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Skiing Is on the Skids

Millennials aren’t as invested in the sport as boomers have been

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Boomers now represent only 21 percent of all skiers and snowboarders.
Paula Solloway/Alamy

The lifts are a little lighter these days at many ski and snowboard resorts. The reason? Millennials aren’t hitting the slopes as often and for as long as boomers tend to do.

Industry leaders are concerned.

Jim Powell, vice president of marketing at the chamber of commerce in Park City, Utah, told the Park Record newspaper that the numbers have flattened.

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“Skiing is not a growing sport,” he told the paper. “We have a problem — the baby boomers are aging out. And they have been a big source of skier days.”

According to the National Ski Areas Association, boomers (ages 52-70) represent 21 percent of all skiers and snowboarders, down in the past decade from 36 percent. The millennials’ share is growing, but they don’t ski as often and take shorter trips.

Powell said that for every boomer who retires from the slopes, two millennials are needed to replace the income generated by the older skier.

Among the reasons: Millennials have too many other activities demanding their time, they tend to have more debt, and they’re working long and tiring hours.

Resorts are trying to lure them in with advertisements promoting not only the slopes but other activities.

Millennials “are looking for different kinds of adventures,” Powell told the newspaper. “The boomers were more, ‘Hey … we ski every day on vacation. That’s what we do.' ”

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