February 03, 2021

How the COVID Pandemic is Affecting U.S. Ski Destinations

A special analysis of visitor movement data in America's leading ski destinations throughout America reveals a 50% change year-over-year to ski more local since the start of the 2021 ski season.

As the pandemic continues to challenge the tourism industry, its paramount for ski destinations to understand the changing visitation trends.

Rove Inc., in collaboration with the U.S. Travel Association and UberMedia, a leading technological innovator that aggregates data from tens of thousands of anonymous mobile devices, is monitoring the impact of the pandemic on visitation trends at ski destinations across America.

The aggregate data compiled helps assess the characteristics of Americans choosing to ski, how far they are travelling to ski, what are the lead markets by ski resort, and what percentage are visitors versus locals.

"The latest data from the middle of January shows the trend of skiers choosing more local in-state destinations. This has been observed in California, New York, Vermont, and Utah. In Utah, aggregated mobile data from Alta, Brighton, Deer Valley, Park City, and Snowbird suggests 31% of skiers were from Salt Lake City in 2019-20. In 2020-21, that number jumped to 44%," says James Sauter, Partner and Co-founder of Rove Inc.

More people are choosing to ski local.

During the 2019-20 season, mobility data aggregated across major ski destinations in America suggested 17% of skiers were local's vs tourists. This is expected as it is rare to ski where you reside. During this pandemic ridden 2020-2021 season, that number has climbed to 25%, an increase of almost 50%, indicating the trend to ski more local.

More New York State skiers ski local.

Mobility data suggests more New Yorkers are opting to ski local this season. Holiday Valley Resort would normally see 50% of its visitors come from distances less than 100 miles. This year, that number is 65%. Major ski destinations in Colorado see lots of visitors from New York City visit their resorts, with NYC ranking among the top domestic markets. This year, except for Aspen Mountain Ski Resort, visitation from that market is significantly lower. Mobility data suggest that in 2019, NYC was the second largest market for Vail Mountain. This year, New York City does not appear among its top five markets.

No change in the demographics.

One could hypothesize the pandemic would have an impact on the profile of audiences at ski destinations. Mobility data aggregated across America suggests the demographics are similar across income, age, and education with over 50% being College/Bachelor graduates, over 50% having income greater than $75,000, and 43% being less than 34 years of age.

2020/2021 Ski Season Visitation Trends

Copyright 2021 Rove Marketing Inc.. All rights reserved. From https://www.rovemarketing.ca.

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