Looks like the U.S. Ski industry had a successful year. The National Ski Areas Association just announced that this past season was the fifth best ever noting a strong recovery from the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season. Skier visit numbers to U.S. areas totaled 59 million for the 2020-21 ski season. As reported by industry trade journals, the average U.S. ski area was open for 112 days this past season, up from 99 days in the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season.
Weekday visitation accounted for 48% of total visits, a 27% increase from the previous season.
Not surprisingly, small and medium-sized ski areas (defined by lift capacity) performed well this winter, with more guests choosing to stay close to home for ski trips, and increased local demand for outdoor recreation in general.
Similar to what summer and beach resorts are experiencing, sixty percent of responding ski areas stated that they were not fully staffed this winter.
A new massive, multi-billion dollar ski resort is being planned for the eastern flank of Deer Valley Resort, UT. Mayflower Mountain Resort got approval last week for up to $260 million in bonds to help finance the project., according to the Park Record. The military authority that controls thousands of acres around the Jordanelle Reservoir and is overseeing the construction of the planned resort voted last week to approve the bond.
Two base areas are planned for the project, plus a handful of ski lifts, three hotels, 1,560 residential units and 250,000 square feet of commercial space. The bond loan accounts for a fraction of the $3.2 billion expected to be spent on the resort in the first five years of the project, according to documents accompanying a presentation to the Military Installation Development Authority, or MIDA. One of the hotels will include 100 rooms dedicated to military personnel, a “military welfare recreation” facility that is the reason for MIDA’s involvement.
Project managers have already secured $170 million for constructing infrastructure, with work underway and significant aspects of it already completed. The vast majority of the remaining funding is expected to come from private sources.
Groundbreaking was scheduled soon. The New York-based developer pursuing the project, Gary Barnett, is the force behind Extell Development, which is known for building New York City skyscrapers. Extell’s local arm, Ex Utah Development, is developing the resort.