I was privileged to be on a panel this morning at the Mountain Travel Symposium in Banff, Canada. Moderated by Olympian Kelly VanderBeek, the session was titled ‘Crossing Borders’ and focused on the international skier market. I was joined on the panel by Kristi Kavanaugh from the Aspen Skiing Company and Sammy Salm, CEO of Best of the Alps. Of course, the international market is more important for some countries than others. For example, Andorra (92% of total skier visits), Austria (66%), Switzerland (50%), New Zealand (36%) and Czech Republic (35%), are all heavily dependent on overseas skiers, whereas in the US, international skiers only account for about 6% of visits. However, this doesn’t mean they are not a significant market to go after. If we look at international tourism visits overall, the 75 million visitors America receives each year spend over $250 billion. In fact, each overseas traveler spends approximately $4,400 when they visit the US and stays an average of 18 nights. The fastest-growing international market – the Chinese – are particularly big spenders, dropping about $1,000 a day when they visit the US. The Chinese are only just getting into winter sports, but with today’s 5 million participants expected to grow to an incredible 300 million by 2022 (the year they host the Winter Olympics), they are a market that cannot be ignored. Other important international markets for North American resorts are the Australians, the British, and Germans, all of whom send about a million skiers around the globe every year. The South American market is also growing, with the Colorado resorts seeing more Mexicans and Brazilians each year. For more on this subject (and anything you ever wanted to know about this dynamic industry) check out my book – Winter Sport Tourism.