Strong Second Half Boosts Season Visit Totals

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SAM Magazine—Lakewood, Colo., May 5, 2014—Resorts nationwide tallied 56.2 million visits for the 2013-14 season, making a strong rebound in the latter stages after a weather-challenged start. The total represented a mere 1.3 percent drop from the previous season, according to preliminary results from the most recent Kottke National End of Season Survey.

Lack of snow in the Far West, thaw/freeze cycles in the Northeast, and extreme cold in the Midwest depressed early-season visits in several regions. But favorable weather in the Rockies and, eventually, from the Rockies to the East helped boost visits well above the 51 million level of 2011-12, another weather-challenged year.

For most of the country, the final accounting was favorable. From the Atlantic through the Rockies, resorts posted a 5.3 percent increase from the prior year, and collectively enjoyed their third-best season of the past 36.

But for the Pacific region, visits slumped 27.7 percent, to the second-lowest level of the past 36 years. Snowfall remained well below normal until deep into the season, when it was too late to significantly impact visits. Even with big storms in March and April, snowfall remained 20 percent below normal in the Pacific Northwest, and 33 percent below normal in the Pacific Southwest.

Taken as a whole, the national visit total was two percent below the 10-year average of 57.3 million. The Southeast posted the largest gain, at nine percent, against the 10-year average; the Pacific Southwest the biggest drop, at 29.3 percent.