What You Ought to Know About Destination Mountain Travel...
Jan. 13th 2016
Ski Industry
The 2015/16 season has brought varying snow conditions to the ski industry.  Below you will find articles that synopsize the conditions in various regions and the opportunities and challenges they face.
Skiing World Cup show moves forward with almost no snow
World Cup Skiing Skating on thin ice may be just another tricky challenge for recreational skaters. But skiing on thin snow is an occupational hazard for top skiers seeking victories in the Skiing World Cup. When the prestigious series of competitions organized by the World Skiing Federation opened new events in Adelboden, Switzerland this past weekend, the reported snow level at the base was under one inch.  Last night, a new weather system brought a much needed six inches of fresh snow to the ski area. But sophisticated snowmaking equipment has been essential to keeping the resort in operation and keeping the Skiing World Cup events on track
Source:  examiner.com. 

Snowmaking Sunday's rain was no match for the snowmakers of New England ski resorts. And Mother Nature's quick shift back to cold for this week gave them the backup they needed to look toward the Martin Luther King holiday weekend with great confidence.
While the rain did fall hard Sunday, most resorts had put down enough base to avoid a washout. And now, with smart grooming and snowmaking going on almost around the clock, many are hoping to increase their trail count by the time die-hard skiers and riders head north for this must-go weekend.
"Resorts have taken advantage of every possible snowmaking opportunity this year, and we've more than tripled our open terrain since New Year's Day.

Source:  Boston Herald. 
El Niņo brings more snow to Southern California ski resorts - and a need for more workers Night Skiing
The El Niņo rainstorms brought a blanket of fresh snow to the resort in Wrightwood - a welcome change after several years of drought, said John McColly, the chief marketing officer at Mountain High.
"Every thing is great up here, hunky dory, but we could definitely use more employees," McColly told KPCC.
McColly figures the resort could use as many as 100 more workers right now. That's twice as many folks who work there in the off season. But when the snow is falling plentifully and business is booming, he says the place can employ as many as 1,000 people.

Source:  SCPR.org. 
After several years of drought conditions, ski resorts out West enjoyed a thriving business over the holidays, fueled by an abundance of snowfall, ideal temperatures and pent-up demand. "This year's holiday period was really strong," said Kevin Somes, general manager of Snow Valley, located in the San Bernardino Mountains outside of Los Angeles. "We have a lot of people who probably haven't taken their skis or snowboards out of their storage or closet for a couple of years." For the East Coast, it was another story, however, as winter's late start put a damper on the usual holiday crowds and left some resorts with cancellations.

Source:  CNBC.com. 
Lake Louise On last years Family Day,after weeks of unseasonable warmth, officials at Castle Mountain Resort gave up. In the middle of what should have been the busiest time of the ski season, the resort, having received less than a third of its usual annual snowfall, closed for the year. "The weather has been against us," said general manager Brad Brush in a news release.The mild winter took other ski-industry casualties too. Resorts throughout Canada and the U.S., including Mount Washington and Schweitzer, closed early. Hemlock Resort near Vancouver didn't open at all.

Source:  Calgary Herald. 
Mountain Town News
Rent by owner market getting more professional
For Rent by Owner The online lodging business has exploded in the past few years. And, like most things on the Internet, after a wide-open start, the business seems to be maturing. It's also becoming more regulated.
The town of Vail earlier in 2015 passed limited regulations on rent-by-owner businesses. People who rent their homes or other units were already required to pay town lodging taxes. As of Jan. 1, those people will need a town business license.  As of Friday, town of Vail Finance Director Kathleen Halloran said in an email that the town already has added about 54 of those licenses this year, and that new applications are coming in at a rate of about five per week.

Source:  Vail Daily. 
As if hip mountain outposts such as Whistler, B.C., and Aspen, Col., didn't have enough to worry about with climate change cutting into ski season, resort towns are now facing a hurdle that might be tougher to deal with than warmer weather - people. Steve Skadron, the mayor of Aspen, says he can handle climate change effects such as a shorter ski season, more frost-free days, insect outbreaks, more invasive species and even increased fire risk. What's really tough to deal with is the influx of a new breed of moneyed class into his community, which has led to the "deterioration of mountain town culture" and a corresponding decline in green values.

Source:  cbc.ca. 
You probably think that your mountain town is special. It is, but what is happening there is often happening in other mountains towns and valleys, too. This is how I linked the dots of individual mountain towns during the last year, in my view the top 10 stories of 2015. El Niņo and snow have returned, but what a crummy winter it was for the Sierra Nevada. Washington state got plenty of rain, but it was too warm for snow. At Mt. Baker, the ski area closed temporarily on March 8-and never reopened. Droughts come and go, but warmer temperatures overall seem to be here to stay.

Source:  Summit Daily. 
DestiMetrics in the News
Early-season skiers flood Colorado resorts, but room bookings lag
Photo Early-season skier visits to Colorado's high country surged from the end of October through Dec. 31, but room bookings through the rest of the season are lagging.
Visits to 21 Colorado Ski country member resorts were up 10 percent compared with the same period last season, pacing 13 percent ahead of the five-year average, the trade association reported Tuesday.
For comparison, visits in the first part of the banner 2013-14 ski season, which saw a record 12.6 million skier visits, were about 6.7 percent ahead of the five-year average.

Source:  The Denver Post. 
Upcoming ASSEMBLY packs agenda (and audience) with industry experts
Assembly Logo It's just over 2 weeks away and The ASSEMBLY continues to add even more mountain travel and ski industry experts to their already impressive list of faculty.  But what's even more impressive, a peek at the attendees boasts a long list of destination marketing organization executives, municipality decision makers,  lodging property marketers and trade association administrators. 
The January 29th event at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver currently has almost 50 presenters, 4 general sessions, 12 workshops and a plethora of networking opportunities.  Plus attendees are able to attend the SIA SnowShow where the latest and greatest in outdoor apparel and gear will be displayed. 

For more information or to register go to 
Americans leave plenty of their vacation days on the table at the end of each year, but that doesn't mean they aren't traveling. More than 100 million of us will hit the road this holiday season alone-an all-time high. Although the majority of Americans choose to get away within the U.S., close to 70 million travel abroad each year, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Here's a look at the stories that defined the travel experience in 2015. This summer, Disney banned selfie sticks from all of its theme parks after a photo-related incident shut down a roller coaster for more than an hour. 

Source:  Time.com. 
The dollar is strong which is great news for Americans headed abroad and tough luck for foreign visitors coming to the States. It's also bad for the U.S. tourism industry. Jobs and big money are on the line, for businesses large and small that depend on foreigners choosing America as a destination and spending big when they arrive. International visitors tend to stay longer and spend more than American tourists, meaning they have outsized impact on the U.S. tourism economy. The realities of exchange rates mean the industry has to do things differently.

Source:  Marketplace. 
Travel brands catering to millennials have also been quick to assume this generation is cash-strapped, designing products and experiences with this purchase behavior in mind. As it turns out, the assumption about this generation's lower incomes leading to lower travel spending doesn't hold up. Consistent with millennials' prioritization of experiences over other purchases, their travel spending often outpaces spending on other items. "They've spent the second-most on vacations in the last 12 months among the four generational categories, and they're looking to spend the second-most among the four categories in the next 12 months," said Steve Cohen, VP of insights at MMGY in a 2014 interview with Hotel News Now.

Source:  Skift.com. 
The big change in customer service in 2016 will be that we won't have to talk to actual humans nearly as often ... or ever if we really don't want to. "The primary way people interact with one another will become Web chat, text message, and Facebook Messenger. Those will become the preferred ways that people interact with a business," predicts Hotel Tonight co-founder Sam Shank. Hotel Tonight launched one of our favorite hotel innovations this year with its Aces system, a chat feature that connects guests with the company's team of insiders for access to everything from local tips to recommendations to room and hotel requests.

Source:  Yahoo.com. 
Airline Industry
In 2008, Friedman Memorial Airport averaged 10 commercial flights per day. This year, it averaged nearly four, while increasing seat capacity and passenger counts. The reduction in flights is common practice in the airline industry, Mead & Hunt consultant Ron McNeill told the Friedman Memorial Airport Authority board in an air-service update Dec. 1.  "About a third of the flights were eliminated between 2008 and 2015," he said. "Seats per departure were growing. That's what is happening in the whole industry, eliminating the smaller aircraft and putting larger regional jets in."

Source:  Mtexpress.com. 
Consumer confidence
improved in December after a November dip, the Conference Board said Tuesday. The index hit 96.5 in December. That's up from the November reading, which was revised up to 92.6 from 90.4. Thomson Reuters analysts expected a reading of 93.8 for December. "As 2015 draws to a close, consumers' assessment of the current state of the economy remains positive, particularly their assessment of the job market," Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board, said in a statement. "Looking ahead to 2016, consumers are expecting little change in both business conditions and the labor market.

Source:  CNBC. 

ASSY logo 
Destination Summer
Managing the Peaks and Valleys 

January 29, 2016
The ASSEMBLY is just a couple weeks away.  The agenda is packed, the attendee list continues to grow.  This is the not-to-miss event for leaders in the mountain travel industry.  For more information, please see related newsletter article below.

Registration fees are currently $265/person but various promotional rates are available through our partners. 
All promo codes will expire this Friday, January 15th. 
DestiMetrics Subscribers will always receive the best rate available.  Login to www.DestiMetrics.com to obtain your promo code for $75 off.

Rates will increase on Saturday.

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Mountain Real Estate Stats & News

Interested in the status of real estate markets in mountain resorts/towns in the western US and Canada?  The Western Mountain Resort Alliance (WMRA) produces a quarterly newsletter with relevant news articles and statistics from their members, who include the board of relators in Whistler, Sun Valley, Lake Tahoe, Steamboat, Sun Valley, Park City & Jackson Hole.  Click for most recent the WMRA Newsletter & Statistics.
Upcoming presentations and appearances

January 28

January 29
Denver, CO

Note: If you're planning on attending any of these events and would like to schedule a time to meet, please contact Katie Barnes at kbarnes@destimetrics.com or 
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 Volume 73