Now that the Days Are Getting Shorter…WE ARE BACK!
You may have noticed that we have been silent of late. As much as Charlotte and I LOVE winter, we are realists. By mid-April or so skiing is mostly over and, understandably, most of you have moved on to non-winter activities. Even I will admit that my version of counting sheep – i.e. recounting the runs from a great ski day – has shifted to replaying my last golf round. (Let’s see… the drive off the first tee went into the water…). And unlike many other folks writing and reporting on the ski industry, we aren’t inclined to feature mountain biking within resorts, the latest bear attacks, the pub food at the mid-station lodge, pics from last winter with a headline that says something like “Don’t you wish you could be here right now?”, the cute pics of foxes… well, you get the idea.
And in many ways perhaps we like the fact that we can’t ski year round. It keeps it special. We wouldn’t have faceshots to look forward to and there wouldn’t be time to reminisce about the day the road closed and we had the whole place to ourselves. There is also the occasional golf shot that goes straight and finds the green or the two gin and tonic late afternoons on the deck to be savored.
But now that the days are getting shorter, we have found ourselves thinking about last winter and, yes, more and more about the coming winter.
Looking back on last winter…the first couple months were full of “Oh shit, here we go again” moments. California didn’t allow overnight stays in commercial lodging, thus basically limiting skiing to locals or rich home owners only. Unfortunately this restriction was in force during the key December holiday season. Almost all ski areas offered limited services, particularly when it came to indoor dining, ski school offerings and apres activities. Several states imposed significant travel restrictions for portions of the year, and we know of one state near and dear to our skiing hearts that maintained draconian travel restrictions for out of state skiers (that’s you Vermont!). And ski lift lines were lengthy as a result of limitations on how many could be on a chair or in a closed lift.
Despite all this, skiing was a popular sport in the winter of 20-21. As a testament to what tough crazy souls we skiers are – we showed up! Given Covid transportation and lodging fears, numbers for destination resorts were generally down, and the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) reported that local, smaller ski areas fared best as people decided to ski locally. But NSAA reports that skier visits were fifth best with 59 million skier days. The snowsports marketing arm for the state of Utah, Ski Utah, (full disclosure – Charlotte was a Ski Utah Ambassador last winter – you’ll recognize her powder smile in the press release) reported there were 5.3 million skier visits, which set a record for the state. Colorado reported solid numbers with skier visits trailing the 5 year average by only 3.7 percent. Not surprisingly, Vermont paid dearly for its travel restrictions – while season pass numbers were up slightly, daily lift ticket sales were down 40%.
But more importantly, let’s move on to this coming winter! Our upcoming posts will cover numerous aspects of the industry regarding this winter so we will leave you with just a few thoughts for now.
We have said this before, but if you know where you are going to ski or have a general idea, buy your passes NOW. Resorts make it financially worth it to purchase passes well before ski season officially kicks off. Many of you tell us that you don’t want to be limited to skiing one area so you eschew buying season passes. Think more broadly. In addition to the better known multi area passes (Ikon; Epic; Mountain Collective) check out the Indy Pass, and many states or regions have multi area passes that are worth checking into. For example, the Ski Vermont 4 Pass is a great option for east coasters.
One more thought for next winter. As you start to think about ski plans, think conSKIerge! We love to help folks plan trips, and we have been lucky enough to ski most of North America. How to get in touch?
- Fill out Plan a Trip form
- Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Or better yet, call us to talk. Seriously, CALL US! Kevin – 650.799.4174 and Charlotte – 617.429.6914. The only expense you will incur is the cost of the phone call. That and listening to us blab about skiing.
We are confident we can at least narrow down your best choices, if not nail down the perfect trip for you for the upcoming winter.
Be well; Ski well