Thursday, August 15, 2013

Why skiing isn't growing?

Many think it's the cost of the first time lesson that holds people back. However the obstacles are enormous and they go much deeper and further than cost. Without seeing and addressing the obstacles first, the ski industry will never solve it's most daunting challenge, retaining skiers.

Let's begin this discussion with the first time ski experience:

It's not the price or availability of the first time experience that's the deterrent. There are plenty of first timers coming out for lessons, it's "retention" of those first time participants that's the issue. Even the ski industry's own reports show, it's about the effective lesson not happening. If 1.5 first timers out of 10, ever return to the sport, it has to do with what is being taught and whether or not it was fun enough to pay the big next step price, which is: skis, boots, travel, ski clothes, seasons passes, or lift tickets, a minimum $2000 entry level  package. Skiing is a commitment and you have to sacrifice and dedicate yourself before it becomes fun. This means by normal standards, it requires at least three or four lessons to become reasonably proficient. Most first timers experience results only in a one time lesson that didn't work. The ski instruction industry has to look internally, for solutions, resort marketing departments can't keep producing the way they have, while the results aren't forth coming from the lessons.

I will provide examples of the challenges and solutions in forth coming installments.

Here is the response from the Vice President of Mountain Services at Welch Village, Ski Resort near Minnesota.  

"This is exactly why we no longer use traditional teaching methods (PSIA via ATS) because they are ineffective when compared to PMTS Direct Parallel. PSIA is a national organization that attempts to offer a cookie cutter solution to a widely diverse group of instructors, guests, demographics, and business models. It's a potluck approach that lacks a logical system for learning. Yes, price, marketing, communication, social media are all factors. But at the end of the day, the system of teaching guests how to use their "shaped" skis in a clear and guest-centered way is what brings people back. In my opinion, you don't convert someone for life my teaching them how to wedge down a hill with shaped skis."  Peter Zotalis

Stay tuned, More coming!!!


Anonymous said...

Excellent point! The "cost" of first YEAR skiing is greatly reduced if our guests get better faster. In other words, they will need fewer lessons to have fun without us. I've wondered sometimes if ski instructors purposely sabotage progress to insure a dependency on instructors.

Anonymous said...

Such a good comment. The "cost" of the first YEAR experience decreases immensely when we teach good technique. In other words, the new skier pays for fewer lessons to become skilled.