Sunday, May 22, 2016

Skier Visits Up to 53.9 Million in 2015-16 Winter Season

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) announced that U.S. ski areas tallied an estimated 53.9 million skier and snowboarder visits during the 2015-16 season, up from last season’s 53.6 million total. The annual skier visit tally, an important industry metric, was released on Thursday at the NSAA Convention and Tradeshow in Nashville, Tenn.
The Rocky Mountain Region tallied a record-setting season for the region (CO, UT, WY, MT, NM, ID), with an 8 percent increase in skier visits this season over last season. Even more impressive was the amazing rebound on the West Coast. The Pacific Northwest Region (AK, WA, OR) saw a stunning increase of 142 percent in skier visits over the drought-plagued season last year, more than doubling from two million visits in 2014-15 to almost five million visits this season (the best season the region has had in 38 years of the Kottke survey). The Pacific Southwest region (CA, AZ, and NV) also witnessed a huge jump of 53 percent over last season. Despite a stronger economy and a record season in the West, weather challenges across the entire eastern half of the country resulted in declines from the 2014-15 season in the Northeast, Midwest, and Southeast.
"It’s especially encouraging to see how strongly California roared back from four straight bad seasons of drought, with the amazing recovery this season reflecting the pent-up demand from our guests", said Michael Berry, president of NSAA. "Our skiers and boarders came back this season with a vengeance, which reinforces the underlying passion and loyalty of our guests, and it bodes very well for our ski areas in the East, Midwest and Southeast for next year".
For additional historical perspective, 2015-16 skier visits nationally were up 6 percent from a recent low of 51 million visits in 2011-12, and down 11 percent from a record high of 60.5 million visits during the 2010-11 season. The 2015-16 season was down 4.6 percent from the 10-year industry average of 56.5 million.
NSAA will release a final Kottke End of Season Survey this summer.

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), headquartered in Lakewood, Colorado, is the trade association for ski area owners and operators. Formed in 1962, NSAA today represents 332 alpine resorts that account for more than 90 percent of the skier/snowboarder visits nationwide. Additionally, it has more than 400 supplier members who provide equipment, goods, and services to the mountain resort industry.

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