Utah skier numbers down for 2011/2012 season
The final skier number statistics are out for Utah resorts, and the 2011/2012 season was certainly grim. According to the Utah ski and snowboard industry, Utah’s 14 ski areas saw 3,802,536 million skier day visits last winter season, down 10 percent from the 2010/2011 season’s 4,223,064. That season was Utah’s second best on record, barely beating out another awesome year we saw in the 2007-08 season, which recorded 4,249,190 skier days. That means the 2011/12 season was the 8th worst in the last 10 years.
Considering the dismal snowfall amounts last winter, it’s no wonder that less people showed up to ski some of the “Greatest Snow on Earth.” But it wasn’t just Utah that felt the decrease. Low snow totals plagued resorts nationwide. That, combined with our bad economy created the obvious decrease at Utah ski and snowboard resorts last season.
All is not lost, however, as there is a bright spot in the depressing data. Ski Utah says that despite the downturn, awareness and demand for the Utah powder is still headed on a positive trajectory. Utah skier day visits performed quite well in comparison to the national average, which was down 15% from last season according to the National Ski Area Association.
“Utah ski and snowboard resorts did an exceptional job compensating for the lack of early season snow with a record level of snowmaking,” noted Ski Utah President Nathan Rafferty in a press release. “Unfortunately, by the time Mother Nature joined the effort many consumers had already turned their attention away from skiing and snowboarding.”
Ski Utah also observed that while participation in on-snow activities declined this season many, complementary businesses, such as restaurants and shops, reported steady to strong business indicating that visitors supplemented their vacations with other activities.
Total Utah statewide skier days for the past 10 years are below:
Season *Skier Days Rank
2011-12 3,802,536 8
2010-11 4,223,064 2
2009-10 4,048,153 5
2008-09 3,972,984 6
2007-08 4,249,190 1
2006-07 4,082,094 3
2005-06 4,062,188 4
2004-05 3,895,578 7
2003-04 3, 429,190 9
2002-03 3,141,212 11
*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. Abundant early season and record snowfall, and a boost in consumer confidence are credited with contributing to the increase.
Although the season was a disappointment in snowfall and skier visits, many locals skiers say the winter of 2011/2012 was still a good one. A massive amount of snow fell in the spring, and several powder days highlighted the season. As per usual in Utah, we can expect next season to hopefully be far better, and we can put last year behind us.