Why the Aldi ski sale is good for the Aussie ski industry

This time last year I wrote a satire piece about the Aldi ski sale. Then I was stoned for it.

Ok, that’s dramatic, but the very people I was writing about threw their arms in the air (yawn) and hurled accusations of cash for comment. Clearly they didn’t see the humour.

Though just for the record, I never saw any cash, not a cent. Though if I had been paid by Aldi for the amount of eyeballs that read the piece then I’d be living high on Aldi’s ‘Expressi’ (faux Nespresso) and Just Divine (faux Tim Tams) for life.

The Aldi Ski Sale is a right of passage for anyone looking to save dollars when buying outerwear and base layers for a growing family. Despite cries of ‘traitor to the ski industry’ hurled at me on the internet, because it’s easy there, I believe the ski sale actually supports the Australian ski industry.

Skiing in Australia is expensive. Very expensive. More expensive than skiing overseas for some. Vail Resorts bought Perisher and made it more affordable to do both home and abroad (so long as you buy the Epic Australia Pass). But you still have to, wherever you ski or snowboard, buy or hire gear, pay exorbitant amounts for average accommodation and eat your mortgage payment in on mountain restaurants.

But it is what it is and what Australia is, is a birthing ground for the global ski industry. We are the number one international inbound market to Colorado, Utah, British Columbia, Japan and beyond during the winter months. Our patronage is, in the words of Aspen Snowmass CEO Mike Kaplan, ‘critical’ to overseas resorts who understand how to cater for us and our patronage is even more critical to our home resorts.

We are also, until more recent years, loyal. We ski in Australia because we can. The truth, however, is that not all of us can anymore.

Australia’s household debt ratio is 212 per cent, the fourth highest in the world. Add rising property prices and rents, and yes the cost of avocado toast and general living (the cost of living is 9.4% higher in Australia than the USA) and Australian ski holidays are becoming a non viable option. When you have to choose between Australia and overseas and an overseas ski trip is cheaper, then most will choose the latter.

Fourteen years ago, according to Roy Morgan Research, four out of five Australians chose a domestic ski field for their holiday. A decade later in 2013 and almost half chose overseas. Anything that reduces that cost of skiing and helps keep Aussies skiing at home first (and then abroad) then helps the Australian ski industry.

I know that home town ski retailers have been hit hard. If they didn’t keep up with the move to digital e-commerce then they closed up shop. Those that did keep up could hardly compete with the cheaper prices of retail websites coming out of the USA and had to get innovative. Though with the weaker Australian dollar even buying in the USA is no longer a bargain.

So, yes, I know the Aldi Ski Sale hits our local retailers. But it also creates a growing market for them.

Many who buy Aldi gear are buying their first gear. It may be for themselves, it may be for their kids. As they grow in size and increase in ski and snowboard skills then the brand of gear may become more important to them and you’ll see them purchasing in store from Australian snow specific retailers.

Or you may see them buying Australian created brands like XTM outerwear, Rojo snow gear, Le Bent base layers and Oyuki gloves. I have yet to find someone who didn’t forget something once they got to the snow and ended up having to buy gloves or hand warmers or socks or neck gator from a local retailer. Aldi isn’t at the snow for a reason.

As for ye olde ‘but Aldi are a grocery store’ argument. Chanel are a couture fashion brand but they make skis and goggles and Crocs were made for boats but bet you wore them on land back in the day.

Let’s also remember that the money saved on ski gear at Aldi may be spent on hot chocolates at a local on mountain restaurant or an extra night’s accommodation in the local Australian ski economy. Hell, they may even buy petrol from an Aussie petrol station in order to drive to the Aldi ski sale.

As for ski snobbery. Those of you who laugh at those on the slopes wearing Aldi gear are the very people who didn’t laugh at my hilarious satire piece about those who laugh at those on the slopes wearing Aldi gear. Last I looked the mountains are there for everyone to enjoy, not just those who can afford it five times over.

There’s a lot to be learned from the Aldi Ski Sale. That Australians want value for their snow money, that Australians like a bargain, that Australians will turn their backs on you if you try to rip them off and Australians will do what it economically takes to get their time on snow. That’s good intel right there for any industry marketer.

Here’s an idea, why not partner with the Aldi Snow Sale and offer your Australian made snow product at super discounted price for one day only each ski year? Why not offer a discount on your lift pass for those that purchase an Aldi product on sale day? There’s so many ways to embrace the Aldi ski sale in your own industry favour which, in turn, benefits everyone.

Now, go forth, pitch that tent in line tonight, elbows up and charge come sale door opening time tomorrow.

If you need me, I’ll be here fending off the trolls.

This is NOT a Sponsored Post. If a post is paid for it will always be marked as Sponsored Post as the byline.

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Rachael is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of SnowsBest.com. A long time journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN Freeskiing, TIME, Powderhound, Sydney Morning Herald, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast and more.
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7 Responses to “Why the Aldi ski sale is good for the Aussie ski industry”

  1. Bill Sidwell

    Too true Rachel. My kids go through a pair of gloves a week during the ski season through chewing holes in them or losing one (I keep the other so I get a pair hopefully in the future, but they seem to lose the right one more than the left). Sometimes they get so wet here in Oz I have a second pair I swap so they get dry warm gloves at lunchtime. I buy gloves for the kids at Aldi.

    Reply
  2. Ros Hemsley

    Looking for rainbows where there are storm clouds seems to be your forte. Haters always gonna hate but your words ring true. Consumers do want snow $ value, nobody likes being ripped off, and if pushed we do turn our backs. Unfortunately, that is the nature of the beast in retail. Well done on a clever piece.

    Reply
  3. jaye

    I bought my niece and nephew aldi stuff. It was great. I couldn’t tell them apart from the other screaming children so i pretended that they were the happy ones on the magic carpet and made use of the hot chocolate machine.
    The quality is fantastic, the price even better. As a reward for their hard work and excellent skiing, they both will be getting new outfits this year from aldi again. They couldn’t be happier.

    Reply
  4. Andrew

    My understanding of Vail resorts is that they have been purchasing resorts in North America (and other parts of the world) and bumping up the lift ticket prices.

    Reply
    • mm Rachael Oakes-Ash

      Yes, and no. The Epic Pass is the business model and if you buy an Epic Pass the cost of skiing per day is sooooo much less than anywhere else, so long as you ski or snowboard regularly. It pays for itself within seven days really so any days on top of that are bonus days. But yes, you have to pay for everything else (and we all know ski town prices!) including flights if you want to ski other destinations on the pass.

      Reply
  5. Fritz.

    Rachael, well written article and so true. Aldi does free up dollars to financially assist people to visit Lake Mountain that otherwise wouldn’t, spending cash on other items in Marysville, helping the local economy. Or ski Buller and be able to “afford” the world’s most expensive cab $/km (&entry fee ) basis because god knows, we all need to shave costs off here and there when it’s cheaper to ski in Verbier (excl flights) for a week than Buller – as we as a family of four experienced. Ps. Snobbery? The only snobbery at Aldi in Victoria St in Abottsford at 7am on the fist day of the Aldi sale is badge(car) snobbery…VW/Audi/Merc/BMW AWDs lined up …that’s because it helps to offset private school fees, something more expensive than Buller!

    Reply
  6. John

    most people at aldi, looked like they couldn’t afford to buy their ciggies, let alone go skiing. Must have missed the sign that said feral bogans only. Many lawyers, doctors, accountants there.

    Reply

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