The National Ski Areas Association is reporting that there were an estimated 54.7 million skier and snowboarder visits during the 2016-17 season. That is a jump of nearly 2 million more skiers and snowboarders who hit the slopes at U.S. ski resorts this winter than last season. The increase of 3.7 percent is largely believed to be due to the heavy snowfall throughout the west.
Skier visits still fell below the average number of annual skier visits nationwide since 1997 of 56.1 million.
- The Pacific Northwest region is estimated to have its best season ever with 4.4 million visits.
- The Rocky Mountain region logged its second-strongest winter ever with 21.7 million skier visits.
- Northeast region had a solid turnout of 11.8 million skier and snowboarder visits. This was a growth of 27 percent over last season, one of the worst snow years in the history of the East.
Despite the uptick in skier visits this season over last season, Vail Resorts reported a 2.8 percent decline in visitation across its multi-state network of resorts for the 2016-17 season.
The extra snowfall this season helped ski areas stay open extra week on average. The increased length of the operating season was most pronounced in the Southeast (23 days longer) and Northeast (15 days longer) regions, according to the ski association.
There were 479 ski areas operating for the season, up from 464 the prior year.