Skier Numbers Back to Normal After Covid

The ski industry bounced back last season with the USA seeing more skiers than ever before, according to the latest International Report on Snow & Mountain Tourism.

The 15th annual report, compiled by the Swiss consultant, Laurent Vanat, has just been launched at an online news conference.

It includes a wealth of statistics relating to the 2021-22 season.

“The US had its best ever season, with more than 60 million skier visits,” Laurent Vanat said.

The USA was top of the world rankings for numbers.

The rest of the top 10:

  • France
  • Austria
  • Switzerland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • China
  • Canada
  • Russia
  • Sweden

Avoriaz, France. Image © PlanetSKI

The report found there were 371 million skier visits across the globe, back to normal after 2020-21 when many resorts in the Alps were either completely closed or operated at a reduced level because of the pandemic.

Laurent Vanat was critical of some of the big US groups, such as Vail Resorts, for what he called a “total lack of transparency” in their annual reports.

“There is no way of getting the number of skier visits in any given resort,” he said.

He added that these companies were more interested in making money than in their clients and that complaints about this were increasing.

The report found that the price of a one-day lift pass in the USA, when bought at the ticket office, was double that of the next most expensive country.

It cost the equivalent of 160 Euros to Switzerland’s 80 Euros.

Breckenridge, USA

Breckenridge, USA. Image © PlanetSKI

Laurent Vanat highlighted several vulnerabilities and growing risks facing ski areas, among them climate change, the shortage and rising price of electricity, and sabotage.

He said there had been incidents in France and Switzerland, most of them involving attacks on snowmaking equipment but also some incidences of sabotage against lift towers.

“We now have people who are idealistic who have become extremists.”

He said there was a new political hostility and plenty of fake information which was not going to improve in the future and was making life difficult for ski resorts.

Laurent Vanat

Laurent Vanat. Image © PlanetSKI

The 2023 International Report on Snow & Mountain Tourism will be available to download in full and free later this year on its website.

You can also find a link on the site to make a financial contribution to support future publications, or to buy a hard copy of the 245-page 2023 edition for 100 Euros.

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