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National numbers show last winter was the busiest ski season on record

Deer Valley Ski Resort
A record number of people visited ski resorts across the country last winter, according to the National Ski Areas Association.

Data released Friday by the National Ski Areas Association shows more people went skiing or snowboarding last winter than ever before.

The National Ski Areas Association has been compiling national skier and snowboarder data since 1978. This past season’s numbers were the largest on record, with 61 million visits recorded at American resorts.

The 2021-22 numbers top the previous all-time high of 60.5 million set in 2007. The industry then experienced several years of plateau, and even decline, before a resurgence in visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic. 59 million national visits were recorded in 2020-21 and this year’s numbers represent a 3.5% year-over-year increase.

Regionally, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and New Mexico collectively saw 25.2 million visits last winter, an all-time record.

The Northeast, Midwest, and Southwest also saw increases in skier and snowboarder visits. However, the Southeast and Pacific Northwest regions reported fewer visits compared to the 2020-21 season.

Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort don’t release visitation numbers to the public, but PCMR owner Vail Resorts reported a 12.5% increase in skier visits across its 40 properties last season, and noted that its ticket sales in Colorado and Utah “exceeded expectations.”

Ski Utah compiles statewide resort data each year. CEO Nathan Rafferty said it won’t have final numbers until later in the year, but added the organization expects this season’s numbers to be “strong.”

Utah saw a record-breaking 5.3 million resort visits in 2021.

The numbers that have been released so far are in line with what was experienced in Park City last winter. The city saw record occupancy numbers over the Christmas and New Years holiday weeks and saw heavy traffic in town for much of the season.

Ski Utah data is typically released in June.

Sean Higgins covers all things Park City and is the Saturday Weekend Edition host at KPCW. Sean spent the first five years of his journalism career covering World Cup skiing for Ski Racing Media here in Utah and served as Senior Editor until January 2020. As Senior Editor, he managed the day-to-day news section of skiracing.com, as well as produced and hosted Ski Racing’s weekly podcast. During his tenure with Ski Racing Media, he was also a field reporter for NBC Sports, covering events in Europe.