"Snow is our greatest asset and this year was one to remember", said Kelly Pawlak, NSAA president and CEO. "Skiers and riders were greeted with an awesome on-snow experience. Continued investment in infrastructure, like chairlifts and snowmaking, make those days on the slopes even better".
Visitation grew the most in the Pacific Southwest and Rocky Mountain regions, by 22.9 percent and 15.6 percent respectively over the previous season. While extreme winter storms provided some challenges in both regions, ultimately the snowy days proved a draw for powder-seeking skiers and snowboarders. Total visitation numbers were highest in the Rocky Mountain region at over 24 million (a record year for the region), followed by the Northeast with approximately 12.7 million.
"The strong snow year has driven increases in visitation, and many of our ski areas have reported record years in that regard", said Adrienne Saia Isaac, NSAA director of marketing and communications. "It will be important to continue this trend by engaging new participants in skiing and snowboarding, continuing to improve the guest experience, and mitigating the effects of climate change to ensure the health of our industry".
The 2018/19 skier visit number was released at the first general session of the NSAA National Convention and Tradeshow in San Diego, Calif. NSAA conducts annual surveys of its member resorts to analyze the position of the ski industry. Additional NSAA research will be released in the Kottke End-of-Season report at the conclusion of the ski and ride season.
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 313 alpine resorts that account for more than 90 percent of the skier/snowboarder visits nationwide. Additionally, it has 414 supplier members who provide equipment, goods, and services to the mountain resort industry.