Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Utah Ski Areas Set Historical Skier Visit Number For 2018-2019 Season

Utah ski resorts saw their best season ever in terms of skier days in 2018-19 with a total of 5,125,441 visits. The state also saw one of its best snow years on record, with every ski resort recording above normal amounts of The Greatest Snow on Earth.
"It was a great season to ski and ride in Utah, and our visitor numbers reflect that", said Ski Utah President & CEO Nathan Rafferty. "Snow is a big business driver and snowfall numbers across the state were some of the best we’ve seen in recent years. Our resorts invested in programming and capital improvements to elevate experiences on and off the mountain. We also gained new visitors through expanded season pass options. This record season speaks to the strength of Utah’s ski industry and its role in winter tourism for our state".
Utah’s skier days for 2018-19 were 12% higher than the state’s previous record of 4.58 million in 2016-17 and up 24% from the 2017-18 season. The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) released preliminary numbers at the end of April putting the 2018-19 season as the fourth best ever on record with over 59 million skier visits nationally. All regions saw an increase in visitation, with the Rocky Mountain region setting a record of 24 million visitors.
Locals and visitors alike undoubtedly took advantage of the copious amounts of snowfall that fell throughout the season, allowing resorts to open plenty of terrain and maintain top-tier conditions. From November 15 to April 15, at least one Utah resort saw measurable snowfall on 111 days.
"One of the key factors that made this season so memorable was the consistency of snowfall", said Evan Thayer, local forecaster for Open Snow. "Since the resorts opened, we went no more than seven days without snowfall. We also avoided long stretches of high pressure and warm temperatures, which meant that the snow quality remained high for the duration of the season".
Utah’s ski industry is a major contributor to the state’s economy. The 2017-18 season was the state’s second-best season from an economic standpoint with $1.322 billion in total visitor spending. Out-of-state skier and snowboarder spending ($1.068 billion) resulted in the creation of more than 21,000 total jobs and $226.4 million in state and local tax revenue.

Ski Utah is the marketing firm owned and operated by the statewide ski resorts that make up the Utah Ski and Snowboard Association (Alta Ski Area, Beaver Mountain, Brian Head Resort, Brighton Resort, Deer Valley Resort, Eagle Point, Nordic Valley, Park City Mountain Resort, Powder Mountain Resort, Snowbasin Resort, Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, Solitude Mountain Resort, and Sundance). The organization has been creating brand awareness of and demand for the Utah wintersports product since its inception in 1978.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

A Glance Back to the Freeride World Tour 2019: Season Highlights.

The Freeride World Tour (FWT) is the premier big mountain freeskiing and snowboarding tour in the world, featuring the sport’s top athletes competing in the world’s best mountain resorts. Created in 2008, the FWT became even more global in 2012 following the union of North American-based Freeskiing World Tour, The North Face Masters of Snowboarding, and the European-based Swatch Freeride World Tour. Besides the successful implementation of this truly global FWT, the increase of Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ) and Junior Freeride Tour events in recent years show that the base of the sport is growing exponentially.
The FWT represents top-level big mountain riding, the most progressive and pure discipline of skiing and snowboarding. Riders use the entire mountain as their canvas, from cliffs, cornices, and chutes to powder fields and trees. FWT events have invitation-only athlete rosters but the full FWQ series allows athletes to compete in 1 to 4-star level events and qualify for the FWT the following season. All FWT competition venues are handpicked for their terrain, as well as their steepness, and offer a wide range of options to those competing.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Ischgl Closes Winter Season with Lenny Kravitz and 18,000 Fans

With the ’Top of the Mountain Closing Concert’ in Ischgl, Lenny Kravitz concluded a snowy skiing season at 2,320 m above sea level on 30 April 2019. 18,000 winter sports fans got to see the superstar with his band before a spectacular mountain backdrop in the ski area and an unforgettable airshow.

Optimal piste conditions, an aerial stunt show of the highest order and an animated Lenny Kravitz – at the Ischgl season finale on 30 April, nothing was left to be desired for the 18,000 attending fans and winter sports enthusiasts. At 13:00, a beaming Lenny Kravitz took to the stage and immediately set an exuberant mood at 2,320 m altitude at the ’Top of the Mountain Closing Concert’ on the legendary Idalp-stage with his strong voice power and a sensational, two hours open-air performance. The hits performed by Lenny Kravitz and his seven-member band included classics such as ’Are You Gonna Go My Way’, ’It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over’ and ’Fly Away’. But the superstar also played tracks from his latest and eleventh album ’Raise Vibration’. After the concert, the Red Bull Skydive Team amazed the attending winter sports enthusiasts with their stunt show of wingsuit-formations after a helicopter jump-off and two Eurofighters from the Austrian Armed Forces did a flyover for a resounding season finale.
"With this spectacular finale we can look back at a successful and extraordinarily snowy winter season with over 2 million visitors. We are proud of having thrilled our guests from the first day to the last with optimum skiing conditions and look forward to next winter", says Andreas Steibl, managing director of the Tourism Association Paznaun – Ischgl. The skiing season in Ischgl ends Today, May 1, 2019.

Lenny Kravitz follows in the footsteps of a galaxy of superstars who have entertained skiers and boarders in the Austrian resort's traditional Top of the Mountain gig. Long time ago, Ischgl decided to put its entire advertising and marketing budget into staging two massive concerts a year to open and close the winter season. Elton John was the first star to feature in the Tirolean resort's now famous season-closing concerts, back in 1995. Since then the resort has hosted Rod Stewart, Bob Dylan, Sting, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Bon Jovi, Enrique Iglesias, Atomic Kitten, Peter Gabriel, The Corrs, Alanis Morissette, Lionel Richie, Pink, the Scissor Sisters, the Pussycat Dolls, Rihanna, Elton John again, Gabriella Cilmi, Leona Lewis, Kylie Minogue, Katy Perry, Alicia Keys, Gossip, The Killers,Roxette, Mariah Carey, The Scorpions, Deep Purple, Nickelback, Robbie Williams, James Blunt, Thirty Seconds to Mars, The Beach Boys, PUR, Zucchero and Jason Derulo.

National Ski Areas Association Launches Mountain Foundation

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) announced yesterday, Tuesday, April 30, the launch of the Mountain Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to the next generation of snowsports industry leaders. The foundation will award grants to ski industry employees so they can experience educational opportunities with the goal of furthering their careers.
"Empowering our staff to get out and meet their peers at conferences and seminars is crucial to developing their careers", said Kelly Pawlak, NSAA president and CEO. "What better way for our future leaders to spend time with industry experts who can teach, mentor, and inspire them than at these educational events?".
The creation of the foundation was spearheaded by Blaise Carrig, former Chair of the NSAA Board of Directors and long-time ski industry visionary. Carrig was a member of the NSAA Board and senior advisor for the Vail Resorts Mountain Division when he shared a story of how attending an NSAA educational event early in his career opened the door to possibilities in the industry. His experience there was influential in solidifying his career path.
"I was lucky someone gave me the opportunity to attend the NSAA annual conference when I was just getting started in the ski business", Carrig said. "I made personal connections that were inspirational to my career and leadership journey".
"Leslie and I want to give back to the industry by helping provide other ‘up-and-comers’ the opportunity to education and events to help them grow into the future leaders of snowsports", he said.
Carrig and wife, Leslie, have laid the groundwork for the Mountain Foundation by pledging $50,000 to kick start the fund. The Carrigs’ generous donation will allow NSAA to begin awarding applicants with grants as early as summer 2019. NSAA is grateful for Blaise’s continued stewardship to the ski industry by developing its future leaders. To make a donation to the Mountain Foundation, please visit the Mountain Foundation website.
Starting May 1, employees of NSAA’s ski area, affiliate and associate members will be able to apply to attend educational events including the NSAA National Convention and winter conferences, lift and vehicle maintenance conferences, and select regional ski association events. An application form and a full list of approved events, application deadlines, and disbursement information can be found on the NSAA website.

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.