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The Utah ski and snowboard industry announced 3,802,536 million skier day visits during the 2011-12 winter season, down 10 percent from the previous season’s number of visits. The 2010-11 season was Utah’s second-best season on record, behind the 2007-08 season, which recorded 4,249,190 skier days. The National Ski Areas Association defines “skier days” as one person visiting a ski area for all or any part of a day or night for the purpose of skiing/snowboarding.
Low snow totals were an issue for resorts nationwide, and the persistence of a wavering economy are credited for the decrease at Utah ski and snowboard resorts this season. Despite the downturn, Ski Utah is confident that awareness and demand for the Utah winter sport product is headed on a positive trajectory. Utah skier day visits performed well in comparison to the national average, which was down 15 percent from last season according to the National Ski Area Association.
“Utah ski and snowboard resorts did an exceptional job compensating for the lack of early season snow with a record level of snowmaking,” said Ski Utah president Nathan Rafferty. “Unfortunately, by the time Mother Nature joined the effort, many consumers had already turned their attention away from skiing and snowboarding.”
Ski Utah also observed that while participation in on-snow activities declined this season, many complementary businesses — such as restaurants and shops — reported steady to strong business indicating that visitors supplemented their vacations with other activities.