Are older skiers the Rodney Dangerfields of the slopes? Sometimes it feels like ski resorts show us no respect.

Consider that there are no Epic or Ikon senior discounts, and, in the case of some Ikon resorts, there no longer are local season passes and the senior discounts associated with them.

Some of the big players are doing very well. Vail Resorts, which owns Epic, reported a 58% increase in second quarter net revenue over second quarter 2017. Part of the increase was a one-time bonus from the new tax law; part of it was from increases in lift ticket and season pass products.

Like any other business, the ski industry follows the money. Which brings me to one of the key findings from our most recent reader survey. Fifty-six percent of all respondents spent $1000 to $5000 per person on skiing and related activities last season. More than 10% spent $5000 or more per person.

The same can’t be said for Millennials and Gen-Xers, the industry’s primary target markets.

One in five U.S. skiers and boarders are 52 or older. Our survey, which had more respondents than any of our previous reader surveys, showed an average of 15 days on the hill. More than one-third skied 23 days or more.

For those bottom line oriented ski executives who may be reading this: We use your facilities more and spend more than the youngsters. Think twice before removing senior discounts.

 

New Canadian Resort to Have Longest Vertical in North America

Valemount Glacier Destination is being developed in the Cariboo Mountain Range in British Columbia. When completed, it will have the longest vertical drop in North America (6726′) and the third longest in the world. Developers expect it to become a year-round skiing and sightseeing destination. Near Jasper National Park, the area already has substantial infrastructure. When completed, there will be skiing on several mountains, the largest of which is Mt XXXX, which summits at XXXXX ‘. The resort is a 75 minute drive from Jasper. It is located on the trans-Canada rail line and has a local airport within walking distance of the resort base. Larger airports are several hours away.

According to Tomas Oberti, project manager, the first phase is expected to open for day skiing in December. Full build-out of the project will occur over 20 years.

More on Valemount Glacier Destination at http://valemountglaciers.com.

Seven Skiers Die in Alps Storm

Seven skiers on the Haute Route in Switzerland died in a sudden storm in early May. They were part of a guided group forced to overnight in freezing temperatures. Adding to the tragedy: they were just a few hundred meters from an alpine hut. Elsewhere in the Alps, the storm claimed the lives of another seven climbers and tourists. It was the most loss of lives in Switzerland since 1999, when 12 died in an avalanche in the Valais.

 

The Daily Senior Skier Skinning Session at Arapahoe Basin

Doris Spencer is 72; Kent Willoughby, 79. They have been skinning up A-basin for nearly 18 years. This short documentary inspired me. I expect it will do the same for you.

 

Snowbird’s One Star Season

The Bird just issued this one-minute video summary of the season. The resort characterizes 2017-18 as a “one star” season, but you’d never know it from the skiing and boarding in the video.

 

Baltimore Ski Club Celebrates Member’s 90th Birthday

Dave Karczmarek, BSC Director of Ski Trips, recognizing John Wotell on his 90th.

John Wotell turned 90 in February, and the Baltimore Ski Club recently turned out in force to celebrate. A long time skier, he and his wife, Ann, were active members of the Ski Club of Maryland since the 1960s. For years, he was president of the group and made “President for Life” when he stepped down. He celebrated his 90th at Big Sky. Happy Birthday, John!

 

 

6 Comments

  1. Guy Albanese says:

    When Hunter Mtn. in New York was acquired by Peek Resorts the senior discount of $130 per season was eliminated. Now cost $600 per season.

  2. Dick Brooks says:

    I encourage pals as well as myself to boycott ALL VAIL RESORTS. IT ISNT HEATHY TO BE A MONOPLY. WANNABE. Hey Grand Pa and Gran you Don’t have to take the kids and Grand Kids toany vail resort.

    Dick Brooks, Houston and Purgatory.

  3. Michael Feldman says:

    I accept the lack of a senior discount for Epic and Ikon.
    The pass certainly favors retired seniors with time on their hands.

    My wife and I plan to essentially eschew Eastern skiing next season and the day after our normal family Christmas gathering in Gotham pile into the car for destinations to the West…beginning wherever is the best snow.

    i think $599 is reasonable enough for such an opportunity. We hope to sample 10 or 12 areas by the time we return in mid to late March.

    MSF

  4. Lynne Stainbrook says:

    You can ski for FREE when you reach age 75 in France. I teach at a purpose built ski resort called Flaine, part of the Grand Massif in the French alps. It’s just an hour by shuttle from Geneva airport. Flaine resort has one of the best snow records in France. We had 550 cm (18 feet of snow) for 2018 ski season.

  5. Gunstock in New Hampshire. 70 and older you ski free. Great place to take grandchildren. Outstanding employees everywhere!

  6. Icon has discounts for students and military. But no seniors.

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