May 18, 2005
SALT LAKE CITY - Utah ski industry marketers are calling it the perfect storm. Early and consistent snowfall, a surging economy, increased marketing efforts, a dearth of snow in other ski regions and the lingering afterglow of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games combined to fuel the busiest season in Utah's 66-year skiing history. For the second year in a row Utah resorts posted a record number of skier days, up 12 percent over last season's previous all-time high.
Some Utah resorts saw October snowfall amounts reach as high as 122 inches - 289 percent of the 24-year average for that month. "With the early snowfall we enjoyed this year, it's tough to have a bad season." said Ski Utah President Kip Pitou. "And it just keeps coming. Skiers and riders at Snowbird saw a two-foot dump just last week. It's been an incredible season. It's tough to argue that The Greatest Snow on Earth was anywhere but Utah this year."
With the Utah State Legislature's appropriation of 18 million dollars to fund tourism promotion over the next two years, Utah tourism entities are optimistic about the future. "Utah's ski industry is just hitting its stride," says Pitou. "We have a lot of momentum going into next year and look forward to pushing past the four million skier day mark."
Total 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) for the 2004-05 ski and snowboard season totaled 3,895,578, a 12 percent increase over last year's previous record. Utah's Summit County ski areas (Deer Valley Resort, Park City Mountain Resort and The Canyons Resort) saw a combined record for the third straight year in a row with visits totaling 1,608,332 - an 11.8 percent gain over last year and a 26.8 percent increase from 2001-02.
Total statewide skier days for the past 10 years are as follows:
Utah's official ski season continues through Memorial Day, May 30, at Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort where skiers and riders are currently enjoying a 182-inch base. Summer operations at other Utah resorts begin as early as Friday, May 27.
Information on Utah's 13 mountain resorts can be found at www.skiutah.com.