Like every travel trend following the pandemic, ski tripping joined the ranks of unpredictable activities given unknowns about COVID-19. As any passionate skier will attest to, the “Open.. close… open with adaptations.. close again…” cycle of winter 2020/21 put a real damper on the season. Arguably, winter 2021/22 was relatively close to normal as most Covid restrictions gradually lifted from beginning of season to end. Looking ahead to the coming winter, many destinations are banking on this winter continuing to be as normal as normal can be, but the news cycle continues to warn us of new variants and decreasing vaccination booster numbers.
Travelers Swap Revenge for Reconnection
You may have heard the term “Revenge Travel” buzzing around this past summer. After many months of delayed plans and mind-numbing hours spent at home, many were ready to stick it to the travel restrictions in a big way this summer. As evidenced by the National Travel Survey for the first quarter of 2022, there is a “continued recovery in travel activity”. This upward trend, however, is less about making up for missed holidays and more about reconnecting with friends and family. A report from market research company, Ipsos notes that most surveyed Canadians incorporate visiting family or friends in their travel planning. This is a useful consideration as destinations plan for multi-generational family or group accommodations and activities this winter.
Work from Anywhere Culture
The mobile office has become a welcome cultural shift for tourism destinations. Now that anyone can do business anywhere, it’s easier to say ‘yes’ to that ski trip the family has been bugging you for, no matter when the best snow falls. This ability to take work with you could explain the increased length of stay Vacasa is reporting for its ski trip bookings for the coming winter. There is no need to rush home as long as the wifi is good. If you can take that call from your ski-in-ski-out chalet, why not extend your trip to get a few more turns?
People Love Getting Outside!
With many entertainment options limited to socially distant settings, more people got back to the great outdoors – and loved it! Being healthy and active became a priority following the pandemic (after the binge-watching and bread baking wore off) and it can be expected that skiing and snowboarding will be top-of-mind for travelers this winter. Whether they grew up skiing but life got busy or they took up the sport as a new outdoor pastime, the majority of travelers are keen to get and stay active.
Leave Without Your Own Devices
After endless Zoom calls, Facetime catch-ups and a lot of scrolling through a digital world, Canadians are planning to ditch their devices on their next vacation. According to the Expedia Travel Trends Report for 2022, “Nearly half (41 percent) of Canadian travelers are searching for a sense of contentment and mental wellbeing on their next trip, and nearly a quarter (23 percent) plan to spend less time on their devices to be more present.” Now, it may be hard to totally give up the opportunity to post that epic powder day shot or incredible, mountaintop vista but you can expect that most skiers are planning their trips based on ‘getting it for the gram’. Instead, they’ll be planning to leave the cell phone out of the lift line. It’s too cold to take your gloves off on the ski hill and too risky to snap that chairlift selfie anyway.
It is still safe to assume that some visiting skiers and riders will plan around COVID precautions. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that truly anything can happen to hinder the ski season. Most travelers, however, are ready to get out there and excited to reconnect with the outdoors and with their loved ones. As long as Mother Nature sees fit to give us winter lovers the season we have been patiently waiting for, we should see the best ‘normal’ ski season we’ve had yet.