Decline of skiing... on snow

ToddLToddL Posts: 2,998 Mega Baller
edited February 15 in News & Other Stuff
There are some parallels in this to water skiing. (I hope you can get past the narrator's upspeak inflection.)


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-- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
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Comments

  • swbcaswbca Posts: 707 Crazy Baller
    The video documented the problems with resort traffic and revenue very well in spite of the resort business including skiers and snow borders in their revenue and metrics. Water skiing has a more difficult challenge maintaining participation, because we don't count wake boarders as skiers. If I counted skiers and wake borders on our Minnesota lakes, participation is not in decline. The lakes are flooded with boats, but mostly wake boats.

    The other advantage resorts have, snow skiing is age agnostic. Snow Skiers may have 3 generations skiing as a family group ages 5 to 80 and all close enough in ability to maintain the same pace on most of the mountain. BOS may have the only grandparents water skiing with their grand kids.

    The other advantage ski resorts have or water skiing . . . snow skiing happens at a vacation or weekend destination, where friends and families from all over the county reunite for a full range of activities to enjoy together. I can't think of a parallel experience in water skiing.

    Cost, access and competing interests are common with snow and water. Initiatives to promote water skiing have been discussed elsewhere in this forum, but the parallels to ski resort traffic are limited. Still looking for ways to improve water ski participation.
    Home of the world's first submersible slalom course
    Bruce_Butterfieldlpskierpc
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,998 Mega Baller
    The other difference is recreational (snow) industry vs what we see as water skiing (mostly competitive).
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • lpskierlpskier Posts: 3,783 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited February 15
    @ToddL
    Mostly competitive? I think AWSA membership is about 50/50 competitive/recreational. All skiers that do not belong to USAWSWS are recreational (they have to belong to USAWSWS in order to compete). I don’t have data to back it up but I’d say the vast majority of water skiers are recreational. Or am I missing your point?
    John Wilkins- Si non pro sanguine quem ludus ne. #iskiconnelly
    Dragogsm_peterISP6ballBroussard
  • DragoDrago Posts: 1,754 Mega Baller
    I agree with @lpskier big time. Recreational "water sports " must have 1,000 x participation over tournament skiers.
    "We" generally think of "our sport" as tournament waterskiing, (I think). I guess that would need to compare to ski racing, or all competitive snow sports? (Which is now all that park crap, freestyle, cross, pipe, racing ...)
    SR SL Judge & Driver (“a driver who is super late on the wheel and is out of sync”)
    ISP6ballDirt
  • swbcaswbca Posts: 707 Crazy Baller
    @ToddL I think its hard to attract young competitors unless they are a member of a family that is in the business of competitive water skiing . . . or if Mom and Dad are dedicated tournament officials and their kids grew up at the tournaments and the parents can provide access to the competitive sport.

    The collegiate programs look good but am guessing those kids were competitors before college.
    Home of the world's first submersible slalom course
  • unksskisunksskis Posts: 657 Crazy Baller
    @swbca collegiate programs often take the "recreational" skier being referred to, and expose them to competitive skiing, its a common occurrence.
  • Bruce_ButterfieldBruce_Butterfield Posts: 2,174 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    The vast majority of collegiate skiers are recreactional/beginning skiers who previously had little to no exposure to competitive skiing. If I was to guess, I would say that 1 or 2 out of 10 collegiate skiers were competitive before college. One of the unwritten rules for many collegiate skiers is that the first time they go over the jump is in a tournament.

    By far the best hope to "grow the sport" of competitive skiing (or at least slow the decline) is to promote collegiate skiing and get those kids hooked.
    I'm Ancient. WTH do I know?
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  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,998 Mega Baller
    I guess what I meant by that is the problem described for snow skiing in that video is focused 100% recreational.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • JayShowerJayShower Posts: 7 Baller
    I can tell you that I was a recreational skier before collegiate skiing, and now I am absolutely hooked
    Bruce_Butterfield
  • klindyklindy Posts: 2,903 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @GaryJanzig you said “skiing is getting too expensive” yet you’re the only tournament skier with one of the oldest boats. The other 599 are buying up properties, tearing them down and using $200k surf boats to pull a tube ….. sound to me like you’ve got the most cost effective option!

    When I was growing up we scrapped and saved and did what we had to to get a pull. If we wanted to ski, we found a way. Malibu Boats had $265.9 million in sales for the second quarter. MasterCraft had $153.7 million in sales for the second quarter. Correct Craft is a private and I don’t know what their sales are. I’m know all three make multiple models and have several brands. The average price per boat for any of these companies is well over 2-3 times what a fully loaded waterski boat costs. And they build very few ski boats. Lake properties around the country sell about as fast as they are listed. I’m having a really hard time understanding how waterskiing is “too expensive” when it’s literally cheaper than anything else you can do on the water.
    Keith Lindemulder
    AWSA Chairman of the Board

    lpskierBruce_ButterfieldDrago
  • behindpropellersbehindpropellers Posts: 191 Baller
    Greed.

    Just look at the way Vail is operating.

    Nevele Ski Resort... Do you think the previous owners put money back into improving the resort? Nope.

    Unfortunately, its all about shareholder value these days.

  • klindyklindy Posts: 2,903 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @behindpropellers its always shareholder value (more accurately stakeholder value). But to your point, short terms profits typically come at the expense of long term shareholder value. Of course premium lift ticket prices are important but they can only do that if the quality of the experience is valuable enough to the customer. Obviously it still is.

    I recently went to Disney and it was $168 for a one day basic pass to one park! I thought it was expensive but I paid it and the park was packed (40-60 min waits on all rides). People are paying the prices without much slowing down.
    Keith Lindemulder
    AWSA Chairman of the Board

    lpskier
  • lpskierlpskier Posts: 3,783 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @swbca Neither of my kids competed before college but both did in college. My daughter was 2014 D2 women's collegiate jump champion, medaled in slalom and overall and was top 10 in trick.
    John Wilkins- Si non pro sanguine quem ludus ne. #iskiconnelly
    Bruce_Butterfield
  • jgills88jgills88 Posts: 141 Baller
    edited February 15
    One of the big points in the video is about how a pattern of less snow in the winter is hurting snow ski numbers. This makes me wonder, could watersports be the response to that issue? Could an increase in warm days in the year create a demand for warmer skiing and snowboarding options? The answer to those demands wouldn't be tournament ski centered resorts, but cable park resorts could be an option.

    Cable parks follow the ski-mountain business plan by selling equipment rentals and Season passes to make a profit. I'd imagine that a luxury cable park similar to a ski resort could be profitable and drive interest in watersports as a vacation, or weekend trip. I don't think it would ever happen due to the necessary capital, and insane amount of risk this hunch would bring both in liability and on your investment
    Akron Waterski -- Always looking for water
  • lpskierlpskier Posts: 3,783 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    To @scuppers ’s point, golf participation is down in the 21st century.

    https://cdn.cybergolf.com/images/1867/Golf-Part-Future-in-Am-2010-20--99MR2051-NGF.pdf
    John Wilkins- Si non pro sanguine quem ludus ne. #iskiconnelly
  • DeanoskiDeanoski Posts: 1,125 Crazy Baller
    snow skiing is up big time in the last two yrs over 59 million skier days in 20-21
  • slowslow Posts: 559 Crazy Baller
    edited February 15
    I don’t know the date of that video but ski resorts are mobbed this year. Both both big and small.
    Both my kids competitively ski raced but I don’t think that is a driver for the broad market of snow skiing. Hybrid work environment is exploding resort towns right now.
    lpskierDrago
  • ALPJrALPJr Posts: 2,821 Mega Baller
    I sure don’t see any decline in enthusiasm, talent, and comradery in the Olympic snow sports.
  • GaryJanzigGaryJanzig Posts: 189 Baller
    @klindy I looked at buying a new boat over the years, but I could not justify the expense. My boat still runs like a Swiss watch. The only thing wrong with it is that it is obsolete since it does not have ZeroOff. When the time comes I will repower and retrofit ZeroOff. I could pay for that in 3-4 years. I can't pay cash for a boat, and I can't justify taking out a 10-15 year loan on a depreciating asset. There is a small group of enthusiasts at tournaments like myself, but out on most lakes there are very few.
    klindy
  • braindamagebraindamage Posts: 296 Solid Baller
    edited February 15
    Good comments fro all, especially the difference between recreational snow and water skiing. You can even tube down some hills.

    I think the biggest difference is that snow skiing is both social and can be done all day. I love talking with my friends and meeting others on the lift, hanging out in the lodge, and apres ski. Everyone is friendly and willing to engage and enjoy the day.

    I love getting up at sunrise to spend 45 mins waterskiing with my 1-2 buds, but it lacks the ever present social all day validation of snow skiing. I think this is one of the reasons that surfing has taken off. All day social event.
  • braindamagebraindamage Posts: 296 Solid Baller
    Also-I grew up 10 mins from a decent sized midwestern ski hill. They have arrangements with the local elementary schools that bus kids 1/week, provide rentals, a lesson, and a pass that goes until 9pm for super cheap. They’ve been doing this for decades. Everyone I know can at least ski and a lot of us got the bug big time.

    If we really want to grow the sport…think about establishing similar things with the private ski lakes with a course.
    503Kento
  • DragoDrago Posts: 1,754 Mega Baller

    Vail ⬆️ Epic passes are dirt cheap and they sold 75% more this year
    SR SL Judge & Driver (“a driver who is super late on the wheel and is out of sync”)
    DaveD
  • HortonHorton Posts: 32,399 Administrator
    edited February 15
    If there are a lot less snow resorts and then there is a surge in demand the resorts left will be over full. I think it is like Golf. A huge percent of the golf courses in the US closed in the last 20 years. Now, with the market disruptions caused by Covid the golf courses left are booming. That does not mean there as many golfers as there were 10 or 20 years ago.

    In my mind the "sport" of water skiing is not all about those of us that compete. Count the number of slalom courses in the world that are used and I will tell you how we are doing. Clearly the number of people competing is way down. It is two very different metrics.

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  • HortonHorton Posts: 32,399 Administrator
    @BrennanKMN
    You hit the nail on the head. College skiers represents a huge opportunity for us to bring in the next generation of competitive skiers but if they can not afford it then we lose them.

    Support BallOfSpray by supporting the companies that support BallOfSpray

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  • CnewbertCnewbert Posts: 445 Crazy Baller
    The biggest difference re: potential that I see is capacity. A given ski slope, even a small one, can accommodate hundreds of skiers over the course of a day. A large slope on a big mountain can handle thousands, and ski mountains may have dozens of different runs. How many water skiers can a single dedicated ski lake handle daily? Let's assume a meaningful day of slalom skiing might be, say, 3 sets, 6-8 passes per set. So maybe each set is around 15 minutes per skier. Just a single skier might then monopolize the lake for around 45 minutes over the course of the day. There are only so many hours in a day, and even if the boat ran continuously, never stopping for fuel, to change drivers, for lunch... for anything... a ski lake can only handle a very few skiers per day. If there were 12 hours of daylight, this lake could offer just 16 skiers quality ski time. Obviously I've pulled some numbers out of the air to illustrate the problem as I see it. You can double that number of skiers and the fact remains an entire ski lake has very very low skier capacity and the number of dedicated ski lakes is certainly limited. Public lakes might be bigger, but they suffer from rollers generated by other boat traffic, so the number of skiers who can enjoy a quality slalom ski experience on a public lake is also extremely limited. Just waiting for a roller-free window for a single pass can take a while. I just don't see how this sport can accommodate large numbers of participants even if the interest was there.
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  • swbcaswbca Posts: 707 Crazy Baller
    edited February 15
    @klindy
    Gary Janzig wasn't comparing the cost of competitive water skiing to the cost of a new Wake Boat. I believe he was addressing the cost of competitive water skiing in comparison to other endeavors which could include competitive snow skiing, biking, tennis, adult team leagues etc. which have almost no capital cost.

    Comparing two adult sports
    2 years ago my 55 year old brother in law decided to get into competitive bicycle racing. He went all-in with training at his physical limits like a good one event competitive skier. It probably cost him $3000 to get into the sport.

    One year ago I decided to start over with competitive skiing after a 30 year break. We had a lake and a very old dock with no place for a second boat. Doing it on the cheap, I spent $27,000 for a used ski boat, $24,000 for a new dock (installed), $10,000 on a used boat lift and $4000 in skiing related equipment including a slalom course, and an OffCourse. It wasn't all that cheap because new lake-side equipment almost doubled in cost in the Covid-Summer of 2021.

    Another cost factor . . . Their are fewer barriers to unlimited practice in most other competitive sports. It's an unspoken truth that the best competitive "no-name" water skiers can be in the top 3 in their Region and have a few National titles because, in part, they have unlimited access to practice.

    If you are determined to be the best you can be, having unlimited to access to water ski practice that is convenient enough to co-exist with family life and a full time job is usually expensive. It usually means you live on, or very close to a lake with a course. This is obviously less true with other competitive adult sports that have public facilities everywhere.
    Home of the world's first submersible slalom course
  • MastercrafterMastercrafter Posts: 354 Crazy Baller
    edited February 15
    Beating a dead horse here but it's better than the SS thread. If we are talking about course skiing:

    Population of Michigan over 18yrs old: 7,000,000+

    Ski Sites in Michigan according to Google Earth File: 14. Lets quadruple it to include unknown public lake courses, so 56.

    If every site hosted 10 skiers per day, that's 560 skiers.. which in reality is still wayyyyyy more than what's realistic.

    560/7,000,000 = 0.00008% of the Michigan population over 18yrs has access to a course.

    One small northern Michigan ski hill states their chairlift capacity is 22,000 per day, or .003% of population over 18yrs. That's 40 times the capacity of "all ski sites" in Michigan, with just one of many hills.

    Realistically, there's 14 dedicated ski lakes. If they each had 20 members, that's 280 skiers in the entire state that have access to a real ski site. Except for Forest Lake in South Haven, I'm not aware of any site in Michigan that lets Joe Public show up and book a set.

    As we all know, accessibility is a huge issue. Accessibility aside, the 700 acre lake I live on is lined with houses, packed to the brim with docks and boats, and there's about 6 of us that ski. Most have pontoons that cost as much as a decent ski tug, or surf boats that cost double. Cost is not the issue. Interest and the willingness to live a healthy life is the biggest issue. I continually hear "I've gained too much weight to ski now" from guys who used to tear it up back in the day.
    BG1
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