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Industry News

NSAA: Ski Area Visits Grow 6.6 Percent In 2022/23 Season; Rockies Led With Nearly 28M Visits

Source:CHINA SPORTING GOODS FEDERATIONRelease time:2023-05-16Clicks:
Article From:SGB Media

Preliminary numbers from the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) indicate record visitation at U.S. ski areas for the 2022/23 season, with a total of 64.7 million skier visits*, a 6.6 percent increase over the previous season. A skier visit is recorded every time an individual uses a lift ticket or pass at a ski area. 
What The Numbers Means
Skier visits are a key performance indicator for the ski industry. Two consecutive seasons of record visitation signals that the U.S. ski industry is healthy and that the demand for outdoor recreation is strong. Factors contributing to this record season include:
a robust snow year in the Rockies and Pacific Southwest regions;
growing options of season passes and frequency products; and
an increased desire to get outside, especially among lapsed skiers who have returned to the slopes since the pandemic.
The number of operating ski areas also jumped from 473 last season to 481 this season, another positive indicator; however, the growth in the operating regions contributed only marginally to the overall increase.
Regional Impacts
NSAA divides the country into six regions, with two regions having record skier visits. The Rocky Mountain region reported a record-high number of skier visits for the second consecutive season, totaling 27.9 million. The Pacific Northwest region also finished its best year on record, totaling 4.5 million. The Northeast and Pacific Southwest (third best year on record) were other regions with increases in season-over-season skier visits. Only the Southeast and Midwest reported slight decreases in skier visits compared to 2021/22.
Historically, fluctuations in skier visit numbers could correlate with snowfall—more snow generally meant more skier visits. This season was no different, with record snow totals at western ski areas contributing to increased visitation frequency, despite weather-related travel challenges. Average snowfall at ski areas nationally totaled 224 inches, a 30 percent increase over the ten-year average of 173 inches. As a result, the average season length was 116 days, a rise of six days over the previous season.
Capital Investment
Capital investment by ski areas totaled $812.4 million in the 2022/23 season, a record high for the industry. Most capital expenditures were invested into lift infrastructure, with 63 new and 86 upgraded lifts installed at ski areas across the country. Last season, the average ski area invested nearly $26 per skier visit back into its operation, a significant increase over the previous three-season average of $15, especially given the increase in overall skier visits.
Season Passes Surpass Day Tickets 
For the fourth season, season passes surpassed day tickets in share of skier visits. Season pass holders made up 50 percent of visits nationally, with standard day lift tickets claiming 33 percent. The balance is claimed by frequency products, off-duty employees, complementary products, etc.
The ski industry is gradually recovering from last season’s staffing challenges, with only 60 percent of ski areas reporting being understaffed, down from 81 percent last season. The average number of positions left unfilled also decreased from last year’s high of 72 to an average of 39 this season. Average ski area wages increased 18 percent from the 2021/22 season, outpacing the national average of 4.6 percent. Approximately half of all ski areas said they planned to increase their workforce housing capacity.
A skier visit is recorded every time an individual uses a lift ticket or pass at a ski area. The number is preliminary as several ski areas have extended their seasons, and NSAA collects updated numbers as those ski areas close for winter operations. NSAA has been tracking skier visits since the 1978/79 season.

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