So, what's been going on for the past seven months?
The ski resort business is seasonal. Sure, most resorts offer some summer activities, but the vast majority of our visitors come during the winter months of December through April. So it’s now been about seven months since a paying skier or snowboarder has gotten on a lift, and since then there have been quite a few changes in the world:
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average has dropped nearly 5,000 points, from nearly 13,000 to just above 8,000 – less money in consumer’s stock and retirement accounts.
- The median price of a home in the U.S. has dropped by about 9% – people feel less wealthy with declining home values.
- Average scheduled daily flight departures from the Salt Lake City Airport has dropped 32,852 from December 07 to December 08 – fewer opportunities for consumers to get to Park City.
- Cruise lines have added seven new large ships this year with around three quarter of a million passenger nights to fill between them all – another winter vacation option for consumers.
- Oil has risen to nearly $150 per barrel and then plummeted to about $50 per barrel – if driving is cheap again, will consumer fly?
These ingredients along with the general malaise in the country will almost assuredly cut down on the number of visitors that we see this winter. The Christmas/New Years Holiday, which is a real barometer for ski resorts, is just over a month away, and already some local lodging properties are starting to offer deals for this peak demand time. Yikes – only another month and we will know how what’s been going on for the past seven months will truly affect the ski resort business.