Skiing is pricing me out of the market
I started skiing when I was 14 (back in the devoian era) and have kept at it ever since. I got my first pair of skis in 1972 (a pair of really thrashed Head metal skis that I got for $10 from a neighbor) and have had my own equipment since then. I've skied at a lot of places from small to large and easy to hard. Now that I'm on the wrong side of 50, I don't take a double black (experts only) run for my warm up run, the knees need some time to limber up. I still do the double blacks, but I have to be on my game for them.
But something changed this season. For the first time since those Head metal skis, I'll be skiing on rented equipment. My boots are old enough to vote and have given magnificent service, but the bottom plate has gotten too warn for them to be usable anymore. So I planned on buying a nice new pair of boots and having them custom fitted at the good ski shop in town and probably buy a new pair of skis, since the old pair are getting pretty chewed. (The bindings are still good, I only buy top of the line bindings and scuba regulators, they can hurt you.)
But as I started shopping, I found the prices outrageous. Middle of the road boots were $350. High end were $500. Skis were ridiculous with many of them heading towards $700 or more. I went to the Sniagrab sale, and found little that interested me and less that was anything like a fit.
The place where I used to rent my daughter's skis when she was growing and needed larger boots twice a season has a pretty reasonable seasonal rental, so I went there. The rental dude (who was very friendly and helpful) found a pair of boots that fit pretty well after a few tries. After that finding skis was easy. The whole package with damage waiver set me back $160 for middle of the road boots and skis. And I can keep them until the middle of April.
Now this brings up the larger issue. I make more than the median wage. I really like skiing. But I'm finding it too damn expensive. The rack rate at the local resorts is now in the $70-90 per day range. Being a local I can find some deals, but it is still going to hit me in the $45-55 range. Add in a $20 lunch (ski resort food has gotten much better, but really expensive) and this is heading towards $100 per person per day. That can really take it out of you fast.
I'm not sure what the answer is. The resorts may be on the edge of the spiral where they have an elastic demand and as they raise prices attendance falls even more. The weakness of the dollar versus the euro may help the big resorts bring in people from Europe (who can then be charged rediculous prices) but the smaller non-destination resorts may be hurting.
My answer may be to go skiing less and snow shoeing more. I can do that for the price of some gasoline and a sack lunch in some really beautiful areas in the local state and national parks. Not quite as exciting, but amazing non the less.
Chris - not investing in ski stocks this year