According to NSAA (National Ski Areas Association) the 2010/2011 ski season marked the second-highest skier visits on record at 60.1 million. And when we in the ski industry say
“skier visits” we are referring to any form of sliding on snow–snowboard, snowskate, skis, monoskis, even the new snowbikes I saw all over the place this season. That’s a lot of clicking/strapping and stepping into bindings going on. Only one other time have we exceeded the 60 million mark back in 07/08 when we hit 60.5 million.
Undoubtedly snowfall has much to do with this increase. According to the research sited by NSAA, ski areas nationwide saw an average of 27 percent increase in snowfall. As Warren Miller likes to say, “it’s always snowing somewhere”. But this season, it snowed everywhere. Well, not in the Alps. Nor in the American Southwest. And not too much in Alaska. But most everywhere in the Lower 48, it dumped.
At Crystal Mountain, we opened November 19th this season, and we’re still open on the weekends, and with the new gondola, we hope to stay open for skiing into July, making this a record season. Except for a brief hiatus in January, we’ve had consistent snowfall all
year. In fact, for a while there we had perfect snowfall–6 inches every night and clear skies every morning. That was a glorious few weeks.
And now, it’s still snowing at Crystal. In fact, we just topped our previous snowfall record. As of today, Friday May 27th (with 7 new inches since Wednesday) we now have reached 600″ of snowfall this season. That’s Crystal’s biggest snowfall on record. Gracias La Nina!
The sport of sliding on snow has never been stronger. Big snowfall, record numbers of visits and the help of Pacific Decadal Oscillation all seem to be working in our favor.
And remember, as Warren Miller says, “the best place to ski in the world is the place your are skiing that day.”