As east coasters know, the 15-16 ski season was one to forget as the region experienced one of the warmest and least snowy winters on record. Many resorts in the region didn’t open until January of 2016, missing the lucrative Christmas/New Years holiday period holiday entirely! This lead to a large decline in skier visits in the region. But, the east coast skier is a resilient and hearty breed, and we at Liftopia had a hunch that they didn’t just sit inside all winter and hang up the skis and boards. So, we looked at the data and tried to figure out: where did the east coast skiers end up skiing? What did they do in a winter that wasn’t?
We looked at our northeast based skiers, defined as skiers who live in the New England region and the NY/NJ/PA region. We compared the 14/15 season to the 15/16 season to see how orders on Liftopia.com changed for partners that worked with us in both seasons to ensure accurate comparisons.
Lake Tahoe saw the largest percent increase of northeast based skiers
Discussion- where did the east coast skier go?
Overall, we found a few interesting trends, some more obvious than others. We saw the number of guest days by Northeastern skiers drop by 36%. However, the region’s visits were down more significantly at 43%. So, if Northeaster skiers and riders dropped more drastically in the region than they did across our platform, one question remains: where did they go?
Four Liftopia regions had an increases of 50% or more Northeastern-based skiers. In terms of sheer numbers, Eastern Canada saw the largest increase in Northeast skiers at just under 4000, followed closely by Utah with an increase just under 3500. In terms of percent, the Lake Tahoe/Northern California region saw the largest increase at 349% year over year.r.
Furthermore, 20% of skiers from the northeast exclusively bought tickets outside their region, up from only 9% in 14-15.
In a year with less than ideal snow conditions, limited terrain and one bad break after another, devoted Northeast loyalists didn’t hang up their skis or boards. They made significantly more destination trips; a lot of them ventured north to to Quebec, while others ventured out west and made the trek out to Utah and Lake Tahoe.
The desire to ski certainly has not been extinguished in the typical northeast skier. We’re optimistic that the pent up demand in the region will translate to more early bookings and a higher demand for peak periods in 16-17. The winter of 15/16 was unprecedented and something we’re all glad to see in the rearview mirror. Start those snow dances now!