The 2018/2019 season marks the fourth biggest for the US ski industry thanks to a fantastic season of snow that has attracted a huge number of visitors and extended resort openings. Some resorts in Vermont, The Rocky Mountains, California and Nevada are still open and even going beyond their expected resort closure dates.
Overall, 59 million skiers have visited US resorts which is a significant increase from the previous year of 53.3 million visitors according to NSAA (National Ski Areas Association). Ski visitors to California and Nevada in particular have increased by 17% from last year to 7.3 million visitors. These visits were close to visitor numbers during the 2015/2016 season but better than in the 2016/2017 season thanks to the snow conditions. This is also up by 11% over a 10 year average. Visits to the Rocky Mountains reached a whopping 24 million which crushed the previous year’s statistics by 2 million.
Visits were also up for every month during the season from October through to March. The average days a resort was open this season was 145, an increase of 16 days from the previous season and the highest it has been in 9 years.
The president and CEO of NSAA, Kelly Pawlak claims that the “snow was our greatest asset and this year was one to remember”.The Nationwide snowfall was up by 31% compared to last season meaning “nearly every resort closed on time or later with over half staying open later than expected” according to the president of Ski California, Michael Reitzell. The average snowfall in both California and Nevada is about 300 inches, but the 2018/2019 saw an average of 450 inches with 5 resorts evening receiving over 600 inches. February had snowfall 213% above the average and for the year it was 47% above average for the last 16 seasons!
Heavy snowfall in Mammoth Mountain
But the season isn’t over just yet for these US resorts. About two thirds of the 2 Canadian and 12 US ski areas still open, usually remain open until the late spring or even early summer each year. The remaining third of the North American resorts are now new late season openers for this season. This includes Breckenridge and Heavenly which are both continuing to stay open into the last weekend of May, with Breckenridge making a permanent season extension until the end of May every year. Not only does this mean the ability to hit the slopes well into spring, but for resorts like Keystone opening as early as October, it means Epic Pass holders can ski for a solid 8 months during Colorado’s season!
Mammoth and Squaw Valley also still retain 4 metres of snow on their upper slopes and have pushed back their resort closing date until the start of July. Snowbowl in southern Arizona moreover has enjoyed the longest season on record of 158 days and continues to remain open into late May. Also Killington has surpassed 200 days of the season a week ago and is hoping to remain open until June.
If you’re looking to venture across the pond into epic North American resorts for next season, why not view our ski deals below or give us a call and speak to a ski expert about your next North America ski holiday.