Revised skier days even better | ParkRecord.com

Revised skier days even better

by Andrew Kirk, OF THE RECORD STAFF

The 2010-2011 winter was even better than thought.

Earlier this year Ski Utah, the joint marketing agent for all resorts, estimated the most recent winter would finish as the second-best of all time for skier days the unit of measurement for one skier at one resort one day.

A report from the Utah Ski and Snowboard Association released this week reveals the season, which officially ended July 4 with the closure of Snowbird Resort, saw 4,220,064 skier days compared to the estimated 4.2 million.

That places it even closer to the all-time record set in the 2007-2008 winter with 4,249,190 skier days. It also means a 4.23 percent increase over last winter’s final number.

The association attributes the popularity of the sport to record snowfall. Snowbird, which stayed open the longest, exceeded its previous snow-depth record set in 1984 by eight feet.

The report also said that while at the resorts, skiers and snowboarders spent an estimated $1.173 billion. That exceeds the 2007-2008 record of $1.06 billion.

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Winter-sport experts have been pleased with the resiliency of the ski and snowboarding industries during the recession. The worst winter was 2008-2009, which still saw about 3,973,000 skier days approximating the 2004-2005 winter.

What hurt the resorts most was the frugality of visitors during the recession, but the record spending last winter suggests that trend is over as well.

Ski Utah spokesperson Jessica Kunzer said she believes the most significant difference between last winter and the record-setting 2007-2008 winter was the type of tickets visitors purchased.

The number of skiers or snowboarders visiting a Utah resort for the first time was the same, as was the number of international visitors. But five percent fewer single-day passes were sold last winter, she said.

Visitors purchased significantly more multi-day passes than in 2007-2008 and significantly fewer season passes, she said. More than a quarter of all skier days were season pass holders three winters ago. This year it was only 18 percent less than half of whom were Utahns.

Kunzer guesses the increase in multi-day pass use is attributable to packaged lodging deals.

"You’ll find more value for your money if you commit to multi-day passes," she explained. "The modern consumer is looking for value."

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