Fewer skiers hit Utah slopes the year after record snowfall

Skiers and snowboarders enjoy their day at Sundance Mountain Resort in Provo Canyon on March 13. About 6.75 million skier visits were recorded over the past winter, a slight decrease from the previous record-setting winter.

Skiers and snowboarders enjoy their day at Sundance Mountain Resort in Provo Canyon on March 13. About 6.75 million skier visits were recorded over the past winter, a slight decrease from the previous record-setting winter. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)


Save Story
Leer en español

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Year-over-year visitation at Utah's 15 ski resorts dipped this past winter, but that only affirms how impressive the 2022-2023 ski season was.

Utah's ski resorts recorded almost 6.75 million skier visits in the most recent 2023-24 ski season, as Utahns and out-of-state visitors took advantage of the state's second strong snow season, according Ski Utah data released Wednesday.

A skier visit is defined as one person skiing or snowboarding for one day, meaning an individual can be represented multiple times over the course of a season.

This year's data represents about a 5% decline from the previous year, when Utah experienced the largest snowfall on record. But skier visits during the 2023-2024 season is also about 16% higher than what Utah resorts recorded two years ago.

"We are immensely proud of this season's success and extend our heartfelt appreciation to everyone who contributed to making it memorable," said Ski Utah president and CEO Nathan Rafferty, in a statement.

The ski industry typically plays an important role in Utah's tourism economy.

University of Utah Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute reported last year the 7.1 million skier visits during the 2022-2023 season generated about $2.64 billion in state spending. The industry accounted for a little more than one-fifth of the nearly $12 billion in visitor spending generated by tourism in 2022.

Jennifer Leaver, a Gardner Policy Institute senior tourism analyst, wrote in a follow-up report earlier this year that Utah's record snowfall — reaching as much as 903 inches at Alta Ski Area — was probably the reason why 12 out of 15 resorts broke visitation records that year.

"Record-setting snowfall in Utah's mountains likely contributed to the unprecedented ski season," she wrote, adding that the snow also ended up boosting visitation at Utah reservoirs over the following summer.

This year's snowfall wasn't as robust. Alta received 628 inches of snow this past winter, which was still its second-highest total in the past decade and a 41% increase in snowfall from two winters ago.

This is what helped keep skier visits stable this past winter.

Meanwhile, Ski Utah officials say resorts are already planning for next winter, while offering summer activities like mountain biking and hiking.

Powder Mountain's owner and Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings unveiled big changes for the northern Utah resort in December. The plans call for new lifts while the resort becomes a mixed public-private facility.

"The future is bright for Utah with a variety of capital investments slated ahead of the 2024-25 season and the potential announcement of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games returning to Utah," Rafferty said.

Related stories

Most recent Utah travel and tourism stories

Related topics

Utah travel and tourismUtahBusinessOutdoors
Carter Williams is a reporter who covers general news, local government, outdoors, history and sports for KSL.com.

STAY IN THE KNOW

Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the KSL.com Trending 5.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to KSL.com's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast