‘Good Morning Truckee’: A ski industry update
The Truckee Chamber of Commerce and community members all came together for coffee, breakfast, and ski resort talk at the Good Morning Truckee meeting, Tuesday, Nov. 14.
Representatives from Northstar, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, and Sugar Bowl-Royal Gorge, as well as Michael Rietzel, president of the California Ski Industry Association, represented the ski industry and gave an update on the industry, including where it’s headed, consolidations, new business models, and more.
Rietzel presented overall ski industry statistics, stating that out of the 54.7 million nationwide ski visits during the 2017-2018 snow season, north Tahoe could account for seven million of them. About 80 percent of resorts closed on time or later than expected, which was the highest percentage in the county.
Snowboarding was thought to originally be on the decline, but statistics from last season show snowboarding is up to 34.7 percent from 34.2 percent, and a current focus for the industry is to get more millennials on the slopes.
“It’s certainly a challenge to look at the changing demographics and the changing mindset of the skier and rider. But I can tell you this, all of our resorts are very focused on this and understand this, and they’re changing their experience to cater to the right folks,” Rietzel said. “With millennials, they are looking for something a little different.”
Rietzel also showcased the California Ski Industry’s mountain safety guide: a small, easy to navigate, and children-friendly packet that contains information, such as the skiers responsibility code and information regarding avalanches, deep snow, lift safety, and universal trail signs. The packet is made of stone paper solutions, making it water and snow proof.
Nadia Guerriero, vice president and general manager of Northstar, shared that time is becoming more scarce than money for the modern family, so Northstar is encouraging families to come visit mid-week for less busy days. The resort is also offering a more unique experience via their platinum club, which offers access to private trails, lounge rooms, and discounted parking.
Dave Rathbun, chief marketing officer of Sugar Bowl-Royal Gorge presented on behalf of the resort. The resort received 795 inches of snow overall last season, and is prepared for similar levels this winter. They have seven new snow grooming machines, and are expanding their parking. Sugar Bowl has also created a new village kids ski & snowboard school, and has upgraded a majority of their food services.
“Overall, we are very healthy as an industry and are very excited to see how this year goes,” Rietzel said.
Good Morning Truckee meetings are open to the public. They are held the second Tuesday of every month at Truckee Tahoe Airport from 7 to 8:30 a.m.
Price at the door for general public is $12, and Truckee Donner Chamber members pay $10. A ticket includes continental breakfast and a raffle.
For more information, contact the chamber at 530-587-8808 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit TruckeeChamber.com to learn more.
Kelsie Longerbeam is the news, business and environment reporter for the Sierra Sun and North Lake Tahoe Bonanza. She can be contacted at email@example.com or 530-550-2653. Follow her on Facebook, and Twitter and Instagram @kelsielongerbm.