Countdown clockAs I type this the clock is ticking down the weeks, days and minutes until the lifts start to spin for the 2013-14 winter season. For ski resorts, like many seasonal businesses, the five months of the winter season make up the majority of their revenues for the entire season so it’s crucial to do the best job possible getting as many people as possible onto the slopes.

For most resorts, ski season begins sometime between mid and late November and runs through mid-April. This doesn’t sound too crazy until you step back and note that the busiest, and most lucrative, time of the winter comes within a month of the season starting – the Christmas/New Years week. This doesn’t sound like too big of a deal, but many resorts will gradually open terrain, lifts and revenue centers like restaurants and shops in the weeks between their opening and the busy holiday week (due to conditions and business levels). This means that they are just getting into full operating mode just as they enter their peak time frame.

So once the opening day countdown reaches zero, in many ways it’s just then starting the countdown to the holiday time, and while a resort can afford to push back its opening day due to conditions, it certainly can’t afford to push back on its holiday business.

Photo credit: Flickr user amagill