Skier Visits Total 56.4 Million for 2004-05

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SAM Magazine--Scottsdale, Ariz., May 25, 2005--The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) estimates 56.4 million skier/snowboarder visits at U.S. ski resorts for the 2004/05 season, based on preliminary results of the Kottke National End of Season Survey. If these figures hold up in the final Kottke report, 2004-05 would be the fourth best season on record.

The results reinforce the notion that the ski industry has sustained a growth spurt during the past five seasons. The four highest-visit seasons, and five of the best six seasons, all occurred during the past five years. Visits are roughly 3 million higher than during the 1990s.

With a preliminary estimate of 19.33 million visits, the Rocky Mountain region may have set a new all-time record. The Rockies were up 2.4 percent from last season. The Northeast region also gained, up 6.3 percent, while losses occurred in the Southeast (-0.7 percent), Midwest (-3.3 percent), and Pacific West (-13.9 percent). Each region except the Pacific West performed above its ten-year average.

Benefiting from the weakness of the U.S. dollar, international visits grew. The proportion of international visitors rose to 6.1 percent, up from 5.5 percent the season before.

Snowboarding participation was flat nationally, at 28.7 percent, perhaps reflecting the poor season in the Pacific Northwest, which is home to a high proportion of riders. Visits by season's passholders were also flat, at 29.5 percent, despite 7 percent growth in the number of passes sold.

The Kottke End of Season Survey is based upon participation by 221 of the nation's 491 operating ski resorts. These 221 resorts accounted for approximately 45.9 million skier visits this season. \