By David & Ann Schissler – Last season, trying to keep up with how the pandemic would be handled by ski resorts was a moving target for everyone. I remember being on a Zoom call with several ski and resort associations listening to how they were anticipating navigating so many unknowns. What was the safest way to sell tickets, give lessons, ride lifts, rent equipment, park, eat? Do we need masks, will there be temperature checks in the parking lot, do we close the bar! Every facet of a day on the hill had to be re-thought and re-engineered. We all know the answers now.
In my experience, all-in-all it turned out to be a more typical season than it may have been. Of course we all adapted. My Sienna van was my base camp, thank God for RFID lift tickets and passes, and it took some trial and error to determine just what type of mask was the best (after soaking several types of paper masks from exhaling I went with a double thick cloth mask that worked rather well). But many of the most important aspects of being on the mountain didn’t change. Once on a lift it was all about the terrain, the snow quality, the turns. You could almost leave the pandemic behind.
Have you wondered how the ski industry in general did in a truly unique season? Equipment sales are a trusted indicator. The Snowsports Industries of America (SIA) hired a sports research firm, NPD Group Sports, to find out just how the equipment segments of the industry did. Below are some select charts from their presentation. You’ll see how well skis, snowboards, helmets, goggles, touring equipment and general snow equipment fared last season. If you like data and charts you’ll love this! Take a look.