LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) — New York’s ski resorts are hoping to build on a 2020-21 season that saw them supplant Vermont as the third-biggest ski and snowboard state in the country, behind Colorado and California.
The COVID pandemic was considered a significant factor as the appetite for outdoor recreation was strong. In addition, Vermont’s strict quarantine rules on outsiders crossing the state line may have led to more people hitting the slopes elsewhere.
Those restrictions have been lifted, and the Times Union reported that demand has been high for season passes in both Vermont and New York. Some resorts have already sold out of passes. “It is an incredible success story, in the cloud of COVID,” Scott Brandi, president of the I Ski NY trade group, told the newspaper.
New York had 4.2 million skier visits last year, while Vermont had 3.5 million. Colorado led the nation with 12 million visits, followed by California with 6.75 million. In New York, the Belleayre Ski Center in the Catskills had 160,988 visits in 2020-21, an 11-year high and more than 12,000 more visitors than in 2018 to 2019, before the pandemic hit. Most ski centers closed about 30 days early at the end of the 2019-20 season.
Belleayre also saw a 180% rise in mid-week skiers, possibly the result of more people working from home and taking days off. Nationally, the percentage of skier visits in mid-week was over 47%, compared to about 30% during most years, according to the National Ski Areas Association.