Trade group estimates ski industry lost $2B because of COVID-19 response

By Derek Draplin | The Center Square

The ski industry has taken an estimated $2 billion hit because of shutdowns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a trade group.

The Colorado-based National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) said U.S. ski visit totals for the 2019-20 season were down 14 percent to 51.1 million visitors.

The association’s $2 billion estimation “was derived from NSAA’s historical revenue and visitation data.”

The closures occurred during spring break, one of the industry’s most profitable times of the year, and derailed what “would have been the fourth best season on record.”

“To have two years in a row potentially rank in the top five seasons ever shows the strength of the industry,” NSAA President and CEO Kelly Pawlak said in a statement, noting the 2018-2019 season was also a record year. “That being said, it is astounding how quickly this season went from promising to a complete disappointment.”

The industry could lose up to $5 billion depending on how the 2020-21 ski season plays out, NSAA said.

In Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order on March 14 that closed ski areas across the state to mitigate the virus’s spread. Aspen Skiing Co.’s visitations dropped 20 percent, The Aspen Times reported this week.

Ski areas began closing in mid-March in most states like New Hampshire, Vermont, Michigan and California.

Some ski areas, like Arapahoe Basin in Colorado, have been able to reopen.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Briancua
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