Vermont ski areas rebound to 4.3 million skier visits in 2010-2011
The Vermont Ski Areas Association announced at its annual meeting at Sugarbush Resort that Vermont's ski resorts recorded 4,365,906 visits for the 2010-11 season, marking the best year since 2004-05 and maintaining Vermont’s ranking as the third-largest ski state in the country, behind only Colorado and California.
In what was the third snowiest season on record, Vermont ski resorts noted that they saw a substantial rebound in snowfall and consumer confidence over previous years.
VSAA reported last year at this time that Vermont’s ski resorts recorded 4,125,082 skier visits for the 2009-10 season, which marked a 1.4 percent increase over the 2009-2009 season’s tally. VSAA noted at the time that 4.1 million tracked the five-year average.
“Amid the lingering effects of the recession, the ski and ride industry once again proved its resilience as a cornerstone of Vermont’s economy, bringing rooms & meals tax revenues 5 percent ahead of last season’s expenditures and generating 6.5% more in sales tax revenues for the winter months,” Ski Vermont President Parker Riehle said. “The post-recession rebound in skier/rider consumer confidence was evident on and off the mountains, and the outdoor retail industry reported record numbers not seen in years.”
Nationally, skier visits were the second best on record, with the Northeast posting the biggest gains of any region in the country. With 80 million people within a day’s drive of Vermont’s mountains, Ski Vermont has continued to focus its efforts at converting first-timers to life-timers with innovative learn-to programs through VSAA and its member resorts.
The annual gathering of more than 250 industry professionals was presented with VSAA's efforts over the past year in governmental affairs, marketing and public affairs, and NSAA President Michael Berry gave an overview of the season from the national perspective. In addition, Reach Advisors President James Chung presented the latest industry trends and research.
Green Mountain Coffee Senior Marketing Specialist Roger Garufi was presented with the Friend of the Industry Award, and the Career Employee Awards went to industry veterans Timothy Hahn, Wayne Smith and Betty Merrill, all from Killington Resort.
National Ski Report
The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) announced in May that US ski areas tallied 60.1 million skier and snowboarder visits during the 2010/11 season, according to the preliminary 2010/11 Kottke End of Season Survey. This marks the second time that the ski industry has broken the 60 million visit threshold, and represents a 0.6 percent increase from last season’s 59.8 million visits, and is just shy of the 60.5 million visit record set in 2007-2008.
Nationally, snowfall at resorts was up 27 percent this season, and was the highest recorded in 20 years of Kottke research. As a result, the average season operating length increased, and some resorts opened early and/or remained open beyond normal closing dates.
Most regions experienced increased snowfall, with particularly large increases in the Pacific Southwest (up 43 percent), Northeast (up 37 percent), Rocky Mountains (up 31 percent), and Midwest (up 26 percent), and to a lesser extent the Pacific Northwest (up 9 percent). The Southeast was the only region with a decline in snowfall (down 42 percent).
Gains in visits occurred in most regions, including the Northeast (up 4.0 percent from last season), Rockies (1.7 percent), Midwest (1.0 percent), and Pacific Northwest (0.3 percent). Decreased visits were experienced by both the Pacific Southwest (-5.0 percent) and Southeast (-3.6 percent).
In a further indication of widespread solid performance, the industry as a whole exceeded its 10-season average by 4.1 percent, a pattern echoed by all regions, including the Northeast (up 5.3 percent from its 10-season average), Southeast (up 4.8 percent), Midwest (up 2.2 percent), Rocky Mountains (up 4.0 percent), Pacific Southwest (up 2.0 percent), and Pacific Northwest (up 7.0 percent).
A final report will be issued in July. For more information visit nsaa.org.
Source: WARREN, Vt. (June 15, 2011) The Vermont Ski Areas Association & NSAA.org. Photo courtesy Sugarbush Resort.