Summary:

Winter sports lovers don’t mind traveling to get great days of skiing or riding.  While many hit the road to spend a week at their dream mountain, others want to explore multiple mountains in the same trip.  We at Liftopia wanted to learn more about this second group, those seeking a ‘winter safari’ experience.

Research:

We looked at our dated ski sales from the 2015-16 season, and identified anyone who purchased products for two or more mountains in the same region as a potential ‘winter safari’ customer.  Of these, the vast majority (94%) were for products dated within a week of one another.  

Compared to our average customer, these people tend to spend more money, buy more units, and were more likely to be a repeat customer from prior seasons.  As a result, the safari-seekers represented 9% of all unique customers, but their purchases accounted for 17% of all skier visits sold on Liftopia.com.  

As a central marketplace for ski tickets, Liftopia.com provides a great solution to today’s skiers and riders who wish to explore new resorts.  Certain regions are especially suited to attract safari-seekers from all over the world.

28% of all skier visits sold into Utah over the 2015-16 season fit this ‘ski safari’ profile, the highest share for any region in North America.  Additionally, less than 2 in 10 of these skiers were Utah residents; most were visiting from another state/country, suggesting that they went on vacation specifically to ski Utah.

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We also saw this cohort make up a significant share of the visitors to ski resorts in New England (18% of all skier visits), Lake Tahoe (15%), Central Canada (14%), and Colorado (12%). As was the case with Utah, these regions contain geographic areas with a high density of destinations to choose from. Regions with lower destination density, like Eastern Canada, the Southwest, and Central & Southern California, had far fewer safari customers.  

Conclusion:

Different skiers and riders have different behaviors.  Liftopia.com allows those who wish to explore many destinations to plan their trips in advance and lock in the best price for the dates they desire.  Mountains selling lift tickets on Liftopia are participating in a central marketplace, appealing to a set of customers ready to commit to a new experience and willing to try a new mountain.  Many of our partners have responded to this demand by offering flexible dated tickets for different lengths-of-stay.  Skiers and riders have shown their willingness to go on safari in places like Utah and Vermont.  With so much high-quality terrain to cover, it’s easy to see what is drawing them in!