Soon at the end of the trail, the first ski season without health restrictions in Quebec resorts promises to be “correct” at best in financial terms.
In fact, report station leaders contacted by The Pressafter a “difficult” start to the season during the holiday season, the influx of skiers attracted by the favorable snow and weather conditions since mid-January is barely sufficient to catch up with the volume of business anticipated after two seasons handicapped by the pandemic.
Investments in the Eastern Townships
In the Eastern Townships, for example, Charles Desourdy, president of the Bromont Montagne d’Experiences station, says: “We expect to make our revenue budgets” from ticket sales and services, but with a lower profit than forecast due to numerous additional costs.
Starting with the extent of the snowmaking work needed at the start of the season to open a few trails during the holiday season to accommodate subscribers, who account for three-quarters of ski revenues in Bromont.
But also, says Mr. Desourdy, it was necessary to manage the budgetary impact of the strong inflation of the operating and labor costs related to the services in the station.
For the sale of day tickets, the influx of skiers attracted by the good snow and weather conditions since the end of January and a relatively strong spring break compensated for the weakness of the holiday season.
Charles Desourdy, President of the Bromont Mountain Experience Station
On the other hand, among the other services offered to skiers, he notes a “considerable drop” in expenses for catering, as well as a volume of business in equipment rental “a little lower than expected”.
Nevertheless, despite a lackluster ski season financially, the Bromont resort is continuing to start work on an investment of nearly $11 million to replace and increase the capacity of one of the two ski lifts. of its “Versant du Lac”.
This project is receiving $2 million in financial assistance from the Government of Quebec’s Tourist Attractions Development Support Program (PADAT).
Elsewhere in the Eastern Townships, Jacques Demers, president of the Corporation Ski et Golf Mont-Orford, reports a ski season “about 5% late” in terms of ticket sales. .
“Due to the lack of snow, the holiday season was very difficult. But the arrival of more favorable snow conditions and weather from mid-January enabled us to catch up with a series of almost perfect weekends and a very good spring break,” says Mr Demer.
Moreover, this difficult start to the season due to the lack of snow serves as an additional reason for the managers of the Mont-Orford station to confirm an investment of 2 million to increase the snowmaking capacity by 25% for the next season. ski.
“This is a priority improvement so that we can open up a few leads during the holiday season and thus better respond to the continued growth of our seasonal subscriber base,” points out Jacques Demers.
Laurentians and Quebec region
In the Laurentians region, north of Montreal, the management of the Mont-Tremblant Resort Association affirms that “traffic is at the rendezvous since the American and Ontario clientele were back in numbers similar to the pre-pandemic years, while like Quebecers.
“It is this interesting combination of the number of visitors and their origin that is helping to generate demand in the various related services this season. [au ski] “, indicates the management of Mont-Tremblant in a brief email response to questions from The Press.
To the Les Sommets group, which includes five ski resorts in the Laurentians (Saint-Sauveur, Avila, Gabriel, Olympia and Morin-Heights) as well as the Edelweiss resort in Outaouais, the director of marketing and main spokesperson for the company, Christian Dufour, was not available to answer questions from The Press during the preparation of this report.
In the Quebec region, the regional management of the Alberta company RCR, which operates the Stoneham and Mont-Sainte-Anne ski resorts, reports a “financially difficult season” due to mechanical breakdowns and bad weather. in December, before and during the important holiday season.
At Mont-Sainte-Anne, the stall of a gondola from the resort’s main lift on December 10 forced the closure of all lifts for inspection until January 8.
Two months later, repair and safety recertification work on the gondola is still ongoing. In addition, the Mont-Sainte-Anne resort is preparing to host a World Cup snowboard cross (snowboard) race on March 25 and 26.
As for the number of skiers, Hughes Leclerc, responsible for communications at the regional management of RCR in Quebec, affirms: “It turns out to be correct according to our reduced expectations during this special and financially bad year at Mont-Sainte-Anne. »
As for the Stoneham ski resort, the holiday season was seriously disrupted by a storm on December 23 and a power outage that lasted three days.
Subsequently, skier traffic recovered somewhat despite the favorable snow and weather conditions observed since January.
Curiously, the traffic turned out to be very good during the spring break in the Montreal region, but more difficult than expected during the spring break in the Quebec City region.
Hughes Leclerc, communications manager at RCR’s regional office in Quebec
“We will have to wait to analyze the complete data of the season to try to explain this situation,” he adds.
Moreover, at Groupe Le Massif, which manages the famous ski resort located on the banks of the river between Quebec and Charlevoix, we report a ski season “pampered in terms of natural precipitation” and an end to the season in “Spring skiing that promises to be exceptional”.
“Skiers and snowboarders are well and truly there this winter. And the international clientele is back on our slopes, in particular Americans and Brazilians staying at Club Med”, indicates the management of Le Massif Group in an email response to questions from The Press.
As for the maintenance of the daily ski ticket sales quota that had been introduced during the pandemic, Le Massif affirms that the permanent adoption of this commercial practice “allows it to offer a quality experience, both in the mountains and in [les] various points of service, to the delight of [la] daily clientele and [des] seasonal subscribers.
Ski resorts in Quebec
- Revenue from winter activities: approximately $318 million
- Total ridership: approximately 6.3 million days/ski
- Subscribers: approximately 331,000 (for 60% of the total number of days/ski)
- Volume of daily tickets: approx. 2.5 million
- Average revenue per skier: approximately $51 per visit
Source: 2021-2022 season report, Association of Quebec Ski Resorts (ASSQ)