The Utah ski and snowboard industry wrapped up the 2009-10 winter season with the closing of Snowbird this past Sunday, and the numbers are up from last year with a total of 4,048,153 skier days, a two percent growth from the 2008-09 season.
The 2008-09 winter season, reeling from the effects of the recession in late 2008, tallied 3,972,984 skier days, defined by the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) as one guest visiting a ski area for all or any part of a day or night for the purpose of skiing or snowboarding. Even with economic trouble, the 2008-09 season ranked as the fifth busiest ski season in Utah’s history. In comparison, the 2009-10 season finished fourth.
Ski Utah President Nathan Rafferty said visitation numbers improved steadily after the new year and continued to expand through the end of the season, as snowfall picked up throughout the winter.
Mother Nature extended Utah’s season, delivering a remarkable 152 inches of snow to Little Cottonwood Canyon in April and 58 inches in May. Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort, which only recently closed winter operations on June 20, recorded a season snow total of 603 inches, well above their 500-inch average.
Nationwide, 2009-10 was the second best ski season on record, tallying 59.7 million skier visits according to preliminary numbers released by the NSAA in May, only 1.2 percent below the all time record of 60.5 million visits achieved in 2007-08 and exceeding its 10-season average by 3.9 percent.