Western Canadian Ski Areas Profile

The ski industry in western Canada is defined by several key metrics that are derived from multiple important reports:   CWSAA Ski Area Financial Analysis, and the Value of Ski Areas in Western Canada Economic Impact Report provide key economic statistics.  The former provides operational benchmarking, and the latter articulates the impact of the industry to provincial economies.

The timing of the studies are subject to the detailed input and diversity of season duration across CWSAA ski areas.  Skier visits are compiled immediately at the end of winter operations.  The CWSAA Financial Analysis data is collected following the end of winter operations which means early summer for some, and is compiled through the fall and reported in December.  The Value of Ski Areas Economic Impact Report is based upon the Financial Analysis and is completed through the beginning of the following year.  The Canadian Ski Council also conducts an important annual Relational Survey to obtain Consumer Profile & Satisfaction metrics.

The following provides an overview of the most recent information.

2021-22 Skier Visitation (most recent season)

Skier visits are compiled at the end of each season.  Skier visits in 2021/22 season rebounded in most jurisdictions but have not yet reached previous highs.  Fortunately domestic visits surged across Canada and especially benefited local areas.  While skier visits do not necessarily reflect revenue and financial experience, they are one of the primary indicators of industry performance. Origin of guest and per capita spend impact ski area revenues significantly, as well as partners within destination eco system such as restaurants, accommodators and ancillary activities.
2021-22 Western Canadian Skier visits were 9.1 million, which accounted for 49% of overall Canadian skier visits.


Value of Ski Areas Economic Impact: 2020-21 Report (2 seasons ago)

It is certain that the industry economic contribution to communities increased in the 2021/22 season, and it is important to see how this contribution was impacted by the pandemic compared to previous seasons.  The Value of Ski Areas Economic Impact Report has been completed for the 2020/21 season and it was the first full year of COVID-19 impacts leading to declines in revenues on ski areas. BC saw steep declines due to the high reliance on destination visitors compared to other regions.

Below are some key highlights with comparisons to the benchmark season of 2018-19.

  • $1.45 billion (2020-21) was generated by ski for local and provincial economies
    • Down 42% from pre-pandemic 2018-19 benchmark of $2.51 billion
  • 15,450 jobs were created in western Canada in 2020-21.
    • Down 43% from 2018-19 benchmark of 27,250
  • $119 million was contributed to government (taxes contributed in Alberta & BC)
    • Compared to $389 million in 2018-19 (down 68%)


Canadian Ski Council 2021-22 Relational Survey: Consumer Profile & Satisfaction Research

The Canadian Ski Council conducts an annual research study that shows extremely strong interest for snow sports and some potential positive impacts that the pandemic may have on future participation.  Some of the highlights of the 2021/22 research include:

  • 2.8 Million Canadians are active snow sports participants, which accounts for 8.1% of the population.  The highest participation rate recorded, since 2002.
  • The pandemic has impacted participation in snowsports:
    • Two-thirds (64%) of survey respondents noted that the Pandemic has (certainly or probably) influenced them to start skiing (or start skiing again).  The majority will more likely increase (44%) or have the same amount of time (54%) on the slopes in the future.
    • While one-third (33%) of regular skier/snowboarders said they spent less time on the slopes due to the pandemic.

Strong appreciation and intention to continue skiing/snowboarding and recommend it.  99% enjoy skiing/snowboarding.  97% are likely to continue. Net promoter score = 64%

While these are great indicators, there is still some significant recovery due to the pandemic  that the industry is facing.


CWSAA Financial Analysis 

Each year CWSAA’s good friends at Ecosign Mountain Resort Planners Ltd. prepare the CWSAA Ski Industry Financial Analysis which is based on submissions by ski areas.   It provides operators valuable benchmarking by business unit and is only available to participating ski areas.   There is no cost to ski areas and each are encouraged to participate and may contact CWSAA for more information.

The collective Financial Analysis data is put through recognized input / output models by Align Consulting to create the “Value of Ski Areas in Western Canada” report.  This presents the full size and impact of the ski industry in Western Canada.


This information is critical to qualifying our industry for government through recognized metrics, and presenting our industry as an important economic generator and contributor to the social fabric of Canada.  The data is vital in supporting every request of government.

For more information on these studies, please contact CWSAA directly.  For information on the Canadian Ski Council’s Relational Study, please contact the Canadian Ski Council.