The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) announced skier visits to U.S. areas totaled more than 59 million for the 2018/19 season. This preliminary number represents a nearly 11 percent increase over the 2017/18 season total of 53.3 million.
Abundant snowfall – up 31 percent nationwide over the previous season – and continued improvements to the guest experience contributed to increases in visitation in every region across the country. The 2018/19 season ranks as the fourth best since NSAA began recording visitation in 1978/79.
“Snow is our greatest asset and this year was one to remember,” said Kelly Pawlak, NSAA president and CEO. “Skiers and riders were greeted with an awesome on-snow experience. Continued investment in infrastructure, like chairlifts and snowmaking, make those days on the slopes even better.”
Visitation grew the most in the Pacific Southwest and Rocky Mountain regions, by 22.9 percent and 15.6 percent respectively over the previous season. Total visitation numbers were highest in the Rocky Mountain region at over 24 million (a record year for the region), followed by the Northeast with approximately 12.7 million. Read more.
Quebec’s Les Sommets Wins NSAA’s 9th Conversion Cup
Quebec, Canada’s multi-resort group Les Sommets was announced as the winner of the NSAA Conversion Cup. Now in its ninth season, the competition gives ski areas the opportunity to boast about their programs to increase beginner conversion.
Les Sommets has dedicated significant effort and resources to its beginner conversion programs, which has produced increased numbers of participants in every season since 2014-15. According to a report in the NSAA Journal, The Intro-Plus Experience is the signature arrow in Les Sommet’s quiver of beginner programs. This package, introduced in 2012-13, now represents 65 percent of the total beginner lessons at the resort.
An additional program, the 3-Visit Package, is the most popular learning program at Les Sommets. Upon completion of the three one-hour private lessons, the new snow slider is given a free Spring Pass and a ticket for the mountain coaster. Last season, 89 percent of students completed all three lessons.
Other nominees included Blue Mountain Resort, Penn., and Boreal Mountain Resort, Calif.
Summer Telemark Event
If your idea of a summer vacation is to follow winter and take some tele turns south of the equator, check out this event happening in the Southern Hemisphere, hosted by PSIA members Karen Reader and Patti Banks.
The Women’s Telemark & Alpine Ski Camp happens at Nevados de Chillan on August 18 - 25, 2019. Based out of the beautiful Roca Negra Lodge and Spa, the event includes daily telemark ski instruction with Karen and Patti (both PSIA certified coaches), small all-female groups, personalized coaching, and a chance to connect with other women who want to ski in the summer and experience a slice of South America.
- Peter Kray