Pennsylvania may well be on its way to establishing itself as a formidable “ski state” particularly among Millennials, according to a new research study conducted for SkiPA by RRC Associates. A contributing factor is Pennsylvania’s close proximity to several major metropolitan areas including Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York City, Washington DC, Baltimore and even the Harrisburg-York-Lancaster corridor.
RRC’s David Belin shared the survey findings at the recent spring meeting for the Pennsylvania Ski Areas Association held at Camelback Mountain Resort . It was the best-attended spring meeting ever as many came to see the new hotel, the largest indoor waterpark in the Northeast, Aquatopia, and also learn more about the survey findings.
“Millennials like to plan spontaneously/last minute and have a desire for flexibility in case their plans change, said Belin.” For many ski areas in Pennsylvania, this is an advantage because most Millennial visitors come only for the day. Young adults like to remain flexible and keep their options open.” Belin also noted a clear opportunity for Pennsylvania resorts to increase the number of days per person, particularly in Washington DC, Philadelphia, and Baltimore.
This past season, Pennsylvania resorts posted over 3.4 million
skier/snowboarder visits, ranking it 6th in the country.
PSAA’s 4th and 5th Grade Snowpass program generated 11,880 snowpasses this past season. It is one of the largest “Passport” programs in the country responsible for introducing new families to the sport while bringing back others that had lapsed while building their families, according to SkiPA Executive Director Linda Irvin. “This highly successful program will go from a booklet of skiing and snowboard opportunities to a swipe-card based program enhancing the marketing opportunities for PSAA members,” she said.
According to SnowSports Industries America’s (SIA) independent evaluation of the PSAA’s Snowpass, it found that this program is not only successful, but highly appreciated by participants and their parents. In fact, more than half of respondents rated this program as “best possible” and 90% indicated the program was “good” or better.
“This program really helped to ensure that we, as a family, got out to the slopes as often as possible. It helped our 4th/5th grader improve his ability on the slopes and also deepened his love for the sport. The program is definitely a good investment in the youth – who of course, are future customers of the industry. It was also enjoyable getting around to several different PA slopes – not just the same one all the time. Thanks for putting this program together.” – 4th grader parent
PSAA will continue to work with partner nxtConcepts on multi-cultural and diversity outreach. This piggybacks on another finding in the Millennial study. It cited the fact that “Pennsylvania ski areas draw from diverse marketplaces, and the opportunity to increase the share of minorities on the hill remains high”.
The Pennsylvania Ski Areas Association’s fall meeting will include a slightly different twist with the inclusion of an education/workshop component. Guest Research Inc.’s Scott Hannah and Snow Operating’s Joe Hession will address issues pertaining to guest services. The meeting/education program is set for October 15 at Roundtop Mountain Resort (York, PA).“With over 6 million potential skiers and riders within a two hour ride of Pennsylvania ski resorts, branding Pennsylvania as the place to learn to ski/ride will be next year’s focus, said Irvin. SkiPa also will continue its $49 “First-Time” packages that, last year, included a beginner lift ticket, lesson and rentals at 19 PA venues.
For Additional Information Contact:
Linda Irvin, PSAA Executive Director