With all the worries about the health of the US economy, prospects for a slowdown or even recession, the current “weak” US dollar does have one advantage in that it makes our exports much cheaper – and the U.S ski industry is technically an export product, especially to the Europeans, and in particular, the Brits.
One doesn’t necessarily wish for European ski resorts to continue to Have bad winters, but it does help. The U.S. Dollar Foreign Exchange Rate is at its lowest level since August 1995, and with the British Pound now “worth” over $2.00, this makes our lodging, food and beverage, and pretty much all goods and services exceptional value to our friends across the Pond. Ironically, Europe is having some very good early season snow, so this may well offset the exchange rate advantage US ski resorts have at present.
Over the past decade, Winter Park has witnessed an ever-increasing percentage of its overall business emanating from the UK. I’m not privy to current ski area statistics, but if Britain was to be viewed as a “state”, I believe it comes in 2nd behind Colorado. Go see the article A Ski In The Park for a comparison of European ski resorts to that of North America’s Winter Park.
At the beginning of November, a further stimulus for potentially increased business from the UK came in the form of the announcement that United Airlines will commence daily non-stop flights from London Heathrow to Denver International Airport. Service is set to commence on March 30, 2008, giving plenty of time for wholesalers and the general public to plan for the 2008-09 season.
British Airways have, since 1998, provided the only non-stop service from the UK to Colorado, so now they have some competition and – for the consumer – a choice. This is great news for Colorado. Having flown transatlantic regularly for some 16 years now, I can categorically tell you that non-stop flights are the way to go. Just eliminating that domestic transfer is huge – cutting down on overall travel time by at least 5 hours, and improving personal well-being at arrival (both ends) immeasurably. Way to go United!