Adam Aron comments don’t help Vail Resorts attract visitors
The snowsports industry is filled with people who work hard just to get by. Adam Aron is not one of those people. Annually this time of year, he starts making excuses on why people will not come to his resorts.
However, for the past four years, Vail and Breckenridge have been the two most visited ski areas in the United States (SDN, June 7). This year, according to Aron, people will be unwilling to travel due to a pending war with Iraq and a struggling economy.
The war with Iraq will drive up the price of oil, increasing the price of airplane tickets. Last year, after 9-11, reservations were canceled, and he said people would be afraid to travel. Apparently, Aron has been stuck behind his desk too long, because he has forgotten skiing is one of the best ways to leave your worries and troubles behind.
Last year, people got on the planes and skied in Colorado, especially Vail Resorts, despite horrible snow and fears of terrorism. The decrease in Colorado skier days was only 4.3 percent (SDN June 7), after two very good years.
Breckenridge had its best year ever. In the fall of 2000 and 1999, Adam Aron said a decrease in skier numbers was expected, due to a lack of early snow and a lack of early reservations.
He did not realize tourists are planning their trips later in the year, so they can go to a location with enough snow to suit their needs. Every year the tourists come, spend their money and have a good time. They will come this year, too.
As CEO of one of Colorado’s flagship resorts, Aron has a responsibility to try to bring tourists to Colorado, not send them away.
I have never heard executives from Intrawest, Aspen Ski Co., and the smaller resorts whine about uncontrollable events like war, terrorism, or snow.
In fact, I have never heard an executive from any company make a statement that could drive people away from the product.
VR saying the early season snow has been bad is the equivalent of McDonald’s saying its food is high in fat or Dove saying their soap will burn your eyes.
It is irresponsible for a CEO to bring attention to a negative side of their product. Aron’s statements should be along the lines of: “Despite the pending war in Iraq and an uncertain economy, I am certain that more people will come to the resorts associated with Vail Resorts than did last year.
The combined effect of El Nino and cloud seeding should cause this year’s snow conditions to be much better than last year’s. Significant improvements at the Colorado resorts and the acquisition and started improvements of Heavenly will make each resort more family friendly, less crowded, and more enjoyable for all.”
I have wanted to write this letter for a few years now, but each year, I hoped Aron would not make a statement that degrades his product.
No matter what is going on in the world or with the economy, people need time to relax and forget their worries. They work hard 50 weeks per year, saving up money to take their family on a nice vacation.
As long as the lifts are running, these people will come to Colorado and Vail Resorts to ski. In the future, the public may start listening to you, fulfilling your prophecy of a decrease in skier days.
For the Colorado towns’ sake, I certainly hope not.
I realize that running a skiing empire is more complex than I have indicated, but Aron needs to do a better job when he makes a public statement.
I hope the stockholders and remaining employees of VR let Aron know the disservice he is doing to his company. As for me, I will not buy VR stock while Aron is the CEO.
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