Midway through ski season, economy sees boost

Posted By: The Ski Channel on February 17, 2010 11:39 am

Some good news coming out of the money world today. The Sierra Sun reported today on the economy of the ski industry and, as we approach the official midpoint of the ski season, things are looking up. Here’s their report (click here to read it too):

“DENVER, Colo. — The end of January marked the halfway point in the ski season, and according to mountain travel researchers, reservations and occupancy in mountain resorts continued to edge up though remaining slightly behind last year’s low figures.

The Mountain Travel Research Program (MTRiP) is reporting that actual winter occupancy measured from November-April, is down 1 percent — a slight improvement from Dec. 31 when it was down 3 percent.

The most positive indicator showed that reservations taken during the month of January for the next six months is up 9.5 percent compared to January 2009, the strongest pace seen in the past three months.

“It’s nice to finally be in a position to say something positive,” said Ralf Garrison, industry analyst and director of MTRiP. “February and March are also looking good,” he added.

Varying increases were also reported in five of the upcoming six months. The report revealed another sign of progress in January as it became the first month since April 2009 that actual occupancy increased compared to the same month last year.

The report also identified several economic indicators that may be influencing the modest improvements measured during January. Unemployment rates dropped unexpectedly to 9.7 percent and the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) rose 4.3 percent.

“When comparing this year to previous years, our analysis showed that as of Jan. 31, approximately 40 percent of winter guests have already come and gone, 40 percent have made their reservations, but the final 20 percent is still up in the air,” said Garrison. “So, it is a bit like halftime at the recent Super Bowl where second half strategies can determine the outcome of the game and the season.”

Currently, bookings for February are up 2.4 percent compared to February 2009 and the trend for short-lead bookings appears to remain in effect as the next two months are strengthening while reservations and bookings beyond March remain relatively weak.”