The Business of Skiing in Ontario

Hello Again,

This week I’m going to discuss the business side of the ski industry. In recent years the ski industry in Ontario has been struggling, causing many areas to close their doors. The existing hills are constantly working on new ways to bring in new customers and many are relying on government grants and support just to remain operational.

The ski industry in Ontario┬áis ever changing and complex, and entirely weather dependant, no matter how well prepared you are you can’t change the weather. More ski areas are failing to meet their financial needs and shutting their doors.

Below is a chart using the data compiled by Ecosign Mountain Resort Planners Ltd for the Ontario Snow Resorts Association, Canada West Ski Areas Associations and Atlantic Ski Areas Association. They recorded data from 47 alpine ski areas around the country and publish the results in the hopes of creating a stronger industry.

Canadian Average Ontario Average
Employment 124 full time

78 part time

1 employee per 8.5 skier visits

71 full time

211 part time

1 employee per 8.3 skier visits

total employment 847 full time and 2530 part time at the 12 recorded areas

EBITDA/ Skier Visit $18.56 $4.78
Prices Average season pass price is $1210 requiring 15 days of use to break even based on the average daily rate of $80.90. Average season pass price is $768 requiring 17 days of use to break even based on the average daily rate of $44.
Profit before taxes $973,000. $75,000
Carrying Capacity 3580 skiers per day per hill 2345 skiers per day per hill

As you can see Ontario ski areas are struggling to stay afloat with EBITDA of only $4.78/ skier visit compared to the Canadian average of over $18. Pair this with the increased staff, lower prices and less skier visits and its clear why they’re struggling. The good news is that with only a 35% utilization rate there is a lot of room for growth. If Ontario ski areas focus on attracting new customers and look at raising their prices than hopefully there will be alpine skiing for years to come throughout Ontario.