bulletin board
events calendar
business directory

best friend
news briefs

Follow Us
Facebook youtube


Up Year for Visitors
Down year for ski pass sales

Lack of snow is being blamed for a more than 25 percent drop in the number of daily ski trail passes being sold this winter compared with the same time last year, according to Danica Ready, program manager for the Methow Valley Sport Trail Association.

mvsta season passThe new weekday only season pass was popular this year, helping to offset lower day pass sales.

But there is good skiing to be had despite MVSTA’s ability to groom only about half the trail system, she added, and those who field questions from tourists and would-be visitors need to help spread the word. Ready spoke at the Thursday (Jan. 9) Winthrop Chamber of Commerce meeting.

She advised her audience to check the grooming report at to see where the good conditions are. “If we groomed it last night, we feel good about it,” she added.

The MVSTA, which operates the largest cross-country ski trail system in North America, “generates 100 percent of its fee-for-service income in three months,” she said. She described the business as “a bit like farming snow,” and said it was able “to put money away the last couple of years so we’re okay.”

Season pass sales remained strong and “on a par with last year,” Ready told Grist after the meeting. Lifetime pass sales were down a bit, but the new weekday-only season pass, which had to be purchased in November, was popular, she said.

The trend through the Christmas holiday period was for people to purchase one-day, instead of the usual three-day, passes, Ready told chamber members. But after finding that conditions “were pretty good out there,” many returned to buy additional ski time, she said.

Mazama, where most trails are groomed, was the holiday-income bright spot. Ready said ticket sales, lessons and equipment rentals were solid there. “The ski school in Mazama had one of its best years in terms of lessons and rentals,” she added.

Ready also said ski conditions in the Rendezvous have “been fabulous” and that biking and hiking trails have been open that usually are closed by snow.

Kristin Smith, who does marketing for MVSTA, told the audience that the Methow Valley has more trails open than any other cross-country ski area in America. “I think it was still a very good holiday season,” she said.

Marketing Report

“We never have had more visitors in the Methow Valley than we did in 2013,” Smith told chamber members in her report.

She estimates that there were 74,000 filled motel nights in 2013, most of them between Memorial Day and Labor Day. That’s about a 5,000-night increase over 2012.

Smith added that she is still waiting for year-end totals that will show what the total 3 percent hotel-motel tax revenue generated by those occupancy numbers will be.


see past stories in the archive >>

Have a comment? >>