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All part of the plan

LETTER: For the week of Feb. 7

Your editor has drawn attention to the increasing age and affluence of the Canadian skier/boarder (see "What will the future hold?," Pique, Jan. 31). She examined increasing costs as a cause (as exemplified by the cost of a day pass) but fails to note that the greying of the slopes is due to the business plan of the resort owners. That plan is to drive the industry up market.

There are two issues here: firstly, the resort owners want to reduce the day-trippers and casual skiers and increase "destination" tourists. (The latter are a much more lucrative demographic.)

How better (to accomplish this) than to up the cost of a day pass? And there is the added advantage that if by the increase, they can move the day-tripper to a season pass, they have gone a long way to weatherproofing the place. They've got the money whether it snows or not.

Secondly, the resorts have no wish to increase participation, as that would mean capital expenditure to increase skiable terrain. The resorts want to keep the numbers the same but drawn from a different demographic: greyer and richer. Vail Resorts spent, (it) claim(s), millions (of dollars) on "improvements" to Whistler Blackcomb, not on further skiable terrain but in making access for its increasingly elderly clientele easier.

And where does this leave the day-trippers from the Lower Mainland? They should hope Garibaldi at Squamish gets off the ground and it implements a business plan that caters (to those) Whistler Blackcomb (has) abandoned.

Silvia McIvor Glen