Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Remember the reporter who interviewed the quarterback after he had just thrown the game-winning touchdown in the Super Bowl? "What are you going to do now?" he is asked. "I am going to Disneyland!" So, after a different but a successful winter season, I and a few of our teammates went to Orlando, Florida for the annual meeting of the National Ski Areas Association, which represents 329 alpine resorts.
As a member of the Board of NSAA, I arrived a day early for the conference and we spent two days meeting with peers from the industry as well as various vendors -- from those selling lifts to some promoting summer recreational activities. There were a couple of intriguing keynote speakers, like Mitt Romney and Bert Jacobs of Life is Good, and a number of interesting panel discussions. This meeting is always valuable time spent learning more about trends within the industry and picking up some fresh ideas to help make us an even better place for you.
As a whole, the ski industry had a good winter. Overall visits around the country were up about 4% over last winter and were the second highest ever (just behind two years ago). Interestingly the Northeast was down in visits about 3% and most thought this was due to the lower-than-normal snowfall in Northern New England. At Sugarbush this year, we were up slightly despite a shorter season. Nevertheless, almost all felt good about the winter.
Upon my return, I saw that the snows had mostly melted although there are still a few white spots on Ripcord, Stein's and Spring Fling. But the grass is green and the trees are in bloom in the Valley and moving up the mountain. I drove around our golf course today and was really pleased with how well it wintered. The fairways and greens are healthy and we opened a week early for play on the front nine. We are hoping to have enough of the work done on the 17th green area to open all 18 holes this weekend, even if we have a temporary 17th green for a bit longer. Hogan's is open and I noticed that our Wednesday "luncheon club" was already there enjoying the food and the sun today. Our partnership with New England Tennis Holidays begins May 13th and continues through September.
In the Lincoln Peak base area, sitework is progressing well and you can now see where the footprint of the new children’s ski school lodge will be.
Thanks to all who purchased 2010/11 season passes prior to the deadline this past Sunday. Our pass sales were up 18%. We greatly appreciate everyone's continued support.
Hope to see you this summer.
PS: As usual it snowed last week when I went away, even if it did not last very long!