Record Numbers of Skier Visits in USA

The bounce back from the pandemic was better than hoped for and came during a poor season for snowfall. Resorts claim it bodes well for the future, despite some concerns.

The National Ski Areas Association, NSAA, has reported record visitation at US ski
areas for the 2021-22 season – a total of 61 million skier visits.

This is an increase of 3.5% over last season.

Skiing and snowboarding have rebounded in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, providing economic relief and thousands of jobs to communities across 37 ski states.

Strong season pass sales and a continued desire for outdoor recreation are two of the primary contributing factors to the season’s record-breaking results.

NSAA has been tracking skier visits since the 1978-79 season.

A skier visit is recorded every time an individual uses a lift ticket or pass at a ski area.

Although a handful of US ski areas are still open the overall number is not expected to increase significantly.

Deer Valley, Utah. Image © PlanetSKI

On Sunday May 15th the resort of Snowbird in Utah closed.

We reported on the continuing skiing and snowboarding in the USA earlier on PlanetSKI.

NSAA divides the country into six regions.

The Rocky Mountain region reported a record high number of skier visits, totaling 25.2 million visits.

Other regions with increases in season-over-season skier visits were the Northeast, Midwest and Pacific Southwest.

Only two regions – the Southeast and Pacific Northwest – reported decreases in skier visits compared to 2020-21.

“This record visitation signals that the U.S. ski industry is healthy, and that the demand for outdoor recreation remains strong,” said NASA.

“There were signs of this during the 2020-21 season as the realities of the Covid-19 pandemic led more people to seek outdoor activities.”

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Idaho, USA

Idaho, USA. Image © PlanetSKI.

Strong skier numbers bode well for the long-term health of the sport, especially since participant numbers have been relatively flat over the past decade.

The number of operating ski areas also jumped from 462 last season to 473 this season, another positive indicator.

Historically, changes in skier visit numbers could be correlated with snowfall; more snow generally meant more skiers.

However, the average snowfall this season was 145” nationally, lower than the 10-year average of 166”.

This signals a strong desire for people to get outside.

Capital investment by ski areas is projected to reach an all-time high, totaling $728 million for the upcoming capital season.

Over the past three seasons, the average ski area has invested $16 per skier.

Image c/o PlanetSKI