As winter approaches, the Park City Chamber of Commerce has expressed optimism about the upcoming tourism season in their recent fall forum. Despite a slight lag in lodging reservations immediately after Christmas, hotel bookings around Thanksgiving and the days leading up to Christmas remain strong. The Chamber’s President and CEO, Jennifer Wesselhoff, attributed this trend to the holiday falling on a Monday and the shifting school break schedules.
Last winter, Park City and the state of Utah experienced an extraordinary ski season that broke numerous records. Wesselhoff highlighted some remarkable statistics, including 13 out of 15 resorts in Utah setting all-time snowfall records and 10 out of 15 resorts enjoying their longest ski season ever. The heavy snowfall and exceptional ski conditions last season led to increased visitation not only in Park City but also in ski areas across the country.
Summit County, where Park City is located, recorded nearly 2.8 million skier days last winter, marking an all-time high. Utah as a whole welcomed over 7 million skiers, surpassing previous visitation records by 22%. The National Ski Areas Association reported that approximately 65 million people hit the slopes across the United States, setting yet another record.
Moreover, Wesselhoff shared interesting demographics about skiers in the Rocky Mountain region, which includes states like Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, New Mexico, and Montana. She revealed that 39% of skiers in the region are female, with almost 70% earning $100,000 or more. Additionally, she noted a shift in the median age of skiers, which has risen from 34 to 38 years old in the past decade. These changing demographics emphasize the need for attracting younger generations to the slopes.
While levels of consumer confidence may be lower and COVID-19 still impacting travel plans for some Americans, Wesselhoff remains positive about the winter tourism season. Stable lodging rates, cooling inflation, and ongoing capital investments by resorts in the Rocky Mountain region, averaging $33 per skier visit, contribute to her expectation of a “solid” winter tourism season.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. What is the current status of hotel bookings in Park City for the winter season?
Hotel bookings in Park City are strong around Thanksgiving and the days leading up to Christmas. However, reservations for the period immediately after Christmas are slightly behind. This is partly due to the holiday falling on a Monday and schools shifting their break schedules.
2. How well did Park City and Utah perform in terms of visitation last winter?
Park City and the state of Utah experienced a record-breaking ski season last winter. 13 out of 15 resorts in Utah set all-time snowfall records, and 10 out of 15 resorts had their longest ski season ever. Summit County, where Park City is located, recorded nearly 2.8 million skier days, marking an all-time high. Utah, as a whole, accommodated over 7 million skiers, surpassing previous visitation records by 22%.
3. What are the demographics of skiers in the Rocky Mountain region?
According to Jennifer Wesselhoff, 39% of skiers in the Rocky Mountain region are female. Almost 70% of them earn $100,000 or more, with 34% making more than $200,000. The median age of skiers in the region has increased from 34 to 38 years old in the past decade.
4. How is the ski industry adapting to attract younger generations?
With the average skier getting older, there is a need to attract younger generations to the slopes. Resorts in the Rocky Mountain region are investing an average of $33 per skier visit on capital improvements, such as new lifts, to enhance the skiing experience and appeal to a wider demographic.
5. How is the COVID-19 pandemic impacting travel plans?
While a third of Americans still report that COVID-19 is impacting their travel plans, a majority stated that it has no effect on their choices to travel. Despite this, the park City Chamber of Commerce remains optimistic about the winter tourism season, citing stable lodging rates and cooling inflation as positive indicators.