Weather Variables Leave Industry Executives Cautious about Season-End Results
Denver, CO (January 31, 2014) -- More than 300 ski industry and mountain travel and tourism executives met to assess the 2013/14 season and business as a whole as part of The Assembly 2014 presented today at SnowSports Industries America’s (SIA) annual Snow Show held at the Colorado Convention Center. In the opening State of the Industry general session, association executives and industry researchers presented season-to-date figures on retail sales, mountain lodging revenues and reservations, and ski and snowboard visitation and demographic trends.
The snow sports retail market set a record holiday selling season, posting $2.2 billion in sales by the end of December, according to Kelly Davis, research director at SIA. Equipment sales were up 6 percent to $541million, apparel sales were up 7 percent to $985 million, and accessory sales were up 15 percent to $734 million compared to the same time period last season.
In regard to lodging, resorts are pacing well ahead of last season in terms of total occupancy and revenue. Based on destination visitation data compiled through December 31, 2013, properties posted a 6.9 percent increase in occupancy and a 12 percent increase in revenues. Barring any major disruptions in terms of weather or the economy, it’s anticipated that lodging properties are poised to post a 7 percent increase in total occupancy and an 11 percent increase in revenues compared to last season, according to Tom Foley, director of operations for DestiMetrics, a mountain travel research firm based in Denver.
“While the season is at the mid-point, much of the destination business is already in the bank or on the books, so the data gives resorts a good approximation of the likely outcome, and a head start on planning the next year,” says Ralf Garrison, director of DestiMetrics.
Meanwhile, Michael Berry, president of the National Ski Areas Association, said the outlook on skier and snowboarder visitation remains unclear. Ski areas on the west coast have experienced record drought conditions. While those regions did receive recent snowfall, Berry said it would be difficult for them to recover on any meaningful level, but he remained optimistic that strong visitation in Colorado and Utah, and an average season in the Northeast would help buoy overall ski area visitation.
Other presenters in the State of the Industry general session included Melanie Mills, president and CEO, Colorado Ski Country USA; Nathan Rafferty, president, Ski Utah; Nate Fristoe, director of operations, RRC Associates; and David Becher, director of research, RRC Associates.
The Assembly is produced by DestiMetrics, a mountain travel research firm based in Denver. Find the full agenda including session descriptions and more information on the special guests of The ASSEMBLY 2014 online at: http://TheAssembly.DestiMetrics.com. Find more information about DestiMetrics at www.destimetrics.com