Based on preliminary estimates, ski areas nationwide tallied 57.1 million visits for the 2008/09 season, making it the fifth best season on record. Over the last 10 seasons (1999/00 – 2008/09), the industry has averaged 56.7 million visits. The 2008/09 season represents a 0.8 percent increase from the 10-year average, and just a 5.5 percent decrease from the record 2007/08 season of 60.5 million visits. At 13.8 million visits in 2008/09, the Northeast region was up 5.5 percent from its 10-year average. Meanwhile the Southeast region, at 5.62 million visits, was up 3.8 percent from its 10-year average; the Midwest region, with 7.41 million visits, was down 1.1 percent from its 10-year average; the Rocky Mountain region, with 19.79 million visits, was up 1.3 percent from its 10-year average; and finally the Pacific West region, with 10.54 million visits, was down 5.8 percent from its 10-year average.Relatively favorable snow and weather conditions in most parts of the country during much of the season provided a strong counterbalance to the challenging economic conditions. Based on resort comments, the impact of the economy varied somewhat depending on resort location and resort type. Many day-ski areas in close proximity to major metropolitan markets benefitted as many guests chose to ski and ride at locations closer to home. Meanwhile destination resorts often reported fewer overnight visits and shorter stays. Many resorts commented that snow and weather conditions had a more powerful impact on their visitation than the economy. Overall average snowfall was down just 10 percent. The Southeast realized a 31.2 percent increase in average snowfall; the Midwest was up 1.1 percent; the Northeast was down just 10 percent; the Pacific West was down 10.2 percent; and the Rocky Mountain region was down 14.2 percent. A final report will be issued in July. For more information visit nsaa.org. THE NATIONAL SKI AREAS ASSOCIATION, LOCATED IN LAKEWOOD, COLO., IS A TRADE ASSOCIATION FORMED IN 1962 FOR SKI AREA OWNERS AND OPERATORS NATIONWIDE.
UK pension scheme trustees are split on whether defined contribution (DC) schemes can be as sophisticated as defined benefit (DB) schemes on investment.In a poll of 100 trustees, consultancy Hymans Robertson found that 44% of respondents believed DC investment was as sophisticated as DB, but this was closely followed by 42% saying they were less advanced than their DB counterparts.The consultancy highlighted that half of trustees who said DC lacked the sophistication of DB strategies agreed it would take at least 10 years for DC to catch up – and that 40% went as far as to agree that this would never happen.Raj Shah, head of DC investment at Hymans Robertson, said: “It’s difficult to ignore how much the DC investment landscape has evolved in the three years since pension freedoms were introduced, and the results of our research make it clear that DC strategies fall behind DB in terms of sophistication.” However, he said there was light at the end of the tunnel as DC evolution was showing no signs of slowing down.“As long as the scale of assets in DC continues to grow and access to alternative asset classes widens, then sophistication in DC investment will improve,” Shah said.The poll, conducted by the firm Opinium on behalf of Hymans Robertson, also found that trustees of larger schemes were generally more optimistic about the ability of DC investment to catch up.Some 43% of trustees managing schemes with assets of less than £100m said they believed that DC would never be as sophisticated as DB, whereas at schemes with assets of over £100m, trustees said they felt this could happen in the next five years.