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Survey finds nearly a third of Coloradans considering not skiing due to coronavirus

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December 2, 2020, 12:21 pm

A new survey conducted by Magellan Strategies found that nearly a third of adult skiers and snowboarders “are considering not skiing at all this season due to the coronavirus, with 14% strongly not considering skiing or snowboarding at all and 17% somewhat not considering.”

Magellan CEO David Flaherty sent the following email on Wednesday: “Today Magellan Strategies released a survey of 788 adult skiers and snowboarders in Colorado. The focus of this survey was to measure and understand how the ski/snowboard community in Colorado is approaching  the upcoming season regarding the coronavirus, health and safety policies and ski resort reservation systems.

“The survey includes many other insights that the ski resort industry and snow sport enthusiasts may find interesting. To view and download the survey summary, toplines, presentation and verbatim responses, just click the button above.  Enjoy and pray for a safe and snowy season!”

To review and download the full survey results, click here, and here’s an excerpt of some of the findings:

Survey Overview:

This is a summary of a survey of 788 adult skiers and snowboarders in Colorado. The interviews were conducted from November 10th to 16th, 2020 and the survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.49% at the 95% confidence interval. The interviews were conducted by sending a text invitation to individuals and the results were not weighted.

Survey Objectives:

The objectives of this survey project were to measure and understand the opinions of the Colorado ski and snowboarding community regarding the coronavirus and its impact on the upcoming season. In particular, we attempted to measure awareness and understanding of ski resort new rules, procedures and reservation systems. The survey also includes several open-ended questions to capture general thoughts and opinions about this very unique ski season due to the coronavirus.

Key Findings:

  • Thirty-one percent of adult skiers and snowboarders are considering not skiing at all this season due to the coronavirus, with 14% strongly not considering skiing or snowboarding at all and 17% somewhat not considering. Female respondents were more likely to consider not skiing at all than male respondents.
  • Respondents who were considering not skiing or snowboarding at all were asked to describe their reasons why. The most common themes that emerged were concerns others will not follow the health and safety guidelines, frustrations with resort reservation systems, and money being “tight” because of lost hours or income due to the coronavirus.
  • Sixty percent of respondents were very (23%) or somewhat familiar (37%) with new rules and safety procedures at their primary ski resort. Not surprisingly, local residents who live in mountain communities were much more likely to be familiar (76% very or somewhat) with the new rules compared to respondents who live on the Front Range.
  • One interesting observation is the familiarity of the new safety rules appear to be correlated with people who have purchased a ski pass (67% very or somewhat familiar with rules) compared to respondents who have not purchased a ski pass (49% very or somewhat familiar with rules).
  • Sixty-nine percent of respondents were very or somewhat confident the new rules and safety procedures will keep themselves, family members, and employees safe from the coronavirus. Only 11% of respondents were not confident at all the new safety procedures would keep them safe from the coronavirus.
  • Respondents were asked to describe rules and safety procedures that would give them confidence they were protected from the coronavirus. The most common suggestions included social distancing in lift lines, cleaning and sanitizing bathrooms, lodges, lifts and gondolas and mask wearing (covering the nose and mouth). Other suggestions included expanding outdoor seating, tables, and food service, limiting numbers of people on shuttle busses and only allowing friends and family on the lifts. Finally, some said having a zero-tolerance policy and not being afraid to enforce the rules should be encouraged.
  • The survey attempted to measure skier and snowboarder awareness of their preferred ski resort’s reservation policy. Just under half, 49% of all respondents were either very familiar (21%) or somewhat familiar (28%) with their preferred resort’s reservation policy. The 50% of other respondents were either not too familiar (25%) or not familiar at all (25%) with their preferred resort’s reservation policy.
  • Respondents were asked if they trusted elected officials to make the right public health decisions regarding keeping resorts open or closing them down for a period of time. Among all respondents, 62% said they trusted elected officials to make the right public health decisions and 31% did not.
  • Forty-four percent of respondents said they were either very likely (24%) or somewhat likely (20%) to eat lunch, dine, or drink indoors at a ski resort when the weather turns cold and outside seating is not an option. Twenty-two percent of respondents were not too likely to eat indoors in cold weather and 32% were not likely at all.
  • The survey measured interest in attempting a backcountry experience for the first time. Among all respondents, 62% said they had skied or snowboarded in a backcountry area and 38% had not. Among the 38% of respondents that had not experienced the backcountry, only 17% said they had a strong interest or plans to experience backcountry this season.
  • Among respondents who intend to experience the backcountry for the first time, 26% intended to take an avalanche safety course, 12% intended to buy avalanche safety gear and 42% plan on doing both. Sixteen percent of respondents did not plan on doing either.

Ski & Snowboard Sample Demographic Observations

The first survey question asked respondents to identify if they were more of a skier or a snowboarder. Among all respondents, 65% mostly or only skied and 26% mostly or only snowboarded. Eight percent of respondents said they skied or snowboarded equally. Less than 10% of respondents aged 55 or older snowboarded, compared to 38% of respondents aged 26 to 44. The population subgroup with the highest percentage of snowboarders was among men aged 18 to 34, at 41%.

31% of Ski & Snowboard Community Considering Skipping Season

The survey measured the percentage of skiers and snowboarders that are considering not skiing at all this season due to the coronavirus. Among all respondents, 31% are not considering skiing or snowboarding at all this season, with 14% strongly considering skipping the season, and 17% somewhat considering skipping it. Population subgroups that have the highest percentage of “season skippers” include residents of the Front Range (42%), seniors aged 65 and older (39%), women 35 to 64 (35%), and individuals who ski 1 to 10 days a season (43%). Among all male respondents, only 27% were less likely to skip the season, as well as 26% of locals and 19% of men aged 35 to 44.

For more survey findings, click here.

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