U.S. ski areas tallied up 60.1 million visits during the 2010-11 season. The announcement of preliminary totals for the annual Kottke End of Season Survey were made public during the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) convention at La Costa resort in Carlsbad, Calif.
The total is just shy of the 60.5 million record setter from the 2007-08 season, and represented an .06 percent increase over last year. The continuing snowfall all across the country - well, almost, the Southeast region saw a 42 percent decline - and the slightly recovering economy seemed to combine for the solid numbers.
The national snowfall at resorts was up 27 percent and was the highest in the past 20 years the Kottke survey has been reported. The average season length increased and many resorts opened early and closed later than usual. The biggest increases in snowfall were in the Pacific Southwest (up 43 percent); Northeast (up 37 percent); Rocky Mountains (up 31 percent); and Midwest (up 26 percent); and Pacific Northwest (up 9 percent).
The largest visitor gains were in the Northeast (up 4 percent) and the R ockies (up 1.7 percent). The industry, as a whole, exceeded its 10-year average by 4.1 percent.
Check out Halley O'Brien's video below of highlights from the NSAA convention include brief interviews with snowboard superstar Shaun White and Aron Ralston, subject of the film, "127 Hours."