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Record number of skier days at American resorts this year despite so-so snowfall

U.S. ski areas report 61 million visits in 2021-22, marking an all-time high despite unremarkable snow

Jason Blevins
The Colorado Sun
Skiers take the first chair of the McCoy Express Lift on the opening day of McCoy Park at Beaver Creek in early January.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

For decades, traffic to American ski resorts has relied on one thing: Snow.

Big snowfall meant big business.

But the busiest season ever in American skiing — 2021-22, with an all-time high of 61 million skier days — was not a remarkable snow year.



The previous high points for national skier visits were set in 2010-11, 2007-08 and 2009-10. Those seasons were snowy, with nearly every region reporting above-average snow. The nation was locked in an economic slump those years, which further supported the resort industry’s long-held assertion that snowfall trumps all and business booms when the flakes pile deep.

The 2021-22 season dispels that notion. After a decade of largely flat visitation — dipping as low as 51 million in 2011-12 and as high as 59.3 million in 2019-20 — the rebound to an all-time high bodes well for a 37-state industry that sees growing demand and season-pass sales outstripping snow as its primary driver.



“Strong season pass sales and a continued desire for outdoor recreation are two of the primary contributing factors to the season’s record-breaking results,” reads a statement from the National Ski Areas Association, which announced the new high mark during its annual conference in Nashville on Friday.

Read more via The Colorado Sun.


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