Pacific Northwest ski areas see increased visitation and snowfall was above average this winter

This past ski and snowboard will go down in the books as a season to remember although it wasn’t a record breaker.

“I heard very favorable news from all the Pacific Northwest areas on how the way the ski season went,” said John Gifford, president of the Northwest Ski Areas Association.

John Kircher, who has managed Crystal Mountain since Boyne Resorts acquired it in 1997, has purchased the ski area. (Courtesy John Kircher)

Gifford, along with about 900 ski area representatives from across the country, recently attended the National Ski Areas Association Convention in Nashville, Tenn.

“It won’t be a record season by any means, but much better than the last few years,” Gifford said. “I don’t have all the figures from each ski area, but I do know participation looks pretty strong and is ahead of last year’s data despite the wet period we saw in March. It also sounds like ski school and rental departments were very busy, especially on weekends and holidays. Ski areas say they saw a very strong beginner lesson turnout.”

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The weather in March wasn’t stellar conditions with a good number of wet and rainy days, but prior to that there were no issues, and during the Christmas holidays all ski areas reported a very good turnout.

Through March, Washington ski areas reported skier visits were up 4 percent over last year. Last year, the Pacific Northwest areas saw a 142 percent increase is visitation compared to 2015, and that was the largest increase on record.

A snowboarder finds fun in the powdery steeps at the Mount Baker Ski Area. Photo courtesy of Brad Andrew at Mount Baker Ski Area.

Places like Stevens Pass Resort ended their season on a high note with skier visits up 7 percent over last year, and the highest skier visit total ever recorded at the resort, which was nearly 450,000.

Stevens Pass has received nearly normal…

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