ASPEN — The U.S. ski industry has lost at least $2 billion last winter because of the economic collapse caused by the coronavirus pandemic, a national trade association said.
The Denver-based National Ski Areas Association announced Wednesday that skier visits fell 14% last season compared with the 2018-2019 season, The Aspen Times reported. There were about 51.1 million visits in the shortened season.
A visit is considered the use of a lift ticket for any part of the day and is a standard mark of performance, officials said.
Skier visits fell in all six of its geographic regions, including the Rocky Mountains, the association said. The average ski area was open only 99 days this season, down from 121 days in the 2018-2019 season.
Resorts were forced to closed in March following state restrictions intended to limit the spread of COVID-19.
“Had the season continued along its track prior to the pandemic, the 2019-20 season would have been the fourth best season on record since NSAA began surveying visitation in the 1978-79 season,” the association said in a statement.
A trade association covering most of the state, Colorado Ski Country USA, does not have plans to release data.
It is unclear how the pandemic will affect the 2020-2021 season. But the economic loss tied to the pandemic could increase to about $5 billion if the downtown continues during the upcoming season, officials said.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The vast majority of people recover.