Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In

Cold Weather, Hot Visits: Diving into Winter Resorts

Caroline Wu
January 23, 2023
Cold Weather, Hot Visits: Diving into Winter Resorts

As many winter sports enthusiasts take to the slopes in search of fresh powder, we dove into the foot traffic data to see how the winter resort category fared over the pandemic and analyze how 2023 is shaping up for top winter destinations around the country. 

Ski Peaks and Slopes

As far as recreation and tourism are concerned, the winter resort space remained uniquely resilient during the pandemic years. The two dominant resort companies in the U.S., Alterra Mountain Company and Vail Ski Resorts, which operate multiple locations, have seen strong visits coming out of both the 2020/21 and 2021/22 ski seasons. And once again, it appears that ski resorts will remain popular for this winter season.

The first lockdowns in 2020 began in early spring, the tail-end of the winter sports season, allowing most cold-weather visitors to complete their vacations without missing a run. By the time the 2020/21 ski and snowboarding season came around, COVID vaccines were already rolling out and an outdoor ski vacation seemed like a relatively COVID-safe option. Despite slightly protracted visit peaks compared to the previous year, likely due to many resorts restricting total occupancy, the 2020/2021 season went off without a hitch and was one of the busiest on record. So busy, in fact, that the season appears to have stretched by a week or two on either end as winter sports enthusiasts were eager to trade face masks for ski masks and get back to the slopes after months of restrictions. 

A year later, the December 2021 rise of the Omicron variant threatened to derail the 2021/2022 ski season. But similar to the previous year, the perceived relative safety of a ski vacation and the desire to escape a stressful pandemic reality kept resort visitors coming during what became the busiest season on record. Resort visitation looked more like it did prior to the pandemic with lifts filled to capacity and the return of outdoor events and competitions. Once again, it seemed that nothing could keep skiers and snowboarders away from the sport. 

And for the current 2022/23 ski season, visits during key fall and winter holidays appear to be returning to levels similar to pre-pandemic foot traffic. In 2022, Thanksgiving weekend visits for resorts under the Alterra and Vail banners outperformed the previous year, while Christmas 2022 at Vail’s resorts was also ahead of 2021 levels. 

New Years Visit Lift

But although visits over holidays were strong in 2022, zooming into the last month of the year shows that weekly visits to some of the country’s top ski resorts were down for much of December 2022 compared to 2021. But these same resorts picked up momentum in the first week of January 2023 and outperformed the previous year by a large margin. This seems to indicate that, despite the bomb cyclone which grounded many flights and threw a wrench in vacation plans during this year’s anticipated holiday ski surge, many still managed to reach the slopes. Skiers and snowboarders who couldn’t make it to their favorite resorts in December due to the inclement weather appear to be rescheduling their trips. So while travel plans may have been delayed, winter resorts remained as popular as ever and snow-capped mountain chasers will not be denied. 

With a visitor base that won’t let anything stop them from punching their lift ticket, winter resorts are poised for strong foot traffic during the expected February and March 2023 visit peaks. 

Everybody’s Working For the Weekdays

Among the resorts that saw year-over-year (YoY: 2022 vs 2021) visit growth mid-December are two of the most popular ski and snowboard destinations in California – Heavenly Mountain Resort and Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort. 

The pandemic brought about the rise in hybrid and remote work, and with it, the flexibility for the ski enthusiast to hit the slopes in the middle of the work week. The tide of remote and hybrid work may have encouraged newcomers to fall in love with the sport as they no longer had to wait for vacation time or pay peak-season prices to get in some practice runs. And the influx of new participants plays a part in the growing number of total skiers and snowboarders nationwide.  

Both Heavenly Mountain and Mammoth Mountain resorts experienced an uptick in mid-week visits in November and December 2022 compared to 2019 and it’s likely that the working-out-of-office guest accounted for some of this visit growth.

High Altitude Visits

Winter resorts are experiencing strong foot traffic this season as adventurers are as eager as they have been in recent years to catch some well-earned time on the mountain. Location analytics shows that just like their guests on the slopes, alpine resorts are picking up speed.

For updates and more data-driven foot traffic insights, visit

Get 3 brand & industry
breakdowns every week

Subscribe to the newsletter

Great! Prepare your inbox for data-driven insights...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a Demo

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please provide a valid email
Please enter your email
Please enter company name

Thanks for reaching out!

One of our experts will be in touch soon

Try Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Text Link
Text Link
Winter Activities
Text Link
Ski Resorts
Checking in With Nike and Lululemon
Black Friday 2023 Retail Recap
Starbucks’ 2023 Holiday Menu & Red Cup Day Performance
Turkey Wednesday 2023
Who Attended the 2023 Pickleball Championship? 
Three Surprising Holiday Shopping Trends
What’s in Store for Ulta Beauty This Holiday Season?
Best Buy and Department Stores: A Holiday Deep Dive
Discount & Dollar Stores: Strength Toward The End of the Year
The State of Off-Price Retail: Discounts Seal The Deal
Placer Mall Index Recap: October 2023 Office Index: October 2023 Recap
Retail Corridors Ahead of the 2023 Holiday Season
California, Here Gap Comes
Checking in With Home Improvement
Getting Into the Glasses Game: Warby Parker Takes Over
Fitness Positioned for a Strong 2023 Finish
White Paper Recap: October 2023
Coffee Giants Brewing Up Business
Popeyes and Burger King Lead the Way
Diving into Yum!
Looking Ahead to Black Friday 2023
Blockbusters Drive Movie Theater Comeback
Crocs and Boot Barn: Shoe-Ins for Success
McDonald’s and Chipotle's Winning Recipe
The State Of Steak: Checking in With Texas Roadhouse
Pleasant Pastimes: Pickleball Potential Proves Potent
Who’s Driving Downtown Manhattan’s Weekend Revival?
Diving into Downtown Manhattan Foot Traffic Trends
Rite Aid: Rightsizing Right
Major League Soccer: Its Die-Hard and Casual Fans
The Anchor Recap: September 2023 Office Index: September 2023 Recap
Placer Mall Index Recap: September 2023
September White Paper Recap
The Consumer Habits of College Students
JCPenney: Rightsizing and Revitalizing
Pent-Up Demand Ahead of October Sales Events
4 Strategies Retailers are Using to Drive Traffic to Their Venues
5 Key Regional Grocery Players Impressing in 2023
Upscale Kitchenware Trending Up
Costco Finds More Room for Growth
Four C-Store Chains Making an A-Grade
National Parks + Outdoor Summer Activities
Diving Into Darden: Summer 2023 Update
The Summer Event Effect
Messi: Massive in Miami
Looking Back on Back to School 2023
The Anchor Recap: August 2023 Office Index: August 2023 Recap Mall Index: August 2023 Recap White Paper Recap: August 2023
Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Strikes Again
Big Scoop: We All Scream For Ice Cream
Sports Away: Lululemon & Nike’s Momentum Continues
Summer Visits Heat Up For Recreation and Outdoor Gear Chains
No CSS overwrite - July 2023 Office Index Recap
Staging - August 2023 Mall Indec
Mid-Atlantic Grocery Deep Dive
Experiential Chains Heating Up This Summer
Petco Goes Big by Going Small
Ulta Beauty: Leading the Discretionary Pack
Discount and Dollar Chains Continue to Thrive
Summer of Sports: DICK’s Sporting Goods and Hibbett Sports
Off-Price: Succeeding Into Summer
The Anchor Recap: July 2023
Superstores Maintaining Pandemic Gains Amidst Economic Headwinds
2023: Home Improvement at the Halfway Point
July 2023 Office Index Recap Mall Index: July 2023 Recap
The Taylor Swift Visit Lift
Southwestern Grocery Dive
July 2023 White Paper Recap: Halfway Point Review & Quarterly Index
Yum! Brands: Driving Dining Visits
Slurpees and Summer Movies Stimulate Consumer Foot Traffic
Cool Beans: Summer Coffee Update
Checking In on Back to School 2023
Crocs and New Balance Tip The Scales
Burger Bliss: Shake Shack and In-N-Out Stacking Visits
Chipotle & McDonald's Continue to Reign Supreme
Vibenomics and Partner to Enhance Retail Media In-Store Measurement
California Grocers Here We Come!
Marriott’s Different Audiences
Bonchon and Kura Sushi Thrive in the Fast-Casual Scene
A Shoe In: Footwear Climbs to the Top
Cheers! Raising a Glass to Beverage Retail Office Index: June 2023 Recap Mall Index June 2023 Recap – A Turn of the Tide and a Dive into Open-Air Lifestyle Centers
Local Kitchens: Redefining the Restaurant
Unlocking Urban Insights: The Value in Manhattan’s Employees
Ohio State Parks On The Rise
How is Inflation Impacting the High-Income Shoppers?
Five Fast-Growing Dining Chains
What To Expect From Prime Day and July Sales Events in 2023
The State Of Fashion: How Are Apparel Retailers Faring in 2023?
2023’s Latest Dining Success Story: GEN Korean BBQ House
The NBA Finals: A Location Intelligence Perspective
Moving the Market: The Impact of Domestic Migration on Housing Costs
Post-Pandemic Museum Update
The Darden-est Things