SAM Magazine—Lakewood, Colo., April 30, 2019—The preliminary total skier-visit numbers at North American resorts reached 59.1 million for the 2018-19 winter season, up nearly 11 percent compared to the 2017-18 total of 53.3 million visits. It ranks as the fourth most total visits since NSAA began tracking visitation in 1978-79.
Abundant snowfall—up 31 percent nationwide over the previous season—and continued improvements to the guest experience contributed to increases in visitation in every region across the country.
“Snow is our greatest asset and this year was one to remember,” said NSAA president and CEO Kelly Pawlak. “Skiers and riders were greeted with an awesome on-snow experience. Continued investment in infrastructure, like chairlifts and snowmaking, make those days on the slopes even better.”
Visitation grew the most in the Pacific Southwest and Rocky Mountain regions, which were up 22.9 percent and 15.6 percent, respectively, over the previous season. While extreme winter storms provided some challenges in both regions, ultimately the snowy days proved a draw for powder-seeking skiers and snowboarders. Total visitation numbers were highest in the Rocky Mountain region at more than 24 million—a record year for the region— followed by the Northeast with approximately 12.7 million.
NSAA director of marketing and communications Adrienne Saia Isaac said, “It will be important to continue this trend by engaging new participants in skiing and snowboarding, continuing to improve the guest experience, and mitigating the effects of climate change to ensure the health of our industry.”
The 2018-19 skier visit number was released at the first general session of the NSAA National Convention and Tradeshow in San Diego, Calif. NSAA conducts annual surveys of its member resorts to analyze the position of the ski industry. Additional NSAA research will be released in the Kottke End-of-Season report at the conclusion of the ski and ride season.