Despite the lackluster snow this past winter, enough snow riders enjoyed the slopes to make the 2017-2018 one of the top 10 for skier day sin the state’s history.
Utah’s 14 ski areas posted their sixth best season for skier days last winter. The season started November 21st at Brighton and ended May 13th at Snowbird. Ski Utah is reporting 4.1 million skier days, down almost 10% from last season’s all-time record.
Ski Utah president Nathan Rafferty says that’s not bad considering the winter we were dealt
“Our resorts have gotten so good at producing a product that is really fun to ski and ride on. Of course, we’d love to see those numbers being a little bit better,” said Rafferty “the highlight is the economic numbers were the second best economic impact in state history”
Even with the decline in visits, spending related to snow sports remained strong at $1.3 billion this past winter compared to a year ago with an all-time record of $1.4 billion
Rafferty says the industry has a large impact on the state “We are a huge part of the state’s economy, tourism in general is over 8 billion dollars and is the largest export in the state.” Rafferty said “By a wide-margin the per-day spend for skiers is the highest. Spending over $300 a day.”
Rafferty believes Vail Resorts EPIC pass has definitely had an impact on Utah. Rafferty also expects the IKON pass which includes skiing at Deer Valley, will have a similar impact on skier days to what we’ve seen from the Epic Pass.
There’s room for growth especially midweek Rafferty says “We’ve got some room to spread things out to, we know things are busy in Park City, but they’re not busy at all our resorts. We’ve got 14 resorts that certainly could see some growth.”
Colorado does over 12 million visits but have twice as many resorts. Six of those resorts pump out more than 1 million skier days a season.
Nationally skier days were down to 53.3 million, that’s an almost a 3% decrease from the previous season’s 54.8 million.
Snowfall was down in most regions across the U.S. here in Utah, snowfall totals were at just 60% of average.