According to the Aspen Times, total ski and snowboard visits increased this winter, despite the poor snow conditions that the eastern half of the United States experienced. Ski areas generated an estimated 53.9 million visits, which is an increase from the 53.6 million that were recorded throughout the 2014-2015 winter season. The record high season was in the winter of 2010-11, when 60.5 million visits were recorded. The record low was during the winter of 2011-2012 when only 51 million visits were recorded.
53.9 million visits for the United States this winter may sound like a lot, but this season’s records are 4.6 percent below the 10-year industry average of 56.5 million. Even though this year didn’t shatter any records, it was a record for the Rocky Mountain Region, which includes Utah, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, Colorado and Idaho. El Nino aided the Rocky Mountain Region in breaking this record, which is attributed to the relatively cool temperatures and the above-average snowfall.
“Even more impressive was the amazing rebound on the West Coast. The Pacific Northwest Region (Alaska, Washington, Oregon) saw a stunning increase of 142 percent in skier visits over the drought-plagued season last year, more than doubling from 2 million visits in 2014-15 to almost 5 million visits this seaso,.” NSAA said in a statement.
The Pacific Southwest Region of California, Arizona and Nevada increased 53 percent over last season, thanks to the constant cold temperatures and the increased snowfall. Resort regions in the Northeast, Midwest, and Southeast were all down from the prior season, which is attributed to the lack of snowfall and the warmer temperatures that were experienced. Aspen Skiing Co. reported a 7.5 percent increase in skier and snowboarder visits through February. The weather plays a huge roll in the success of a ski area, so there’s a large sense of uncertainty that is associated with them.