According to a new report produced by RRC Associates for the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), despite the pandemic Ski California resorts saw increased visitation during the 2020-21 winter season. Skier visits at California and Nevada ski areas were up nearly 22% as compared to the 2019-20 season, with a total of 6,753,303 estimated visits to downhill ski areas in 2020-21. In a state-by-state ranking, this result positions California as the second most visited state for skiing and riding in terms of visitation, trailing only Colorado.
“The thoughtful, detailed planning and preparation that went into last season paid off in so many ways. Resorts were able to offer a full season of outdoor recreation, and skiers and riders had access to something they love to do,” said Michael Reitzell, Ski California president.
“The increase in visitation that Ski California resorts saw points to what we had anticipated—people wanted to feel a sense of normalcy and actively sought out ways to safely spend time outdoors.”
Ahead of the 2020-21 season, Ski California member resorts implemented new policies, procedures and experiences aimed at maintaining public health and safety that adhered to federal, state and local guidance. Resorts invested millions of dollars in COVID-19 safety, including new technologies and sanitization procedures designed to aid with physical distancing and public health, and to reduce contact points throughout the resort. This included things like RFID ticketing and scanning, online food and beverage ordering, and online advance purchase of everything from lift tickets to lessons and equipment rentals. The hard work and planning kept resorts open all season without interruption.
Other interesting results from the 2020-21 season reported by resorts in the Pacific Southwest (CA, NV and AZ) outlined in the report included:
- Average of 134 days open (above 10-year average of 126; 4th best in last 10 years)
- 91% of resorts opened early or on time versus 48% of national average
- Only 5% closed early, 55% on time, 41% closed late
- 58% of visits from season passholders (highest ever), 34% from day tickets (lowest ever)