Sign In:


Last Step!

Please enter your public display name and a secure password.

Plan to post in the forums? Change your default forum handle here!

Check Out Our Shop

Two New and Interesting Trends in the Ski World

Dear Avalanches, no one likes you, please go away. Wikimedia photo.

In trawling the internet, we've come across two interesting trends relevant to the ski industry: Firstly, research suggests that the average age of people dying in avalanches is increasing. Secondly, fewer Boomers are skiing, and Millennials aren't picking up their financial slack.

RELATED: Teton Backcountry Alliance Offering Free Pass Shuttle

Now onto the first trend: The above video is a presentation by Erich Peitzsch, a doctoral student and USGS researcher. His research indicates that the average age of people killed by avalanches has risen from 27 years old during the 1950-1990 period to 34 years old during the 1990-2018 period. While it's impossible to determine the reason for this change with any certainty, Peitzsch puts forth several theories. Without drawing any definitive conclusions, he leans towards the explanation that a general increase in the age at which people marry and have children is allowing more 30-39-year-olds to spend more time in avalanche terrain. Considering that most avalanche courses teach that 20-29-year-olds are the age group most likely to die in avalanches, this is an interesting revelation. 

While the presentation doesn't have a particular call to action, it's a good reminder to stay up to date with avalanche education, and to not become a statistic— even with copious experience.

Boomers are aging out of the skiing population. Andrew Maguire, AARP photo.

In other news, Boomers, many of whom are now in their 70s, are skiing less and less, according to the National Ski Areas Association. It takes two Millennial skiers to make up for the income lost in the retirement of a Boomer skier, also according to the NSAA. Unfortunately, Millennials haven't been flocking to the slopes, which some attribute to a lack of resources and plethora of alternative recreational activities.

Are ski resorts a dying industry? Based on this information, the answer seems to be a resounding "Yes." Luckily, trends can change, and if the worst comes to pass we'll still have the backcountry.

About The Author

stash member Zack Skovron

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, now living in Jackson, WY. I’m an avid skier, biker, hiker, climber, and fisherman. Outside of sports, my major interests focus on public policy surrounding land use and energy systems.

Great news on the second topic. 1990s ski resort conglomerate apocalypse redux.