Has the ski industry priced itself out of reach?

The 2019 Christmas Holiday was a horse of a different color. Instead of a parade of bumper to bumper cars and vans inching up the Mt. Rose Hwy in the morning we had empty roads, instead of wall to wall people filling both lodges with families sitting along the walls with their rice cookers blazing we had empty seats and tables, instead of lift lines out to the ends of the maze we were loading up on empty chairs. The shots below were taken mid-morning a couple of days after Christmas when Rose should have been slammed... but the place was empty.

So... what gives? Was it last years cold and stormy weather? That is certainly a possibility. The subzero temperatures on Christmas Day was followed by a massive storm that left some Bay Area tourists facing a most unpleasant 18 hour drive back home. Or could it be that ski areas have priced themselves out of reach of the market? There is certainly an argument to be made here as Vail and Beaver Creek in Colorado broke the $200 daily lift ticket ceiling this season with Squallypine and Flatstar coming in at a close $179 ticket office price point during the holidays. For a family of four to spend a day of skiing with rentals, lessons, food and beverage the cost comes in somewhere between $1200 and $1600 out of pocket. With that kind of outlay you have to wonder if folks didn't just decide to fly to Baja or Disneyworld or San Diego for their Christmas Vacation instead of taking the family skiing. It just might be cheaper even with flights!

Or perhaps it is a combination of both, beat up by last year's weather, crowds and expense they just decided to bag skiing and go to the beach...

In any event, the tourists were not here which, combined with the Blacked out passes, left the parking lots with slope side parking and the runs awesomely empty. When you can find pow in the trees 2 weeks after the last storm... that's a sign of a pretty good couple of weeks in my book. Celebrate what you can and be thankful for what you have and you'll be right.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Sven

Empty Rose side lodge at 10:45 a fews after Christmas

Kit Carson Bowl at 10:00 am a few days after Christmas

Plenty of load Room on Northwest Chair in the am a few days after Christmas

Parking is looking like a weekday a few days after Christmas

Comments

  1. Last year I had the opportunity to join some friends at Northstar. Then I saw the ticket prices, would have been > $1,000 to take the entire family ... no thanks. Sven, I believe you are correct in that the ski areas have finally priced many of their clients out. Oh, this is with a good economy, we know the economy goes in cycles, what will happen when the economy goes south?

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  2. Maybe they just sleep in like I do? Because I've been seeing a ton of tourists at the base on the Rose side in the afternoons! Weekend skier only of course, thanks to work...

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