The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) announced that U.S. ski areas tallied 60.1 million skier and snowboarder visits during the 2010/11 season, according to the preliminary 2010/11 Kottke End of Season Survey. This marks the second time that the ski industry has broken the 60 million visit threshold, and represents a 0.6 percent increase from last season’s 59.8 million visits, and is just shy of the 60.5 million visit record set in 2007/08.
Nationally, snowfall at resorts was up 27 percent this season, and was the highest recorded in 20 years of Kottke research. As a result, the average season operating length increased, and some resorts opened early and/or remained open beyond normal closing dates. Most regions experienced increased snowfall, with particularly large increases in the Pacific Southwest (up 43 percent), Northeast (up 37 percent), Rocky Mountains (up 31 percent), and Midwest (up 26 percent), and to a lesser extent the Pacific Northwest (up 9 percent). The Southeast was the only region with a decline in snowfall (down 42 percent).
Gains in visits occurred in most regions, including the Northeast (up 4.0 percent from last season), Rockies (1.7 percent), Midwest (1.0 percent), and Pacific Northwest (0.3 percent). Decreased visits were experienced by both the Pacific Southwest (-5.0 percent) and Southeast (-3.6 percent). In a further indication of widespread solid performance, the industry as a whole exceeded its 10-season average by 4.1 percent, a pattern echoed by all regions, including the Northeast (up 5.3 percent from its 10-season average), Southeast (up 4.8 percent), Midwest (up 2.2 percent), Rocky Mountains (up 4.0 percent), Pacific Southwest (up 2.0 percent), and Pacific Northwest (up 7.0 percent). A final report will be issued in July.
The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), formed in 1962, is a trade association for ski area owners and operators located in Lakewood, Colorado.