April 21, 2013

Skiing in Maine: It's best to keep a balance between 'sport' and 'business'

By Josh Christie

(Continued from page 1)

With all the news of declining visits and flat growth, there are bright spots. Some particularly promising stats have come from Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, an annual drive to bring new people to the slopes with discounted beginner packages.

The initiative, started in 2009, brought 153,000 new folks to ski areas in January -- an increase of 50,000 over 2012, and a far cry from the 20,000 participants when the program started.

The huge number is an encouraging sign. It suggests that while there are deterrents -- travel, expense, weather -- the desire to participate hasn't disappeared.

Here in the Northeast (and Maine in particular), where skier visits and participation have declined less than in other parts of the country, we're incredibly lucky to have a mix of different models serving skiers and snowboarders. From corporate ownership to community management to partnerships like the MRA, Maine is in many ways a laboratory for the ski business. Groups like Winterkids get kids started skiing, Gould and CVA turn them into world-class athletes, and Ski Maine strives to make skiing more affordable for everyone.

My father has confided to me that the easiest way to get disillusioned with the sport of skiing is to get too caught up in the business of skiing. Digging into the wax and wane of annual or decennial ski stats, it's easy to see where this sentiment came from. So I'll leave the deeper analysis to experts.

Happily, if you're looking at the skiing, it would be hard to call this season anything but a rousing success.

Josh Christie is a freelance writer and lifetime outdoors enthusiast. He shares column space in Outdoors with his father, John Christie. Josh can be reached at:

joshua.j.christie@gmail.com

 

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)


 

Blogs

More PPH Blogs

Winter sports 2013-2014

High School Football 2013

Fall sports photos