By David Schissler
(November 2013) According to the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), U.S. ski areas racked up 56.6 million skier/snowboarder visits during the 2012/13 season. That’s an 11 percent increase over the previous season, and the largest year-over-year gain in 30 years. Despite a slow start to the winter season in parts of the country, many ski areas experienced a strong Christmas holiday period, and also reported strong visitation during Presidents Day and throughout March, helping to propel the industry back into more typical visit volumes.
In another indication of the widespread rebound last season, 78 percent of reporting ski areas posted increases in visits. The median resort experienced a 10.6 percent gain in visits. Visits were up in all regions, with the biggest rebounds seen for the Pacific Southwest, up 20.5 percent. Meanwhile the Northeast was up 20.3 percent, and the Southeast was up 17.2 percent. Impressive gains were also recorded in the Midwest, up 11.5 percent, and Pacific Northwest, up 7.5 percent. The Rocky Mountain was up 1.9 percent over the 2011/12 season.
On an overall national basis, visitation was up in every period of the season, with the most substantial increases recorded at the end of the season. Specifically, visits were estimated to be up 2 percent in the early season; up 16 percent during the Christmas and New Years holidays; up 7 percent during the January 7 to February 18 period; up 14 percent in the February 19 to March 24 period; and up an impressive 25 percent during the March 26 to closing period. A final Kottke End of Season Survey will be issued in July. For more information visit NSAA online at: www.nsaa.org