What will the Swiss think? The French? According to recent data from the U.S. National Ski Areas Association, the world’s most popular country for skiing is now—surprise—the United States, which saw asix percent hike in its ski and snowboard visitors during the winter of 2015–2016, for a total tally of 53.9 million. Even more impressive? The Pacific Northwest region (Alaska, Washington, and Oregon) saw an increase of 142 percent in skier visits over the previous season, more than doubling from two million visits in 2014–15 to almost five million in 2015–2016. The Rocky Mountain and Pacific Southwest regions also had marked numbers in skier visits, though “weather challenges” across the eastern half of the country resulted in declines from the 2014-15 season in the Northeast, Midwest, and Southeast.
France, which has traded the top spot with the U.S. in recent years, saw its visitors drop three percent and came in second with 52 million ‘skier days’ in the winter of 2015–2016, according to Domaines Skiables de France, an organization representing the French ski industry. (A ‘skier day’ is by and large considered to be the equivalent of a one-day pass, or each time someone paid to go skiing.) Of the country’s er, slight downhill slide, a spokesperson pointed to the weather: “There was a very difficult start to the season due to a lack of snow at low and medium altitudes, not to mention unpredictable weather causing disruptions to our operating systems,” the DFS said in a statement. Europe’s second most popular skiing destination, Austria, also dropped in visitors from the previous winter, finishing the season with 49.9 million skier days
According to Condé Nast Traveler readers, those interested in hitting the slopes stateside should start with Deer Valley, Utah—the destination in the Wasatch Mountains topped the list of the 20 best ski resorts in the U.S. and Canada. Looking for somewhere that allows both skiing and snowboarding? Try Telluride for its annual 300 inches of snow and (300 days of sunshine). As if you needed convincing…
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