October 19, 2001 Features & Images » Feature Story

The numbers game - part 1 

Page 3 of 3

Intrawest-owned Copper Mountain, also located in Colorado, almost reached the one-million mark with 993,000 visits.

"Thanks to the increased snowfall and the enthusiasm of our guests, we're thrilled (with) such a successful season," says NSAA president Michael Berry.

But that enthusiasm might be a bit short-sighted as U.S. skier numbers have steadily declined in the past decade.

According to NSAA figures, 7.4 million skiers hit the slopes during the 1999-2000 season in the U.S., a 35 per cent decrease from 11.4 million in 1990.

Frequent skiers (those who ski more than 20 days per season, according to the NSAA) make up 15 per cent of the 7.4 million total, while the number of infrequent skiers (those who ski between two and four days per season) add up to 48 per cent.

Occasional skiers (those who ski between five and 19 days) make up the remaining 37 per cent.

Interestingly enough, snowboarder numbers in the U.S. seem to have improved in that same time period – 4.3 million snowboarders visited U.S. resorts in 1999-00, up from 1.5 million in 1990.

According to NSAA figures, 35 per cent of boarders ride frequently (more than 10 days), while 65 per cent ride occasionally (from two to nine days.)

But others involved in the snowsport industry say skier/rider visits or skier/rider numbers are not the most accurate way to measure growth in the industry.

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