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ropeways.net | Home | 2018-07-03

Utah Ski Areas Post Sixth Best Season, Second Best Economic Impact in State’s History

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Despite limited help from Mother Nature during the 2017-18 ski season, Utah ski areas posted their sixth best season in terms of skier visits. Starting Nov. 21 at Brighton Resort and ending May 13 at Snowbird, visits for the season totaled 4,145,321 - down 9.6 percent from last season’s all-time record and even with Utah’s 10-year average.

Nationally, skier days were down slightly to 53.3 million, a 2.8 percent decrease from last season’s 54.8 million. Snowfall, an important metric in driving visitation, was down in most regions across the U.S. Statewide Utah snowfall totals were just 60 percent of average, with Wasatch valley temperatures three to five degrees above normal during the ski season, according to Brian McInerney, hydrologist with the National Weather Service. 

Despite the decline in visits, total ski/snowboard-related spending in Utah remained strong at $1.322 billion versus last year’s all-time record of $1.431 billion, buoyed by out-of-state per skier expenditures rising from $309 per capita per day last year to $337 in 2017-18. Utah resident per day spending remained flat at $107 per capita per day versus $106 last year.

“Utah’s ski industry continues to be a strong player in driving the state’s tourism and economy,” said Ski Utah President Nathan Rafferty. “Multiple factors need to come together to make a successful ski season and, with limited natural snowfall, Utah’s resorts stepped up by investing in snowmaking infrastructure and delivering unparalleled experiences for skiers and riders on and off the slopes.”

Total Utah statewide skier days for the past 10 years are as follows:

Season | Skier Days* | All-Time Rank
(Last 10 yrs.)
2017 - 18 | 4,145,321 | 6
2016 - 17 | 4,584,658 | 1
2015 - 16 | 4,457,575 | 2
2014 - 15 | 3,946,762 | 10
2013 - 14 | 4,148,573 | 5
2012 - 13 | 4,018,812 | 8
2011 - 12 | 3,825,090 | 11
2010 - 11 | 4,247,510 | 4
2009 - 10 | 4,070,822 | 7
2008 - 09 | 3,972,984 | 9

*The National Ski Areas Association defines ‘skier days’ as one person visiting a ski area for all or any part of a day or night for the purpose of skiing/snowboarding. 

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