SAM Magazine—Salt Lake City, Utah, June 18, 2018—Despite limited help from Mother Nature during the 2017-18 ski season, Utah ski areas posted their sixth-best season in terms of skier visits. Starting Nov. 21 at Brighton Resort and ending May 13 at Snowbird, visits for the season totaled 4,145,321—down 9.6 percent from last season’s all-time record but even with Utah’s 10-year average.
Despite the decline in visits, total ski/snowboard-related spending in Utah remained strong at $1.322 billion, second only to last year’s all-time record of $1.431 billion, buoyed by out-of-state per skier expenditures rising from a daily average of $309 per capita last year to $337 in 2017-18. Utah resident per day spending rose slightly to $107 per capita versus $106 last year.
“Utah’s ski industry continues to be a strong player in driving the state’s tourism and economy,” said Ski Utah president Nathan Rafferty. “Multiple factors need to come together to make a successful ski season and, with limited natural snowfall, Utah’s resorts stepped up by investing in snowmaking infrastructure and delivering unparalleled experiences for skiers and riders on and off the slopes.”
Nationally, skier days were down 2.8 percent to 53.3 million. Snowfall was down in most regions across the U.S. In Utah, snowfall totals were just 60 percent of average, with Wasatch valley temperatures three to five degrees above normal during the ski season, according to Brian McInerney, hydrologist with the National Weather Service.