Utah Skier Numbers Remain Promising Depsite an Abrupt End to the 2019–20 Season

June 24 2020

Salt Lake City, UT (June 24, 2020) — Despite an abrupt, early end to the ski season amidst the coronavirus pandemic, Utah ski resorts still saw the 4th best season on record with 4,392,698 skier visits recorded for the 2019–20 winter season. A skier visit is counted every time a skiing or snowboarding guest visits a ski area or resort. Utah’s ski resorts saw the highest per-capita spend on record, but experts estimate that the Utah ski industry experienced a massive revenue loss of $232.4 million due to the early closures.
 
“Ending the ski season early in Utah was devastating for our ski resorts and for our community,” said Ski Utah President & CEO, Nathan Rafferty, “but to see this abbreviated season still rank as our fourth highest visitation on record shows the strength of Utah’s ski industry.”
 
While Utah’s skier visits for the 2019–20 season were down 14.3% from the previous record 2018–19 season, skier visits were still up 2.4% from the 10-year average, and experts believe that Utah ski resorts were likely on track for another record visitation number. In addition to this winter’s visit count ranking as the 4th highest season on record, Utah also saw the highest per-capita spend on record, resulting in a direct economic impact of $1.551 billion, the second highest on record.
 
The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) released nationwide skier visitation count last week, noting that the coronavirus pandemic derailed what could have been a top four season for the U.S. overall as well. Similar to Utah, skier visit numbers to U.S. areas were down almost 14% compared to the 2018–19 season, totaling 51.1 million for the 2019–20 ski season.
 
Additional data shows that the average U.S. ski area was only open for 99 days this past season, down from 121 days in the 2018/19 season, with 93% of resorts in the United States having closed earlier than projected.
 
As ski resorts in Utah begin to open for the summer, a new normal has begun in the Wasatch — including limited capacities and additional health and safety precautions for resort summer activities. In addition to reopening for the summer, Utah’s resorts are preparing for the 20–21 winter with more pass assurance than ever before. Many passes are offering deferral programs, additional insurance, and extended deadlines to help skiers and snowboarders rest easy with their season pass purchase.
 
“Utah was poised to log a second record season in a row before resort closures began on March 14, one of the busiest check-in days of the season,” said Ski Utah President & CEO, Nathan Rafferty. “I am proud of our industry and the difficult but responsible decisions made by Utah resorts to prioritize the safety of their guests and employees. While it’s sure to look different next winter with new safety measures in place, I am optimistic that skiing and riding will be better than ever during the upcoming 2020–21 ski season."

Additional information:
Utah Resorts Summer 2020 Operations
2019–20 Winter Snowfall Wrap Up
2020–21 Season Passes & Pass Insurance

Media Photos:
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*Images downloaded may be used for editorial use only. Please review copyright and include photographer credit in all publications. Please contact anelise@skiutah.com with any questions.

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About Ski Utah: Ski Utah is the marketing arm of the Utah Ski & Snowboard Association and has been creating brand awareness of and demand for Utah's winter sports product since its inception in 1978. Please contact Anelise Bergin at anelise@skiutah.com for more information on these stories or to request additional content. Head to https://www.skiutah.com/trip-planner to start planning your trip.

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