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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Ski & Snowboard News / Utah skier visits down

May 21, 2015 09:15AM ● By Harriet Wallis

photo: Harriet Wallis

The numbers have been tallied. There was a 4.9 percent drop in skier visits in Utah during the 2014-15 season. But compared to the 5 year average of 4,037,349 the number represents only a 2.2 percent decrease. This season ended with a total of 3,946,762 million skier days. 

Skier days were down everywhere. Blame it on the weather. The West had too little snow. The East had too much.

Nationally, skier days were down from 56.5 million to 53.6 million, a 5 percent decrease from the previous season. The drought in the Far West (California and Pacific Northwest) and the unprecedented amount of snow and cold temperatures in the Northeast resulted in decreased skier visitation in all six regions, as reported by the National Ski Areas Association.

According to the National Weather Service, Utah’s statewide annual snowfall was 41 percent of average. Mother Nature assisted in the beginning of the season, with Utah ski areas recording between 100 percent and 130 percent above average snowfall as of January 1, 2015.

This early season snow, in combination with resort investment in effective, energy-efficient snowmaking, resulted in another successful season. By comparison, total snowfall during the 1976-77 winter season was equivalent to this year, but skier days dropped 53 percent in an era before modern snowmaking equipment was available.