Salt Lake City—This past Sunday, June 11, Snowbird resort finally stopped spinning the lifts for the year—ending an eight-month 2016-17 season. In closing another great winter in Utah, Ski Utah is excited to announce a historical skier visit number, with a total of 4,584,658 million skier days, up 2.85 percent from the previous record of 4,457,575 during the 2015-16 season. This year’s number represents an 8.35 percent increase vs. Utah’s five-year average of 4,231,276.
Nationally, skier days were up from 52.8 million to 54.7 million, a 3.7 percent increase from last season. According to the RRC survey, visits were variable by region with a strong rebound in visits from the Northeast, Southeast and Pacific Northwest. Declines were seen in the Pacific Southwest, Rocky Mountain and Midwest. But even though as a whole the Rocky Mountain region declined, Utah was an outlier and set another historical skier day record for the second year in a row.
The result of this is most notably the economic impact, which increased from $1.17 billion in 2014-15 to $1.43 billion; in part due to the larger volume of visits this season as well as the uptick in per skier visit expenditures, which rose from $276 in 2014-15 to $296 this season.
“Tourism has emerged as one of the key drivers in Utah’s diverse economy, with travelers spending $8.17 billion in 2015, and contributing $1.15 billion in total state and local taxes,” says Vicki Varela, Managing Director of Tourism, Film and Global Branding. “State sales tax revenue generated by travelers helps fund a variety of Utah priorities, including education, public safety, health and human services, road construction and maintenance.”
From the red rock of Southern Utah to our family resorts in Northern Utah and everything in-between, snow totals were up significantly. Initially there was a slow start but once Mother Nature turned on, she provided an abundance of The Greatest Snow on Earth. The snowfall total winner this year was Brighton Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon, which reported an incredible 632 inches of snowfall this season and over 200 inches in the month of January alone.
“On the heels of a record-breaking year last year, this continued growth shows Utah’s winter sports industry is thriving,” says Ski Utah President Nathan Rafferty. “While there is still room to grow, we could not have asked for better results this year. Credit can be evenly distributed between Utah’s 14 resorts, the tremendous support from the Utah Office of Tourism and cooperation from Mother Nature.”
Total Utah statewide skier days for the past 10 years are as follows:
|Season||Skier Days*||Rank (Last 10 yrs.)|
|2016 – 17||4,584,658||1|
|2015 – 16||4,457,575||2|
|2014 – 15||3,946,762||9|
|2013 – 14||4,148,573||5|
|2012 – 13||4,018,812||7|
|2011 – 12||3,825,090||10|
|2010 – 11||4,247,510||4|
|2009 – 10||4,070,822||6|
|2008 – 09||3,972,984||8|
|2007 – 08||4,249,190||3|
*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.