Utah Ski Season’s Kicking Off — Hoping for our Third Record Year in a Row!

It’s mid-November, and natural snow is found in high concentration at the highest mountain elevations, Ski Utah President Nathan Rafferty observed Tuesday in his annual news conference to kick off the ski season.


But with cold-enough temperatures most every night, snow-making machines will allow a handful of resorts to open a few of their runs for Thanksgiving weekend. And, with any luck,  this winter’s storm pattern will duplicate last year’s, producing abundant mountain snow and another year of record visitation at all Utah’s 14 active resorts.

Optimistic, Rafferty said he believes the mid-August purchase of Deer Valley by a company that has yet to select a name reflects positively on the state’s growing reputation as a ski destination.

“It’s indicative of people wanting to do business in Utah,” he said of the sale to the company now challenging Vail Resorts for supremacy in the ski industry.

In just the past year, the unnamed company formed by KSL Capital Partners and Henry Crown and Co. has put together an intimidating group of resorts, including four around Aspen in Colorado, three in the Lake Tahoe area of California and now Deer Valley in Utah. “Our industry is on a tear,” Rafferty said. “This is the place to be.” Utah’s dozen or so resorts were all independently owned. But in the last few years, six of the seven resorts in the Cottonwood canyons and Summit County have changed owners, with Alta being the only exception.


“I know of nothing happening on the horizon,” said Rafferty. “November is hand-wringing month, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed and looking forward to what we think will be a third record year in a row. Momentum is on our side.”

And momentum has been on the Utah’s ski industry’s side since the winter of 2001-02 — Salt Lake City’s Olympic winter — when just under 3 million skiers and snowboarders hit the slopes. Since then, visitation has blossomed steadily, peaking last winter at a new record high of 4,584,658, which beat the previous record (set just a season earlier) by 125,000.


Ski Utah’s also focused its sales campaign in California, Texas, New York, Australia, France and the United Kingdom, Rafferty said. That promotion complements the Utah Office of Tourism’s winter campaign, dubbed “Mountain Time,” which puts emphasis on just how little time is spent reaching resorts from Salt Lake City International Airport, leaving more time for family, friends, and fun.

Dave Williams, the office’s associate managing director, said the $3.5 million campaign has been launched digitally in Chicago and in East Coast markets — New York; Boston; and Washington, D.C. — and will begin later this winter along the West Coast.

Television advertising also is planned in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, claimed Rafferty, with billboards in Las Vegas touting two southwestern Utah resorts, Brian Head and Eagle Point.

Are you interested in observing Utah’s Ski Season for yourself? Feel free to call one of our agents at (801)544-1800 to book & save on a vacation today!

Ski Staff

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