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Many ski areas finish with record-breaking seasons in WA

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
>>yes, they are filing into the lift lines in WA !

Many ski areas finish with record-breaking seasons
http://www.theolympian.com/704/story/455367.html

Ski areas throughout the Northwest had such great snow in the 2007-08 winter that neither its November absence nor its road-closing, midwinter surplus could prevent a banner year for the winter-sports industry.

Several resorts - including the Summit at Snoqualmie - set new highs in skier/snowboarder visits and others, like White Pass, had seasons that ranked among their all-time best.

Snoqualmie's total of 714,000 user visits through April 30 already was more than 100,000 higher than its previous best winter. Washington's 49 Degrees North and Oregon's Mount Hood Meadows both set all-time records for skier visits, and White Pass had one of its top five years, with about 130,600 visits.

In all, Washington ski resorts will finish with about 2.1 million visits, about 50,000 off the record winter of 2001-02.


'No November'

"These numbers are remarkable, because we had no November," said Scott Kaden, president of Pacific Northwest Ski Areas Association. "Some ski areas had to wait two weeks into December to get open, and some even had to wait three or four weeks.

"In order to get a record, you almost have to be open in November; those November numbers are very hard to recoup over the course of a season," he said.

Only one Washington ski area, Mission Ridge, was able to open for Thanksgiving, and it was open for one weekend. White Pass had the same kind of suspended anticipation - opening for the Dec. 1- 2 weekend, then powering down the lifts until reopening Dec. 13.


Blocked passes

By mid-December, most resorts were open and the snow just kept coming - so much, in fact, that even the diligent snow-removal crews from the state Department of Transportation couldn't always keep up with the deluge.
>> I’m sure many remember those days
"Snoqualmie had seven days of lost operation in the heart of the season, and White Pass lost four days because Highway 12 was closed," Kaden said. "There were days when Stevens, Snoqualmie Pass and White were all closed - there was no east-west traffic in the entire state of Washington, and yet these (resorts) did exceptionally well, given the circumstances."

The Summit at Snoqualmie lost parts or all of six operating days to highway closures and another day when a storm knocked out the ski area's power.

"There's definitely an ouch factor there. But, that being said, it really was a blip on the radar, because it's really been a strong season despite the obstacles," said Guy Lawrence, marketing director at the Summit at Snoqualmie.


High-quality snow

"We had awesome snow conditions, and I'm not just talking snowpack - you have the amount of snow, which creates a lot of interest and hype, but really, it was the quality of the snow. Traditionally, we get a lot of rain events in the Northwest, but we had almost no rain events, so the quality of the snow was preserved and it was just excellent snow day in and day out. There were a lot of powder days, and it got talked up a lot in the marketplace."

White Pass was open 125 days, about 20 days less than the previous winter, and lost four days in midseason - spanning a weekend, thereby costing as many as 6,000 skier visits - when heavy snows and avalanche conditions closed the pass and the ski area. Even with that late start and the midseason closures, though, the 130,600 put the ski area basically in line with its five-year average of about 132,000 - nearly 50 percent more than what White Pass typically drew two decades ago.


Parking shuttle

"It was a great year to have that parking shuttle," White Pass marketing director Kathleen Goyette said, referring to the 14-seat shuttle in its first year of shortening the hike-in for visitors to the ski area.

Parking "was probably our biggest concern," Goyette said, "but that little shuttle bus toted people and their gear up and down the highway. And it was the right year to have it, because we really needed it."


Record numbers

To the northeast, 49 Degrees North set a record for skier visits with more than 95,000, continuing its upward climb since nearly doubling its skiable acres in 2004 to more than 2,000 and adding a quad lift. Mount Hood Meadows, meanwhile, set its own record for visits with more than 509,000.

>> And who was worried in November ? Looks like yet another outstanding season according to the books.
post #2 of 13
I'll attest to the quality of this last winter's snow. It was fabulous. Most years I can remember the really great days and savor those special runs that stood out above all others. Not so this year. There were just too many of them. Actually, I can remember the days when there was no new more easily, because there were only a very few of those that I experienced.
post #3 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Posaune View Post
I'll attest to the quality of this last winter's snow. It was fabulous. Most years I can remember the really great days and savor those special runs that stood out above all others. Not so this year. There were just too many of them. Actually, I can remember the days when there was no new more easily, because there were only a very few of those that I experienced.
Yep, that's about the size of it. Snowbowl had the third highest snow totals since it opened in '61, and set an all-time attendance record.
post #4 of 13
I heard a great line the other day from a friend (a marketing geek):

"In the ski industry, there's no such thing as good snow or bad marketing."

In other words, in a good year, it was good marketing that brought the skiers in. In a bad year, it was because of bad snow.
post #5 of 13
Most of the country had an epic snow year unless you happened to be in the Sierra Nevada. This was our second consecutive year the snowfall was less than 50 to 60 percent of normal. PNW was amazing, and the northern Rockies shared the bounty. Utah and Colorado picked up more powder days than they have seen in years. So, next year, we're due. Book it Danno. :
post #6 of 13
Alpental closed out the WA lift served season very nicely yesterday...
post #7 of 13
I got 3 days in this weekend. Can't beat that.

We didn't beat our snowfall record, but we did set a new ticket sales record.
post #8 of 13
Sierra was the only region below normal. But it was still about 90%. Cramming nearly all the snow into Jan/Feb made it seem worse than that.

Christmas was not as bad as the previous year, but the first really big dump was January 3-8. March/April was second driest of the past 40 years. The foot of snow last weekend did prompt Mammoth to stay open an extra week.

I have most data for 2007-08 now. Record high snowfall at Mt. Hood meadows, Bridger Bowl, Grand Targhee, Crested Butte and the 3 major Aspen areas.
post #9 of 13
What are the numbers you have for Mt. Hood Meadows? I looked at their website, and if their data for the daily snowfall is correct, I see 932". That's a stunning amount considering their average is around 500". Could that possibly be right? I might have picked a bad winter to move away from Portland, if that was the case.
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaobrien6 View Post
What are the numbers you have for Mt. Hood Meadows? I looked at their website, and if their data for the daily snowfall is correct, I see 932". That's a stunning amount considering their average is around 500". Could that possibly be right? I might have picked a bad winter to move away from Portland, if that was the case.
That sounds right. But it was hardly a bad winter to be in Washington either.
post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry_Morgan View Post
That sounds right. But it was hardly a bad winter to be in Washington either.
Good point. Don't worry, I'm not complaining too much.
post #12 of 13
Correct 2007-08 number for Hood Meadows was 757. They will try to get that website page fixed before next season.
post #13 of 13
Cool, that's a little more reasonable, and still an awesome season for them.
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