Data shows that visitors came to Park City last ski season, regardless of low snow
The numbers are in. Even though Park City ski resorts and the surrounding region had low snowpacks during the 2017-18 ski season, visitors still came.
Skier and snowboarder visits were down in the Rocky Mountain region, according to the National Ski Areas Association. But both occupancy and average daily rates for lodging in Park City were relatively even with the previous year’s numbers, said Bill Malone, president and CEO of the Park City Chamber/Bureau. Because of the low snow levels, he was surprised to see occupancy numbers decrease by only 1 percent compared to last year.
“If you would have told me in October that we were going to get 200 inches of snow and only be down 1 percent, I would have said, ‘You’re crazy,’” he said. “I would have expected our occupancy to be down much more (because) of the way our snow fell.”
The Rocky Mountain region’s skier days were a little below the 10-year average, said Kelly Pawlak, president and CEO of the NSAA. Skier days dropped by 5 percent this season compared to last season. Data regarding skier days in Utah is expected to be released in the coming weeks by Ski Utah.
Malone said that occupancy dipped in December, January and February when the snowpack was very low, but the last few storms in March and April helped even out the numbers for the season. Average daily rates also fluctuated a little with the snowfall, he said.
But overall, he said “it doesn’t seem that the snowfall had a huge impact” on the amount of visitors Park City saw.
He said that the fact that occupancy was still high shows the resilience of customers visiting Park City and the confidence they have in the snowmaking and grooming capabilities of the resorts in the area.
“From a guest standpoint, I think they are still pretty confident in choosing us as a destination for a ski vacation,” he said.
Many businesses that depend on snow to attract customers, such as on-mountain dining and ski rental shops, were negatively affected by the poor snow this season, Malone said. But when visitors had enough of the mountains because of the snow conditions, they found other activities to do in town.
“It looks as though, while somebody may have experienced pain from the snow, somebody else probably benefited,” he said. “Spending was different this year. There were more dollars spent in some places and less in others.”
Deer Valley Resort hired Jamo O’Reilly as the director of lodging operations to oversee its more than 450 residences.