On March 25, Slopefiller’s Gregg Blanchard just completed a survey of U.S. ski areas to determine the current “state of the industry” and find out more about how resorts have handled the ramifications of Covid-19. Aside from being winter playgrounds for skiers and snowboarders, resorts are business operations that are being affected in may ways as are their employees. Blanchard published the survey on Twitter.
As previously reported just about every ski area is closed and many, especially the larger western resorts, closed way before anticipated. March is one of the busiest months of the year for them and two of the large conglomerates – Vail and Alterra – shuttered their properties in the middle of the month. Others soon followed suit if they were not already closing due to normal end of season operations. Many larger resorts stay open through Easter which, this year, is Sunday, April 12.
And, this is the time the year that most resorts and multi-resort operations heavily pitch their season passes for next year. Now, marketing staffs are being reduced and resort marketing teams are reluctant to promote their products considering today’s circumstances.
According to the Slopefillers survey, nearly 66% of resorts are laying off marketing staff or reducing hours. And, although 60% of survey respondents said their season passes are on sale, only 16% are promoting them. Early Bird deals (lowest possible sales prices) typically end on May 31.
When the dust settles, all of this could be good news for consumers. Those “Early Bird” prices points could be delayed or even pushed to the fall and resorts could be coming up with more and longer-lasting creative ways for to make payments on the “installment plan”.
Coming soon: A synopsis of season pass programs.