Mountains: World report of the winter season

2022 International report on snow and mountain tourism; World analysis of the winter season 2020/21

The 2022 international report on snow and mountain tourism was just unveiled at the opening of the International Mountain Planet Exhibition conference in Grenoble on April 26, 2022. The 14th edition of this report shows of the winter season 2020/21, a season such as the branch has never experienced. Full of differences, as ski resorts remained completely closed in some countries due to the covid-19 pandemic while in other countries they had a very positive weather. This is of course seen in relatively unusual numbers.

After last season’s sudden delay in most parts of the world by the covid-19 pandemic, the 2020/21 season has brought some of the challenges for ski resorts around the world. With the emergence of new waves and new variants, governments have been forced to implement many restrictions and sometimes preventive measures. In many countries, however, panic reactions to uncertainty have been avoided when it comes to ski resorts. Prevention measures are organized, usually promptly by the branch itself. They have allowed some countries to experience high-quality ski seasons and, in some areas, attendance has even reached record levels despite restrictions. In any case, nowhere is the operation of ski resorts that have generated the appearance of clusters that have spread.

Although ski lifts are completely or very tightly locked in only 6 of the 68 countries with outdoor snow-covered ski slopes, these closures have mainly affected resorts in Alpine countries, in generally they had a major impact on global attendance. The standard classification of major ski markets has temporarily been completely reversed. Since Austria, France and Italy, which typically occupy the first ranks, are slightly offside, China found itself in second place on the podium of the 2020/21 ski days, behind the United States. , but just ahead of Japan and Switzerland.

After considering the previous ski season the worst in the millennium, with only 319.5 million skier-days recorded worldwide, the confinement of alpine ski areas lowered this figure to 201.2 million ski-days. skiers for 2020/21.

The global impact of the pandemic and attendance restrictions during the winter of 2020/21 resulted in a total decrease of 37% in skier days worldwide (compared to the 2019/20 period, which has dropped by 18% from in the former). The highest impact was of course recorded in the Alpine countries, where the decrease reached 78%. In other destinations in Europe and Central Asia, the decline was limited to approximately 32%. In the recovery in China, the Asia-Pacific region posted a 17% increase. The very good season in the United States also pushed America by 11%.


In addition to this very unique picture, other interesting elements can be noticed:

The season is longer than usual in some areas, where some resorts are still open in June in countries like Switzerland and Slovenia, where they are usually closed at this time. Despite the confinement in France, which lasted until the end of May, some ski resorts were able to offer special openings at the end of May or beginning of June, reserved for a limited number of customers, because they still have an unusual amount of snow. .in their paths.
Overseas travel restrictions have supported the growth of home attendance to levels not yet seen in some eastern countries. Russia and Romania had the best seasons in 2020/21.
The United States has registered a new enthusiasm in its populations for skiing. U.S. resorts have seen more than 1 million new or returning skiers return to levels worthy of the first decade of the century.
Due to the restrictions associated with the pandemic, the advanced online shopping model, pre-sale multi-station seasonal subscriptions and wider use of dynamic pricing continue to shape some business model changes. conventional ticketing business, while increasing the reliability of a particular revenue base for stations.
Against all odds, ski resorts during this pandemic learned the value of the customer experience. Based on the lessons learned, as well as the hope that the 2022 Winter Olympics will be fruitful for the development of winter sports in China, the industry can look to the future with confidence.

Scope: There are currently 68 countries in the world that offer equipped and snow-capped outdoor ski areas. Although snowfields are more numerous, approximately 2,000 ski resorts have been identified worldwide. Apart from the main ski destinations in terms of skier days, there are several other smaller destinations, where skiing has a long history or is thriving. The most obvious emerging destinations are Eastern Europe and China, but there are a few other small players spread around the world: Cyprus, Greece, India, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Lesotho, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Turkey and many more.

Laurent Vanat: In addition to his personal investment in the snow and mountain tourism sector, Laurent Vanat runs his own business management consulting firm, Laurent Vanat Consulting SARL. One of his specialties is to assist companies in learning their business plan. Laurent Vanat has been invited to present his report at various international conferences, including the OITAF congress in Rio, the UNWTO in Andorra, Almaty, Tbilisi and Ulsan, Asia Pacific Snow Conference – ALITEC/ ISPO in Beijing, Mountain Planet in Grenoble, the IMTA annual conference in Guiyang, various FIS meetings and the Grand Ski meetings in Chambéry, in particular.

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