COVID-19 has highlighted the need for healthy outdoor activities year-round, and many Canadians have opted for the slopes during the winter. When asked about why people are flocking to the hills, 86% of respondents shared that they want to be outside, pursuing a healthy activity. Of the audience surveyed, 21% of core skiers, or those already visiting the slopes, came out more often last year. Couple that with 37% of skiers being new to the sport, or a lapsed skier choosing to return, and it’s easy to see how the number of domestic skiers has climbed.
In winter 2020/21, Canada had a whopping 17.5M skiers on its slopes; for the coming year, that number is primed to surpass 18M – a new record! What’s more, 99% of those on the slopes rate skiing as “enjoyable or very enjoyable” with 97% stating they are very likely to return to the slopes. In an age riddled with negativity and uncertainty about most matters, Canadians are firm in their commitment to keep skiing at the top of their list, with nearly all skiers indicating a likelihood to return.
These very positive statistics for the industry provide many opportunities to capitalize on the good intentions of the Canadian participants and not lose the momentum instigated by COVID-19. Canadians continue to express a desire to travel within Canada for the upcoming season and have shared that while they typically have a home-based resort, they want to visit more neighbouring ski destinations. The plethora of options in many geographic areas makes this an ideal time to promote and cross-promote.
Connecting with past skiers and inviting them to return this upcoming season with offers and promotions catered to their needs is highly recommended. Opting in to Canadian Ski Council programs is also strongly encouraged as these programs have yielded beneficial results for customers and ski areas across the board. Sixty-eight percent of families skied more because of the Grade 4 & 5 SnowPass, 33% took a lesson while on the slopes, 23% of purchasers identified as visible minorities, and SnowPass purchasers on average visited with three additional skiers. With so many new skiers trying the sport, minorities strapping on skis more than ever before, and a general renewed interest in outdoor activities for most Canadians, it’s no wonder the Never Ever Days program sold out in record time and was met with positive feedback.
A prime opportunity to connect to more skiers than ever before exists as demand continues to build within the industry. Now is the time to plan your marketing strategies for winter 2022/23, including connecting with the Canadian Ski Council to affirm your participation in valuable programs. Collectively, we want to see all Canadians interested in skiing, and they’re more interested in participating than ever. Let’s convert that desire into action.