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The 2020 annual airline summit gave new insight

Each year the Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation hosts an annual Airline Summit, a chance for local businesses and organizations to hear presentations from leaders in our industry and valuable research from prior years.

This year Kelly Pawlak, President & CEO of the National Ski Areas Association gave a fascinating presentation on the ski industry as it stands today.

Ski Industry Overall

During the 2018/19 season, resorts across the U.S saw 53.9 million skiers. In the last 20 years, this number has fluctuated year to year but has remained between 51 and 60.5 million skiers per season.

In 2018/19 season, Colorado alone saw 13.8 million skiers, a 14% change from the 2017/18 season with California in second with 6.6 million skiers. It is no secret that the Rocky Mountain region (Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho) is home to some of the world’s top ski resorts. It should come as no surprise that the Rocky Mountain region saw a total of 24 million skiers, roughly 44.5% of the total skiers across all regions during the 2018/19 season.

While our number of skiers may top other regions, in the 2018/19 season, the Rocky Mountain region brought in $124 million in revenue, only more than the Pacific Southwest ($121 million) and the Southeast ($120 million).

Rocky Mountain Skier StatsMedian age is 37 years old.

In the 2018/19 season Generation Z had the largest showing in the Rocky Mountain region accounting for 31.5% of all skier visits.

In the last 10 years males have accounted for 61% of skier visits and females for 39%.

In the last 10 years higher level annual income brackets saw an increase in skier visits with $100,000-$199,000 accounting for 34% and $200,000 or above accounting for 30% of all skier visits.

The median pre-tax household income for the flight market is $172,000.

Rocky Mountain Skier Visit Stats

Most skiers visiting the Rocky Mountains expect to ski 6.5 days on average in a season, 54% of those days are over weekends and holidays and 47% are midweek. 41% of Rocky Mountain visitors are day visitors while the remaining 59% are overnight visitors with the average overnight visitor staying 5.5 nights.  

Colorado Flight Market Skier

75% of the Colorado flight market visitors rent lodging, 12% are second homeowners and 11% stay with family and friends during their stays. On average these visitors stay 6.5 nights and ski 4.8 days with 50% of them renting equipment and 16% taking lessons. Skiers account for 82% of visitors, snowboarders 15%, and other 3%.

Surprisingly only 4% of visitors are first time skiers while 51% are intermediate, 36% advanced, and 9% beginner.

Research shows that Steamboat visitors that fly into the Yampa Valley Regional Airport ski one more day than visitors that fly into Denver and drive to Steamboat.

Capital Expenditures

In the 2018/19 season the Rocky Mountains spent $243.2 million on capital expenditures including new and upgraded lifts, other on-mountain facilities and support, real estate, and summer/fall specific facilities and support. This accounts for nearly half of the overall capital expenditures across all regions in 2018/19 ($490.9 million).