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Overcrowding at Epic and Ikon resorts

Just skimming through this thread...it all seems anecdotal. I would be interested in real data about number of skiers, pass holders, etc. as well as numbers related to holiday periods, weather, and conditions.
Not too likely to ever get hard numbers for the number of Epic and Ikon users. Although of course Vail Resorts and Alterra, as well as the independent partners know exactly what they are. Or at least those that make use of RFID should. For a given region, the trends are pretty obvious though.

Warning . . . data and history geek thinking below.

In terms of snow conditions, it's possible to get historical data for the last 10-20 years for specific resorts. However, another factor that is harder to quantify is the marketing reach that the multi-resort passes provide in the age of social media and smartphones. Who knew about the first Epic pass in 2008? How did people learn about it's existence? Did those who were season pass holders at the three midwest ski resorts bought by Vail have any idea about the Epic pass at the time of the purchases? Were there NY Times or Washington Post or Bloomberg articles about Epic in 2008?

It took a few years for the Mountain Collective Pass to get the word out after the first season (2012-13, 4 destinations). Same for the Intrawest Passport that evolved into the Max Pass, which went away after Alterra came onto the ski industry scene.

What's also unknown as hard numbers is the data for the ski resorts that compete directly with the destination resorts in a given region. Presumably the number of people on the slopes has been higher this season where it's been snowing steadily all winter. I heard someone knowledgeable about Waterville Valley (involved with set up for the major race events) say that there has been the longest period of good snow conditions in recent weeks than he can remember in a long time. On Wed, March 13, there were over 15 quad chairs that loaded right after opening at 9:00. Granted, some of those eager folks were part of the senior club but there were people of all ages throughout the day.
 

rhymeandreason

Certified Ski Diva
We talk about it here.
http://www.theskidiva.com/forums/in...crowded-if-skiing-is-losing-popularity.23250/

A lot of us live in western cities that have grown tremendously in recent years. For us, the slopes are just attracting way more people than ever. And a lot of us ski at places that are now on these passes. Skier numbers may be flat overall, but they aren't flat at ski areas near western cities.
I suppose it’s also possible that the New England resorts are inherently more crowded than western resorts, given how close we are to Major metropolitan areas. Maybe we aren't noticing as much of a relative increase in skiier traffic.
Table of skier visits per year broken out by region. Note that the visits to resorts in the Rockies have been stable since 2006/07. I would have expected more bumps due to how good the season was and the Winter Olympics effect.

http://www.nsaa.org/media/303945/visits.pdf
 
I think it's possible for regionwide/nationwide visitation to be stable and for some resorts--the ones where many of us ski--to be more crowded than ever. (One of my bellweathers is parking. Stevens Pass used to fill up once in a blue moon. It fills regularly now. Crystal never used to but they are starting to on a powder day. People need to keep an eye on Twitter now for parking updates because when the lots are full, they are full--there's nowhere else to go). With Stevens newly on Epic and Crystal newly on Ikon, it's hard to see how this won't get worse). That's another worry that people have about these passes--that they will hurt smaller ski areas as they funnel more people to others.
 

snowski/swimmouse

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I, for one, am loyal to my little mountains both New England and North Carolina....

I'm NOT impressed with Ikon only giving 5 days to resorts; If I'm going to pay to fly somewhere, I've got to ski SIX days (Sun-Fri).!
 
Table of skier visits per year broken out by region. Note that the visits to resorts in the Rockies have been stable since 2006/07. I would have expected more bumps due to how good the season was and the Winter Olympics effect.

http://www.nsaa.org/media/303945/visits.pdf
Do you happen to know how much data the consultant for NSAA gets from major players like Vail or Alterra?

Useful data in any case, but not sure it's a true census or just a very large "sample" of U.S. ski resorts/areas.
 
I'm NOT impressed with Ikon only giving 5 days to resorts; If I'm going to pay to fly somewhere, I've got to ski SIX days (Sun-Fri).!
Of course, the business answer from the Alterra perspective is that then you should consider the Full Ikon that includes 7 days. :smile:

For some intermediates or families planning a ski vacation, 5 days works because they need to travel on weekends plus have a day of rest in the middle of the ski week.

I've noticed that many ski club trips include a rest day in terms of lift tickets. Meaning travel Sat, ski Sun-Tue, rest Wed, ski Thu-Fri, and travel Sat.
 

snowski/swimmouse

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I could never pay lodging to make a full Ikon Pass worth it. I WILL get 6 days at Steamboat each December and ~maybe~ one or two weeks more AT MOST. Even though I buy an Okemo midweek pass each year, savings for me would be minimal at most and NOT worth it without that 6th day.
This whole plan is only costing me way more money and ruining my formerly family atmosphere at Okemo. : ( I'm now stuck with paying for "buddy" passes which I will ~never~ use.
 

rhymeandreason

Certified Ski Diva
Do you happen to know how much data the consultant for NSAA gets from major players like Vail or Alterra?

Useful data in any case, but not sure it's a true census or just a very large "sample" of U.S. ski resorts/areas.

Both Vail and Alterra are NSAA members. NSAA, according to their website, represents 90% of the ski areas in the US, including Boyne, Powdr, Jackson Hole, Aspen, Peak, etc. I’m sure it’s not perfect, but at least it’s data as opposed to a gut feeling or eyeballing the parking lot.

The only other hard data we have seen is from the letters from Aspen, Jackson and Alta. Those are private companies, so they have no obligation to release numbers, but I think that Vail should. I’ll take a look at their annual report to see if they do.

I agree that we should question the data! It can be misleading.
 
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Abbi

Angel Diva
I could never pay lodging to make a full Ikon Pass worth it. I WILL get 6 days at Steamboat each December and ~maybe~ one or two weeks more AT MOST. Even though I buy an Okemo midweek pass each year, savings for me would be minimal at most and NOT worth it without that 6th day.
This whole plan is only costing me way more money and ruining my formerly family atmosphere at Okemo. : ( I'm now stuck with paying for "buddy" passes which I will ~never~ use.
You can still buy a midweek pass for Okemo.
 

snowski/swimmouse

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I have, but it cost me $40 more and I was told it was for "buddy passes". I'm a single and anyone I ski with already has their own more used pass. Living 1,000 miles away, I just don't get that many days...
 

diymom

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Maybe there are divas with buddy passes at other hills you would be interested in skiing you could trade with? Alternatively, there might be divas who would be willing to compensate you for a buddy pass, but be ok with not skiing together if you don’t want to.
 

snowski/swimmouse

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Great ideas! But, I see the problem as me only being there (1,000 miles from here) 3 weeks out of the season. I ~always~ welcome skiing with others, as long as they're OK with me. I'm a very social skimouse. :ski2:
 

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