It was a monster year for the ski industry.
The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) reported record visitation at U.S. ski areas for the 2021-22 season, with a total of 61 million skier visits. That was an increase of 3.5 percent over last season’s national number.
The Northeast, a region that includes New England and New York, saw roughly 12.76 million skier visits, an increase of more than four percent from last season. It was the highest number for the region since the 2014-15 season, which saw 13.3 million skier visits.
According to the NSAA’s historical numbers, which go back to 1978-79, the 1986-87 season was there strongest for the Northeast with 14.75 million skier visits recorded.
“This record visitation signals that the U.S. ski industry is healthy, and that the demand for outdoor recreation remains strong,” NSAA said in a release. “There were signs of this during the 2020-21 season as the realities of the Covid-19 pandemic led more people to seek outdoor activities. Strong skier numbers bode well for the long-term health of the sport, especially since participant numbers have been relatively flat over the past decade. The number of operating ski areas also jumped from 462 last season to 473 this season, another positive indicator.”
A skier visit is recorded every time an individual uses a lift ticket or pass at a ski area. Although a handful of U.S. ski areas are still spinning their lifts (including Jay Peak and Killington this weekend), the number is not expected to increase significantly.
NSAA divides the country into six regions. The Rocky Mountain region reported a record-high number of skier visits, totaling 25.2 million. Only two regions – the Southeast and Pacific Northwest – reported decreases in skier visits compared to 2020-21.
“Skiing and snowboarding have rebounded in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, providing economic relief and thousands of jobs to communities across 37 ski states,” NSAA said in its release. “Strong season pass sales and a continued desire for outdoor recreation are two of the primary contributing factors to the season’s record-breaking results.”
It was the third-straight season that passes surpassed day tickets in share of skier visits, signaling the continued strength of the multi-mountain pass. Season pass holders made up 51.9 percent of visits nationally, with day tickets claiming 37.3 percent of visits. Ski areas of all sizes, in all regions, saw an increase in number of season passes sold.
The 61 million visits recorded nationwide this past season bests the 2010-11 season, which saw 60.5 million skier visits.