Mountain Travel Symposium 2019 in Whistler – a recap.
Just came a couple of weeks ago from the Mountain Travel Symposium, an event I have been working for the past six years and which I enjoy every moment of it. I noticed however, that as I am getting old, it is taking me longer to feel back human again.
The Mountain Travel Symposium (MTS for short) is not a sprint, definitely is a marathon – An event that lasts one week and for me makes me be twelve days away from home from my husband and kids. MTS is the largest mountain and ski gathering of suppliers from all over the world – ski resorts, hoteliers and service providers, with tour operators that sell skiing, also from all over the world, and ski clubs and ski councils from the USA and Canada, that travel internationally.
I am in charge of the international market and on widening the international attendees year on year. This is a part-time, but yearlong job for me. Now I have a couple of weeks to get ready and close all things from this past event before we open the early bird registration for MTS 2020. MTS 2020 will be in Squaw Valley, at the Resort of Squaw Creek, in North Lake Tahoe, CA, USA from March 29 – April 4, 2020. In May we’ll be opening registration, with the best rates available for one month only. Then rates go up four times during the year, so whoever can register early, get rates that are USD 800 cheaper than the last published rates!
But, getting back to MTS 2019, the event was in Whistler, BC. Canada. We have been In Whistler also in 2015, but the event took the Fairmont in Blackcomb. This year the event was at the Whistler Village Conference Center. I was an attendee at MTS being at the same place in 2002, when I was having my own incoming tour operator Ski Patagonia, where I was selling trips to Argentina and Chile.
Listex’s State of the UK Snowsports Market Report 2018. Listex is London International Snowsports Trade Exchange that gathers the UK andEuropean ski industry each year in May and September.
Its Forum covers lots of interesting topics, such as their
annual State of the Snowsports Market. As a marketeer, I’ve found this report
interesting as it focused in how buyers got inspired and went on to book their
ski holidays, who they trust and what is important for them when booking a ski
Here is the executive summary of the report and if you go to
the end, you’ll have a link to be able to read the entire report.
Inspiration, Information and trust:
Friends and families continue to be the most cited, and most
trusted sources of information and inspiration for skiers when choosing a
holiday. Social media continues to score very poorly, even amongst the under 35
Price, snow and ski area size continue to be the most
important factors when choosing a ski holiday destination, but below these
headliners, there has been some shifts with accommodation and food quality
making gains. Amongst the under 35’s, resort altitude scores as less important
and après-ski climbs the table, suggesting some shifts in priorities.
Alterra is expecting to sell 250,000 of the new IKON Pass while Vail Resorts stated that their sales of the EPIC Pass are up thanks mostly to the $99 military pass. This was the excerpt heard during the annual Governor’s Tourism Conference at the Talisa Hotel in Vail. The “Trends in ski” panel with Alterra’s Head of Sales Bob Stinchcomb, Vail Resorts marketing chief Kieran Cain and Powdr’s Jennifer Rudolph.
Lauren Berlamino, of Karsh Hagan, a marketing, design and tech company started the discussion with where the whole ski industry is in Colorado, noting the challenges of shorter seasons due to climate change and aging demographic. The opportunities to be had are the experiences beyond skiing and the leading the way in sustainability.
One-fifth of skiers are 55 years or older, with some of the most avid participants are aged 70 and older. Skiers and snowboarders visits in the country have increased from 8.7 million in 1996-97 to 9.2 million in 2017-18. Berlamino states that this growth does not correlate with the overall population growth over the past years.
“It kind of sounds like we’re facing an uphill battle, but really Colorado is doing amazing in this industry,” she said. “I think nobody’s better positioned than our state to continue to ride this momentum and be successful amidst all this change that we’re seeing.”
According to the National Ski Areas Association, Colorado’s share of overnight ski trips in the calendar year of 2017 was 21 percent, followed by California at 13.7 percent. Of the 53.2 million skier visits, that’s about 11 million visitors to Colorado.
Exhausted but happy participants departed South Lake Tahoe over the weekend after several intense days of buying, selling, learning, schmoozing and skiing at the 43rd Mountain Travel Symposium.
More than 1,100 participants representing 24 countries took part. Fresh snow and bright sunshine capped the week of events, and those who were there to do business said they had full schedules and lots of deals got done. Most also got in a few runs on the slopes of Heavenly Resort as well.
I was very sad to hear that Warren A. Miller, the pioneer ski movies filmmaker has passed away yesterday. He was 93, but he did have a great life. He promoted the idea of ‘pure freedom’ that is associated with skiing. He was a self-taught filmmaker who started filming himself for an annual narrated ski movie shown in small theatres. Over the years, he continued narrating all his films, his voice is very warm, and recognisable. He makes fun out of skiing and is ok of making fun out of himself. His company, Warren Miller Entertainment, has produced more than 500 adventure sport films.
EMTS, the 2nd ever European Mountain Travel Summit (EMTS), has concluded in Crans Montana, gathering 160 senior executives of the Ski Industry. Delegates from different countries in Europe, Asia and the Americas got together to have an insight on how business is going, what could be done better and to learn from peers.
The business-to-business event connects top-level executives from all over the globe for thought provoking content, a number of networking events and alpine skiing in a leading mountain resort destination.
Ski Business: At the Trade Exchange at MTS 2018, you can reach your ideal client, build brand awareness, and make connections to last a lifetime. The Trade Exchange brings together hundreds of buyers and sellers from 35+ countries in a “speed-dating-for-business” atmosphere. Watch and see why you should join us in Heavenly – South Lake Tahoe 8-14 April 2018.