Skiing Facilities

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 300 skiing facilities firms in the US operate downhill, cross-country, or related skiing areas and/or operate equipment, such as ski lifts and tows. These establishments often provide food and beverage services, equipment rental services, and ski instruction services.

Highly Seasonal Demand

Peak ski season generally runs from mid-November through mid-April.

Struggle for Growth

The snow sport industry has struggled for about a decade to grow participation.

Industry size & Structure

The average skiing facility employs about 113 workers and generates $11 million annually.

    • The skiing facility industry consists of about 300 firms that employ about 34,600 workers and generate $3.4 billion annually.
    • Industry revenue is highly concentrated; the top 50 companies account for 86% of industry revenue. However, the resort market is fragmented; less than 20% of the roughly 460 ski resorts in the US are owned by companies with four or more properties.
    • Large firms include Vail Resorts, Aspen Skiing, Alterra Mountain and Boyne Resorts.
                                Industry Forecast
                                Skiing Facilities Industry Growth
                                Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                Recent Developments

                                Nov 14, 2022 - Inflation Slows, But Consumer Spending Does Too
                                • Inflation, as measured by the US Bureau of Labor Statics' Consumer Price Index (CPI), increased 0.4% month over month in October, the smallest increase since July, and 7.7% year over year. The CPI measures what consumers pay for goods and services. Foot traffic at skiing facilities may decrease if consumers cut back on discretionary purchases. Consumer spending, the economy’s main engine, grew more slowly in the third quarter than in the second, after adjusting for inflation and seasonality. The year-over-year inflation increase was the smallest since January. June’s 9.1% year-over-year inflation rate was the highest in four decades. “A strong labor market and strong job growth supports strong demand, which allows inflationary pressures to stay elevated,” said Blerina Uruci, US economist at T. Rowe Price. “You’ve got more demand chasing goods and services, the supply of which is being impaired at the moment.”
                                • Skiing facilities in Utah are being impacted by Utah Transit Authority staffing shortages that have limited or halted bus routes, including services to ski resorts, ahead of the winter. Skiers rely on bus routes up Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons as alternatives to driving the heavily trafficked roads. Ski Utah President Nathan Rafferty said that more public transit options for skiers would benefit the environment, traffic, and safety. Utah transportation officials recommend a $550-million gondola to relieve traffic congestion in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Local officials and conservation groups say the gondola will be an eyesore and amounts to a taxpayer subsidy for lucrative ski resorts.
                                • Ski resorts in states along the Colorado River basin may be negatively impacted by a potential need for those states to conserve an additional 2-4 million acre-feet of water amid a 22-year drought. The Colorado ski industry, for example, has enjoyed a deal with Denver that allows resorts to "borrow” water rights when they are making snow in fall so long as they return the snowmelt to the city’s reservoir in the spring. Hydropower plants, municipalities, and farmers downstream of the Colorado ski resorts have legal rights to demand more of the river’s total flow. Colorado’s ski industry would have little recourse if they do — as it might be legally bound to let the water flow by rather than turning it into snow. Ski industry executives note that it highlights one of the many ways the state’s economy and lifestyles were built for a healthy, robust Colorado River.
                                • Ski seasons are getting shorter as snowfall decreases. The April snowpack in Western states declined at 86% of the sites measured between 1955 and 2020, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Decreases have been especially prominent in Washington, Oregon, northern California, and the northern Rockies. About 81% of sites have experienced a shift toward earlier peak snowpack. Temperature and precipitation are key factors affecting snowpack, which is the amount or thickness of snow that accumulates on the ground. In a warming climate, more precipitation will be expected to fall as rain rather than snow in most areas—reducing the extent and depth of snowpack.
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