Stats & the Ski Industry Story

Sharing the story of the ski industry is a constant objective of CWSAA.  For the industry to succeed, government needs to know why they should care about the industry.  We need to connect government objectives with the ski industry, thus the focus on themes such as employment, community health (social, physical, and economic), first nations opportunity, youth development, economic diversification, rural development, and clean industry.  These are all things the ski industry delivers, but we often overlook them as we deal with our daily operations.

To articulate these themes, CWSAA relies on the vision and contribution of ski areas to provide data, and the expertise of partners to consolidate the information.  Thanks to this effort, CWSAA shares its message with evangelical zeal, and can state that annually the ski industry:

  • Generates $2.1 billion in expenditure.
  • Employs 28,600 people (19,000 FTE) including trades, culinary, hospitality careers.
  • Creates $876 million in wages.
  • Contributes $294 million in taxes to pay for government services like health and education.
  • Ski areas in western Canada invested over $100 million in lift and base infrastructure in 2018.

These numbers demonstrate the following narrative:

  • The ski industry is the primary driver of winter tourism in Western Canada.
  • It is the largest employer and economic generator in many regions.
  • The industry represents opportunities for rural communities and first nations, economic diversification, clean industry, and career employment.

And supports the following examples:

  • Throughout the Prairies, skiing provides healthy outdoor recreation for communities.
  • Skiing complements the summer tourism season and creates year-round employment and visitor economy for Alberta’s national park communities.
  • Tourism and oil & gas are the two largest natural resource industries in BC.

These messages can only be shared with government through the work provided by Ecosign Mountain Planners, Align Research, and participating ski areas.  Thank you.

The annual CWSAA financial analysis, prepared by Ecosign Mountain Planners, is now complete.  Participating ski areas were mailed a copy of the report in late December.  The results are confidential and reports are only available to those ski areas that participated in the project.  New this year at Spring Conference is a special presentation including the data from Ecosign, and detailing how to use the data to improve ski area profitability through a case study thanks to Winsport.

All ski areas are actively encouraged to participate in the survey, with the results offering them comparative data to industry benchmarks.  There is no cost to participate. For more information on future participation, please contact the CWSAA office.