Yep, we have an aging population of skiers and the ski industry is not quite sure what to do about it.
On one side of the coin you have an industry forged by Baby Boomers (The youngest of which is 54). These Boomers are the populous that grew the sport through the 70’s and 80’s, and drove some of the biggest and most exciting innovation in the sport; think Jake Burton, shape skis and detachable quads. Now however if we look back at the past 30 years what’s changed? I realize that gear innovations have changed quite a bit over that time, but who can tell? Are these innovations doing much to attract new skiers and riders? Doubt it.
The industry is having a real dilemma trying to attract the younger generation of skier and they appear to be drawing from much of the same toolbox from previous generations. In fact the only real movement we’ve seen over the past decade is mergers, acquisitions and the conglomerate season pass. Now the savings received by locking yourself in to one these passes can be big! If you are one of those boomers that has the time and bank account to ski and travel frequently this is a big win for you! The Alterra and Epic passes (and the like) can bring great savings over the ticket window price if you’re a frequent flyer. But how many new skiers that you know need, or want, a season pass?
Now lets say for a moment that you have never skied and I came over and handed you a FREE lift ticket to the local ski area….would you go? I suspect maybe 4 out of 10 would actually use their pass. The others would probably hand it off to a friend, pawn it on Craigslist, or leave it on the dresser until tossing it in the spring. Why? Why would you not want a FREE lift ticket. The local hill is usually @$70/day! Well I can think of many reasons that may deter any noob from taking advantage but I suspect a primary reason is fear. Fear of getting hurt, fear or trying something new by myself, fear of hidden fees (like rental gear and food), fear of putting those boots on the first time and trying to walk across the parking lot, just fear.
The other side of the coin is the Millennial generation (Gen Y) which is more safety and security conscious than any other previous generation. Millennials travel in packs, need to feel safe, are highly connected and tech savvy. (You can see where I’m going here right?)
SnoSuite is bridging the gap by bringing “Fear Elimination” to a new generation of skiers and riders.