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Is the Ski Economy Rebounding?

Is the Ski Economy Rebounding?

[ Wed, 2009-11-11 13:09 ]
Blue Skies at Vail
The national and global economies are shaky -- but skiers still need their snow fix

As we all know by now, much of the economy is in the, er, powder room. But it turns out that even with the mortgage crises, the credit crunches, the layoffs and the Madoffs, skiers are a resilient bunch. Turns out the fancified side of skiing -- the fur-lined boots, the overpriced après, the spa-based lifestyle -- is not what brings us to the hill. In the end, what we're there for is putting skis to slope, and not much else matters. Which is why we're not surprised to learn that, despite continued uncertainty about the overall economy's future, the skiing economy is looking up. Ski pass sales are up: Vail Resorts' are up 15 percent over last year. Bookings at resort-based properties are up 2 percent -- bucking a downward trend in the overall travel industry, which is seeing its lowest bookings in 20 years. And industry group Ski Utah is predicting a 3 percent upswing in skier visits for the year.

We're no experts, but we'll peg this to two reasons: One, early-season snows have gotten people psyched from Seattle, Wash., to Sugarbush, Maine. It's hard to look out your office window at the feet of snow piling up and not want to get out on it. And two, skiing is a feel-good activity. We go skiing to have fun, to feel alive -- and yeah, we'll say it -- to restore our souls. That's why we don't power-walk or treasure-hunt or mall-shop. (Well, we do treasure-hunt, but it doesn't quite fulfill us the way skiing does.) And in ugly times, who can blame us for wanting to feel good?

Blue Skies at Vail