighted in their instruction program designs. The new skiers (including adults like me that are potentially patrons for the next 15-20 years) are the future of the sport and the future lifeblood of the resort/industry. While it would be a terrible business plan to give lessons for a break even price, it is short sighted to not look at the long term cost benefit of skiers improving and creating long term clientele (vastly different from a customer).

IF I was in management at a mega resort and looking long term, I would essentially subsidize kids group/clinics. I would set the price at a break even/slight loss for the resort. Why? Glad you asked! Firstly, those kids did not arrive alone! The parents are out skiing while their kids are being given instruction. Glorified babysitting? Quite possibly. But it is good business, those parents ski experience is greatly enhanced... AND you are at the same time creating future clientele for the resort with the understanding those kids will be lifelong skiers, or at least some of them. Is this idea the long game? Sure, but it is the recipe for success both long and short term.

Then there is the old guy, like me who is a beginner and I am sure the instructor hates. But I am the guy to make a profit on for sure. I show up at DV for a week, likely I can afford a couple of 3 hour private lessons. But at $605 +Tip? That is $700 in my book. I am sorry, but that is out of line for beginner instruction. I am super easy to teach, I mean it is just the basics and trying to find a way to communicate to me (the student) in a manner that clicks. Teaching is only slightly about the information, teaching is about the communication. Especially for a “level 4” or below like me. And yes, I do know a hell of a lot about instruction, but not in skiing. From a pricing stand point, I would say (just picking numbers out here) $250 for 90-120 minutes, and it is $400 for two of those sessions, and $575 for three of those sessions......... Something like that would make it “affordable” and set up a good plan where I would take a lesson every other day during my 7 day stay. This would give me the ‘tweener” days to practice what I had been taught the previous day.

The better for people like me ski, the more enjoyment we get out of the sport the more likely we are to return to the resort. The more likely we are to stay engaged in the sport. And the longer we stay engaged, the more prosperous the resort is long term.

So there you go! Being you didn’t ask :wave:
 

Yo Momma

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Around here (NEK VT) Jay Peak seems to have the market cornered as far as luring non skiers during the off season. Many of my staff and their friends, who are non skiers take their kids there for the waterpark. It brings in a steady stream of "Locals" income during the offseason and generates a natural "Kids" curiosity about what is going on w/ all that gear around the rest of the mtn. ......... although I have one eye and ear covered in mentioning Jay........ given the Q scandals......uggh!

As far as Stowe........... they got me for a pass for the first time in a LONG time when they went Epic. Smart move as they will also make money in food sales. Now I'm looking for a trip out west to Park City (Epic Pass in hand).... even though I am not a fan at ALL of the crowds there. I'm totally confused this year bec the deals are finally w/in reach.

The unchecked "Minority" market is in the Latino community. These ski areas need to absolutely INVADE ........Univision & Co. (Latino TV) w/ adds and a push towards a Spanish speaking market. Being part Puerto Rican, I see there is opportunity there and a completely untapped resource.
 
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Tricia

Tricia

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From the article:
“You’re possibly getting married, you’re possibly launching a career, or you’re possibly buying a home. Or maybe all three of those things,” he said. “That distracts you, except for the most serious participants, from the idea that you might have time and the financial ability to be able to spend a weekend or a couple of days or even a day skiing.”

How often do we see a new member join this site saying," I skied when I was young, then life got in the way, now I'm back but a lot has changed."?

And:
Ski resorts like Deer Valley have seen the changes coming as well. Two seasons ago, their average skier age increased by five years and there were far more 55 to 60 year olds, said Coleen Reardon, branding manager for the resort. They adapted their marketing strategy to target a younger audience, and the resort’s average age dropped two years.

This may be where resorts have to direct their attention.
I also wonder if these places need to connect with feeder hills to draw new guests.
 

Started at 53

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It is not just skiing that is experiencing this. Sailing , Golf, Tennis are all suffering. There is a lot of competition for ones disposable income dollars. And time. Too many activities to partake , and time does not expand to take them all in. :huh:

Sailing in particular is hurting. How to keep young adults in the sport after they have gone through junior programs is a problem that everyone is trying to solve .
I think the millennial age group is not accustomed to being outdoors or interacting with others. I have two of them, age 21 and 22. They think texting is talking to one another. There is very little personal interaction in this age group, and they are happy to sit in front of a TV or computer/phone and play video games.

This is a huge problem in our society, outdoor sports with a slow gratification curve are not going to thrive with these kids
 

Chris Walker

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Well, a quick peek at MTN's statements of financial results show that revenue is growing even if skiing isn't growing. So I wouldn't expect too many changes in the pricing/product offering until that no longer applies. I think it's a truism of publicly traded companies that nobody in the boardroom is thinking long-term when survival hinges on quarterly results.Can smaller areas fill in the gaps that the mega resort companies leave? It seems like the opposite is happening; that small local feeder hills struggle to survive.
 

fatbob

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Cost + time. You have to commit a lot to bridge the gap between occasional dabbler and skier. And that usually comes at the highest marginal cost particularly if you aren't in drive up distance.

Don't look at MTN because they'll still be ticking when the rest of the industry is dead and buried, they are creaming the market. Look at the number of kids in ski area catchments who can't afford a pass etc.
 

CrystalRose

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If we are going to compare Boomers to Millennials, it has to be said that skiing for boomers was also a status symbol. A Yuppie (or are yuppies gen Xers?) vacation that showed that you made it.

Millennials don't care about that as much. Just Google "Millenials are killing" and you'll see industry after industry that we aren't spending money on. The diamond industry was the last one I read about. Skiing needs to be marketed as an "Experience!". Millennials are much more willing to part with their $ if it is something that makes memories or something to make their Instagram feed interesting. Look at things like Living Social and Groupon. They mostly advertise things to do, and at a fair price. So skiing would check the experience box. Also Millennials like healthy activities: yoga, paddle boarding, color runs, etc. Skiing checks that box as well. So why is it failing: price!

There is no need to look further really. If skiing wasn't something you did growing up, you have to go out of your way to get into it. Most people have to travel some time to even get to a feeder hill. If that wasn't enough of a deterrent, then once you start adding up clothes, lift tickets, rentals, travel, etc. is it really worth it for you? And is this a one off vacation or an activity that you plan on doing repeatedly? Are they trying to attract skiers or vacationers?

You might be willing to spend a decent amount for a one time vacation (we're on vacation, why not splurge for X?!) but if you want someone to come weekend after weekend..... good luck with that.
 

Brian Likes Pow

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Crippling college debt, a job market that just ain't what it was for boomers and a rabid appetite for all things tech and games have gotta be big factors.

More programs like the loveland 3 class pass are needed to get people out there cheaper. Skiing/riding isn't too bad if you go all in but the initial cost is probably overwhelming if you don't have alot of disposable income or are paycheck to paycheck.
 

PTskier

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A big part of the problem is income distribution. The middle class is falling behind. Their discretionary dollars are fewer.

The years from the end of World War II into the 1970s were ones of substantial economic growth and broadly shared prosperity.
  • Incomes grew rapidly and at roughly the same rate up and down the income ladder, roughly doubling in inflation-adjusted terms between the late 1940s and early 1970s.
Beginning in the 1970s, economic growth slowed and the income gap widened.
  • Income growth for households in the middle and lower parts of the distribution slowed sharply, while incomes at the top continued to grow strongly.
https://www.cbpp.org/research/pover...ics-on-historical-trends-in-income-inequality

The millennials may have college loans to pay off. Relatively stagnant income in the face of rising costs, especially housing costs in many parts of the U.S. More expensive out of pocket medical costs, more need to put aside their own retirement funds. While there are always exceptions, in too many cases these new facts of family life means little money for expensive experiences like skiing.
 

scott43

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Yeah, I'm going with cost as well..and time. I could be wrong..don't have the stats handy..but it's becoming increasingly difficult to find money to spend on rec activities up here because of housing costs primarily. And there are more expenses seemingly that eat up the budget. People have to make more choices I think. Competitive hockey for a 12 year old here is somewhere around $10-$12k a year. Housing costs are about 5-7 times the average household gross income where traditionally it's been around 3-3.5 times. Time is shorter. Kids have a lot more to do these days online. The cost to enter the sport is high. Many factors against it.

I would say, the top 5% of income earners would even have a hard time finding the time and money. If you're living within your means, that's a big if, it's a big hit to go skiing. We budget about $4-$6k for ski trip out west..$2-3k for a driving trip in the east. I don't think there are that many families that can afford that these days. We have stats that say nearly half of Canadians are living pay cheque to pay cheque. We even have problems getting and keeping kids in hockey. Easy answer is get more kids into skiing..tough thing is, who has the money for that??
 

fatbob

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Looking at millenials is wrong I think. Don't focus on adults. Focus on kids and teens. Make it the clean hobby that gets them active and keeps them away from drugs and booze (ok you don't have to tell the full truth). And you'll get some hooked for life.

Millenials will or won't dependent on their social group. Chasing them is a bit of a risk they might be one hit wonders just to tick the experience box and move on. I don't think it's anything new - I did a scuba licence when backpacking in Australia as a young grad which I only ever used once again on a single holiday. I enjoyed it but it wasn't THE thing for me. Similarly I've had a few goes at sailing because a few people in my social circle were keen but always came away a bit meh.
 

KevinF

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Living in the Boston area, I can think of a whole bunch of reasons:
  • Boston itself is pretty flat. There are small (tiny...) ski areas around, but it's not like you can look outside the door and see mountains. It's a decent drive (2+ hours without traffic) to get to "real" skiing. The haul to get to "real" skiing is a lot worse than a few hours drive for a large swath of the country.
  • Cost. Transportation, overnight accommodations, lift tickets, lessons, gear, warm clothes, etc. I do fairly well financially, but my ski days would be curtailed in a huge way if I had somebody else to support.
  • Gratification: It takes a long time and a commitment to progress to a level where skiing even remotely resembles how it is advertised (i.e., empty powder filled slopes, etc.). We live in an instant gratification age.
  • Conditions, weather, etc. We've all experienced ski days where conditions are awful, the wind is something out of the Wizard of Oz and the temps are what you would expect at the North Pole. Most non-skiers I talk to assume that's what it's usually like in the mountains in the winter. Their reaction is along the lines of "You pay money to freeze your ass off?" Sure, properly dressed, you don't get cold, proper technique / gear means that there aren't many awful ski days, etc... but that's a high barrier to entry.
  • I'm sure I could come up with a fifth reason, but my compilation just finished, so it's back to work. :)
 

CrystalRose

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Looking at millenials is wrong I think. Don't focus on adults. Focus on kids and teens. Make it the clean hobby that gets them active and keeps them away from drugs and booze (ok you don't have to tell the full truth). And you'll get some hooked for life.

Millenials will or won't dependent on their social group. Chasing them is a bit of a risk they might be one hit wonders just to tick the experience box and move on. I don't think it's anything new - I did a scuba licence when backpacking in Australia as a young grad which I only ever used once again on a single holiday. I enjoyed it but it wasn't THE thing for me. Similarly I've had a few goes at sailing because a few people in my social circle were keen but always came away a bit meh.
I agree with skiing being a potential check box for Millennials (I for sure thought it would be for me) but I disagree with not focusing on them. Who are having these kids and teens? I'm in the upper range of Millennial but definitely within normal of child bearing age and currently childless. If I didn't care about skiing, I'm definitely not dragging a potentially cranky child or surly teen up to the cold and wet. The only way I could see your plan working would be a school program that took them without involving the parents. The media is always making it seem like schools are doing poor financially (again I wouldn't know: no kids) so I doubt there's a ski club in the budget.
 
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