Wednesday, September 25, 2013

In competitive market, skier visits stagnant

Air access deemed problem for resort area

Express Staff Writer

    Sun Valley’s record year for skier counts was in 1981-82, with just over 475,000 skier days. While ski resorts throughout the Rockies have posted a gain in skier days of about 25 percent since the early 1980s, Sun Valley’s share has dropped by 10 percent or more, depending on the exact years chosen.
    The most recent 20-year average at Sun Valley is 396,000 skier days, the most recent 10-year average is 387,000, and the most recent five-year average is 382,000.
    From 1994 to 2013, skier and boarder numbers remained about flat.
    That stagnation is somewhat of a mystery since Sun Valley has regularly scored in the top 10 in Ski magazine’s rankings of resorts nationwide, and last year it placed seventh.
    Sun Valley’s top two scores were in dining-related categories. The resort scored second in On-Mountain Food and the Sun Valley area scored second in Dining. The resort received high scores in several other categories, getting third in Grooming, third in Service, fourth in Lifts, fourth in Off-hill Activities and sixth in Overall Satisfaction.
    However, it scored only 44th in the Access category.
    “You can see the impact over the past 10 years,” said Marketing Alliance President Arlene Schieven in April, when Jackson Hole, Wyo., announced a record skier count for 2012-13. “[Jackson Hole’s] been adding flights. We’ve been losing capacity. It’s definitely put us at a disadvantage. I think also a consistent presence in the marketplace, appealing to a broad range in the demographic, is also where we need to be.”

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