Skiing Means Fun – And BIG Business!

Family on Chair Lift

Revenue from skiing/snowboarding is big business. According to the National Ski Areas Association, direct spending at U.S. resorts in 2011-2012 was $5.83 billion.  And as the accompanying chart illustrates, visits during the 2011-2012 season were the lowest in ten years.

Colorado is widely regarded as offering some of the best skiing in the country with 30 areas to choose from throughout the western portion of the state, including Vail Mountain which boasts the largest acreage in North America.  But despite its popularity, Colorado ranks only 4th nationally in terms of the number of ski areas behind New York (50), Michigan (42), and Wisconsin (32).

Not surprisingly, skier visits are influenced in large part by the amount of snowfall. The 2011-2012 season suffered from drought conditions in many parts of the country and the impacts were reflected in the number of visits. Conditions improved modestly during the 2012-2013 season, though visits remained below the 10-year average of 57.8 million.

While weather is notoriously unpredictable, extremely wet conditions in the fall of this year, notably in Colorado, give rise to optimism for big snow in the coming season.  Favorable snow conditions and an improving economy translate into increased revenue not only for the resorts themselves, but also for lodging, restaurants, shops and a variety of others located in mountain communities whose businesses are largely dependent upon winter tourism.   

10-YEAR HISTORY OF SKIER VISITS

(in millions)

SEASON

COLORADO SKIER VISITS

U.S. SKIER VISITS*

% CHANGE FROM PRIOR YEAR

2012-2013

11.5

56.90

11.63

2011-2012

11.0

50.97

(15.81)

2010-2011

12.3

60.54

1.26

2009-2010

11.9

59.79

4.25

2008-2009

11.9

57.35

(5.72)

2007-2008

12.5

60.50

9.86

2006-2007

12.6

55.07

(6.5)

2005-2006

12.5

58.90

3.55

2004-2005

11.8

56.88

(.33)

2003-2004

11.2

57.07

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Source: National Ski Areas Association

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