Twenty-one ski areas have been designated as “Senior Skier Friendly” by SeniorsSkiing.com, the new online magazine for 50+ snow sports enthusiasts. The areas were selected based on responses to a survey SeniorsSkiing.com conducted of 84 leading ski North American ski resorts.
The survey looked at a variety of amenities available to older skiers. Respondents reporting special amenities and deep discounts were awarded the Senior Skier Friendly designation.
The six receiving “Gold” designations are Alta (Utah), Lake Louise Ski Resort (Alberta), Mt. Hood Ski Bowl (Oregon), Waterville Valley (New Hampshire), Whitefish Mountain Resort (Montana), and Whitewater Ski Resort (British Columbia). The 15 resorts receiving “Silver” are located in California, Colorado, Connecticut, British Columbia, New York, Quebec, and Vermont. Each area has received a graphic for use in its communications. A full report on survey results is available at SeniorsSkiing.com.
The survey found that lift, food and rental discounts (including free skiing) are the most common amenities offered senior skiers. Some areas provide curbside assistance, carts to transport equipment, a time and place for senior skiers to meet, and specialized instruction and clinics.
Additionally, numerous areas reported that the majority of last season’s midweek skiers were 50 and older. These areas also indicated favorable discounts for senior skiers. The survey also reported that senior skiers tend to ski in groups ranging from 3-5 people.
SeniorsSkiing.com features articles on winter sports from the perspective of the older participant. It includes sections on ski areas, equipment, clothing, health and fitness, and nostalgia and history. While the current focus is on alpine skiing, the site will expand to include snowboarding, cross-country, and snowshoeing. It also will include a photo gallery and a forum for readers to post opinions and to exchange ideas.
Older skiers comprise a fast growing segment of the US ski industry, fueled by the Boomer population segment which is projected to double to 71.5 million by 2030. A National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) survey shows that, per capita, skiers 65 and older account for more skier days each season than younger skiers. Those 68+ averaged 9.5 days of skiing in the 2012-13 season. During the same season, Boomers skied more than the national average of five times per year. People 45-54 accounted for 20 percent of skiers during the 2012-13 season, up from 14 percent in the 1997-98 season. Those 55-64 were at 12 percent, up from nearly 5 percent, and those 65 and older rose to 5.5 per cent from 2.5 percent.
One of SeniorsSkiing.com’s goals is to generate greater awareness within the ski industry of the growing impact of older participants and encourage ways for areas and manufacturers to meet their needs.
SeniorsSkiing.com conducted the email survey in June and July. Eighty-four resorts were contacted and 29 responded for a 34 percent response rate. The survey will be conducted annually.
Visitors to the site who provide their email addresses will receive an eBook of classic ski posters from the early 20th Century, produced in conjunction with the International Skiing History Association.