Mature Market Experts Stat of The Day: Mature Market Skiers and The Economy

CB047167 mature market skiers

Mature Market Experts: more mature market news and stats more often – mature market skiers and the economy – I recently went skiing close to home (Deep Creek, Maryland) with my wife and children and couldn’t help but notice the slopes were packed. Long lines everywhere you went. Didn’t seem like the economy was slowing business down at all. Upon closer review, I’d be willing to bet that many families are and will be vacationing closer to home to save money. The other thing I couldn’t help but notice is that the slopes were filled with boomers. In fact, in many instances I saw three generations of skiers from families. This broadening of the market has to be helping ski resorts. I know my parents weren’t skiing at 60. My observation of more mature market skiers definitely echoes what the industry is reporting:

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) 2008 National Demographic Study states that there are continued gains in visitation among skiers and riders aged 45 and over. Since the winter of 1997-98, the proportion of skiers aged 45 to 54 has increased from 14% to 19.9% in the U.S., says the association. Skiers aged 55 to 64 has doubled from 4.6 percent to 9.2 percent; and the proportion of visitors aged 65 and over has also increased substantially, from 2.4 percent to 3.8 percent. The NSAA press release states, “According to the study, the loyalty and staying power of older participants has been a plus for ski resorts and has been a key driver of the success enjoyed by the industry in recent seasons.” Last season, the industry tallied a record 60.5 million skier visits nationally.

Just imagine how much more business they would be doing if they catered some more to baby boomer needs. I can tell you that ski lifts, as they are designed today, continue to be a major barrier for young and old. I saw more falls in these areas than any other part of the resort. I also think ski boots need a redesign, as they are far heavier than they need to be. And finally, I’d encourage the resorts to consider shorter ski rental periods and rates. Many grandparents would love to go down the bunny hill with their grandkids once or twice but don’t want to spend the day out there . . . and would happily retire to the bar or spa (with their wallets) after a couple of trips down.

By the way, TR Mann Consulting’s client GRAND Magazine, had a wonderful article on the top four ski resorts for grandparents and their grandkids.

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