Utah enjoys stellar 2010-11 ski season

Jul 6 2011 - 10:47pm

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(ROBERT JOHNSON/Standard-Examiner) Brad Smith carves through the powder after an overnight storm left 6 inches of fresh snow at Snowbasin ski resort in February. Snowbasin reopened for some summer skiing in June because the resort still had a 100-inch base at that time.
(ROBERT JOHNSON/Standard-Examiner) Brad Smith carves through the powder after an overnight storm left 6 inches of fresh snow at Snowbasin ski resort in February. Snowbasin reopened for some summer skiing in June because the resort still had a 100-inch base at that time.

The numbers were up this season for Utah's ski and snowboard resorts, and one local resort experienced its best season in history.

Patrick Lundin, marketing manager at Powder Mountain near Huntsville, said the resort had its best year in history in revenue and skier visits.

Powder Mountain, named the nation's No. 1 value resort by Ski Magazine readers in 2009, was not alone in welcoming big crowds to the ski lifts.

Jason Dyer, public relations and marketing manager at Snowbasin, said Northern Utah's biggest resort was up about 4 percent from last year.

"We had great snow and everybody was happy."

The state's skiing/snowboarding season ended earlier this week as the second-busiest season in history.

According to the Utah Ski & Snowboard Association, Utah's 14 ski and snowboard resorts recorded 4,223,064 skier day visits during the season. That is a 4.23 percent increase over last year's total and 0.6 percent below Utah's all-time record, set in 2007-08.

Jeff Summer, mountain manager at Wolf Mountain in Liberty, said skier days there this season were about the same as the previous year.

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.

Ski Utah does not track totals for individual resorts, and Lundin and Dyer said resorts typically do not release those individual totals.

Lundin pointed to specific reasons, such as an early and record snowfall in Utah as well as efforts by Powder Mountain, as to why the resort had a record year.

"I think between value and the way we priced our season passes for locals and law enforcement, all of the things we've done marketingwise has raised the bar," he said.

"I would definitely say that the early snowfall and record snowfall helped numbers, there's no doubt about that. But also, Utah is becoming more and more on the map, and destination skiers are definitely taking note."

Snowbasin reopened for some summer skiing in June because the resort still had a 100-inch base at that time.

"If it were not for the rain, we would have been open through the Fourth of July," Dyer said. "It was awesome. We had the snow and the demand was there for it."

Spending generated by skiers/riders was an estimated $1.173 billion, according to a research study conducted by RRC Association for the state industry marketing group. This number surpasses the estimate from Utah's 2007-08 record season of $1.06 billion.

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