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US SKIER NUMBERS DOWN - Jane Peel, Chief Reporter
Wednesday May 9, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

An estimated 1.5 million fewer skier visits were recorded in the USA last season compared with the previous winter.

The National Ski Areas Association says a preliminary study shows a drop of 2.8 per cent over 2016-17.

The figure is the lowest in seven seasons and the third-worst winter in 18 years.

The total visits amounted to 53.3 million this season, down from 54.8 million.

A skier visit is calculated by the purchase of a lift pass for a one day or part of a day.

It's a stark contrast to the news from the US this time last year when we reported that skier numbers were up by two million, or 3.7 per cent.

The stats vary according to region with skier visits up in some parts and down in others.

Jackson Hole, WyomingJackson Hole, Wyoming















Jackson Hole in Wyoming had so many visits that it was one of a handful of resorts to set records.

But overall the Rocky Mountain region - which includes Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Montana - had around one million fewer skier visits this winter.

That's a fall of five per cent.

Many of the major Colorado resorts had a slow start with the snow late to arrive.

But the overall figures could have been worse if not for a strong early season elsewhere in the US and abundant late snowfall.

Visits were up more than 52 per cent in October and November and up 18 per cent in March.

Copper MountainCopper Mountain, Colorado, March 2018







The NSSA - a trade association representing more than 300 ski resorts - says the final figures will be released in a full report in the summer but the provisional figures are in line with the long-term average.

"I am pleased that the 2017-18 season was right in line with our 40-season average, with Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Northwest performing above the 40-year average," said Kelly Pawlak the Association's president and CEO.

"Ending on a positive note with many spring records will help drive season pass sales."

The report gives no indication as to whether increasing prices in some areas is keeping skiers away.

The recently published 2018 International Report on Snow and Mountain Tourism says the trend for bringing individual resorts under the umbrella of major corporations with high financial expectations has led to rising prices with a negative effect on the number of skiers.


Mammoth, CaliforniaMammoth, California November 2017
















  • Rocky Mountain, Pacific Southwest (California, Arizona, Nevada) and Pacific Northwest (Washington State, Oregon) saw the biggest falls in skier visits, down between five and 14 per cent.
  • North East (Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, New York) had 11.8 visits, down one per cent.
  • South East (including West Virginia, North Carolina) had 4.3 million visits, up 3.6 per cent.
  • Midwest (including Michigan, North and South Dakota) had 6.4 million visits, up 17 per cent.

Resorts were open an average of five additional days this season, which the NSSA puts down to investment in efficient snowmaking.

Snowmaking in ColoradoSnowmaking in Colorado
















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