Ski enthusiasts, what to expect this season?

Lack of staff, declining turnover, inflation: the challenges of ski resorts will inevitably impact your experience on the slopes.

The popularity of alpine skiing is undeniable: 90% of its followers say they want to continue practicing their activity this winter, according to a survey by the Association des stations de ski du Québec (ASSQ) carried out in August-September 2022 among 11,500 respondents. This same probe, however, indicates that the cost of an outing could dampen their enthusiasm.

Despite the gloomy economic context, Yves Juneau, President and CEO of the ASSQ, is optimistic for the next season. It must be said that Quebec ski centers are local destinations. No obligation to pay for accommodation to enjoy it!

For a successful experience, it is nevertheless better to anticipate the impacts of the economic situation.

Fewer services

Ski resorts are not spared by the labor shortage, and are struggling to recruit seasonal employees to complete their teams. They are faced with both a lack of instructors, especially in snowboarding, and a drop in their availability in terms of the number of hours worked. Result: the courses are already (almost) full in some places, such as Bromont or Ski Montcalm. Book now if you are interested!

To a lesser extent, recruitment difficulties are also felt in the slope catering and maintenance teams. Changes to hours of operation are therefore to be expected. For example, your resort could reduce the number of night skiing days, such as Vallée du Parc, or restrict restaurant services to certain hours. 

More random snowfall

Yves Juneau points out that it is more and more common to have to make snow to compensate for the vagaries of the weather linked to global warming. It is far from being financially neutral for ski resorts. Energy costs, which include snowmaking, represent between 14% and 17% of their operating costs.

If the temperatures are too mild, it is possible that few slopes will be open during the holidays. In addition, the snow cover could vary according to mild spells. These are often followed by severe cold, favorable to snowmaking. But the twenty or so stations that adhere to Hydro-Québec’s Power Demand Management Option (GDP) cannot use snow cannons during peak periods because of their high energy consumption.

Few novelties  

The likelihood that your favorite ski center will offer a mountain of novelties this year is low. According to the most recent economic and financial study of ski resorts, their turnover has shrunk by 22% with the pandemic, leading to a 72% reduction in their investments, now mainly focused on snowmaking.

However, exceptions exist. For example, Belle-Neige is launching a new quad chairlift to replace the current double lift. At Sommet Gabriel, the new four-seater ski lift should be in service by December 1 , 2022.

Higher rates

According to the ASSQ, the increase in the price of ski tickets is 3 to 10% this year. It is linked to supply difficulties, the increase in gasoline and salary adjustments, which increase operating costs.

This increase varies according to the regions and the size of the ski centres. Do you know that the average price for an adult ticket on weekends is around $49

To take advantage of the slopes without spending too much, he recommends favoring small mountains located in the region, for example Saint-Raymond-de-Portneuf or La Tuque, and buying a season pass if Find more tips for skiing without breaking the bank in the blog of my colleague Clémence Lamarche. Good season!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *