Chris Diamond’s first book, Ski Inc., had just hit bookshelves in December 2016 when shock waves reverberated through the ski resort landscape. In early 2017, the Alterra Mountain Company emerged to challenge Vail Resorts’ supremacy, eventually buying 15 resorts, partnering with another 25-plus, and launching the Ikon Pass to compete with the Epic Pass. The story behind Alterra’s rise is remarkable, as is Vail Resorts’ counter-offensive in the form of its own buying spree, which most recently included the acquisition of the 17 ski areas of Peak Resorts.
Through countless interviews, hundreds of sources, and deep firsthand experience, Diamond dissects this unprecedented upheaval, in which the business has been radically, disruptively, and yet positively transformed.
When Diamond started this Ski Inc. 2020 sequel, he thought it would be primarily the story of how these “Big Two” resort companies suddenly came to control more than half of the U.S. ski resort business through their mega-passes, and what it means for skiers and snowboarders. But as he dug deeper, he discovered dynamic trajectories among the next three largest ski conglomerates (Boyne Resorts, POWDR and Peak Resorts, now part of Vail), plus ingenuity and innovation at a host of small- and medium-sized resorts, dozens of which are chronicled in the book. Besides the widespread success of value season passes, which trade early commitment for dramatically reduced pricing, resorts large and small have polished their operations. The success starts with passionate leadership and extends to every line item. Resorts now avoid risky real-estate projects; vigorously market to and build relationships with digitally savvy customers; sharpen margins across all departments; and improve the product in every way. For an industry that historically suffered through peaks and valleys with the weather and economy, the result today is an impressive bottom-line consistency that has drawn investor interest worldwide.
There are daunting hurdles ahead, with climate change and sluggish participation trends at the top of the disrupter list, but the future is arguably brighter than ever. With season passes at circa-1970s prices, while providing access to dozens of resorts rather than just one, there’s never been a better time to be a skier or snowboarder. This book is an eye-opener, a deep, colorful dive beneath the headlines, for any skier or rider who wants to understand today’s landscape. And it’s a must-read for anyone who works–or wants to work–in the ski industry.
What readers say about Ski Inc. 2020:
“This book dissects the tectonic shift occurring in the North American ski industry and its significance for resorts, mountain communities, and skiers, delivering a detailed and insightful perspective on the transformation of the business of skiing.”
Bill Jensen, CEO and Partner, Telluride Ski and Golf Resort
“The industry response from the large resorts down to the mom-and-pop ski areas has been strategic and, for some, simply a matter of survival. Chris’s knowledge of the industry and thorough research provide the reader a snapshot into the dynamics of our industry.”
Jerry Blann, former President, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
“Ski Inc. 2020 is a must-read for anyone who wants to make a career in the ski industry and have an upper hand, or someone who wants a deeper knowledge of the ins and outs of the industry because of their passion for skiing and snowboarding.”
Megan Collins, Communications Specialist, Snowbasin
“This book demonstrates that if we apply critical thinking, curiosity and innovation capital, the future of our industry has no inevitability.”
Amy Ohran, President and GM, Boreal and Soda Springs
“Through countless interviews, hundreds of sources, and deep first-hand experience, Diamond has woven a must-read narrative for anyone hoping to make their career in ski.”
Gregg Blanchard, SVP Strategy, Inntopia; Founder, Slopefillers.com