Ski season impact broken down | SierraSun.com

Ski season impact broken down

Isaac Brambila
ibrambila@tahoedailytribune.com

Skiers take alook at Lake Tahoe from the slopes at Northstar California during the winter of 2013-14.

A San Francisco State University study released last week reported that skiers and winter sport enthusiasts spent nearly $428 million last ski season and generated about $33 million in tax revenue in the Truckee-Tahoe region.

The study, "Ski Lake Tahoe Regional Economic Impact and Projections," was published by Patrick Tierney, Ph.D. and chair of the Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism at SFSU. It surveyed nine ski resorts to reach their results.

The study gathered data from 2013-14 figures on resort revenues, number of full- and part-time employees, payroll, capital improvements, expenditures, skier visits, visits by activity, visits by visitor residence, average length of visit and property taxes paid.

Surveyors alsoutilized average visitor spending in California per person, per day and by type for 2000-01 and adjusted it to 2014 dollars.

According to the data, the nine Tahoe-Truckee resorts surveyed represented 60 percent of all skier visits.

During the 2013-14 season, about 2.72 million winter sport enthusiasts visited the Tahoe-Truckee resorts, roughly 46 percent of whom were season pass holders. That 46 percent of the customer base generated roughly $138 million.

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The majority of revenues came from California and Nevada residents, who generated about $145.7 million.

The food and beverage industry saw the most benefit from the influx of winter sports enthusiasts, who spent roughly $98.2 million during the 2013-14 season.

Lift tickets generated nearly $91 million, and lodging businesses generated roughly $75.3 million.

The most free-spending visitors were calculated to be from outside the United States, who, according to the report, spent about $300 a day. Visitors from other states spent about $250 a day, while California and Nevada residents spent more than $180 a day.

The most conservative spenders, according to the study, were season pass holders and local residents, spending roughly $110 and $130, respectively.

Business owners and stockholders are not the only ones who benefit from ski-generated revenues, the report's figures suggest.

During the 2013-14 season, nearly 8,300 jobs were generated, more than 3,330 full-time jobs and nearly 5,000 part time. Total state and federal taxes from ski resort operations exceeded $33 million, with $5.1 million in property taxes.

The total economic value, calculated from direct and secondary spending, was found to be about $564.5 million.

Resorts surveyed were Alpine Meadows, Heavenly, Homewood, Kirkwood, Mt. Rose, Northstar, Sierra-at-Tahoe, Squaw Valley and Sugar Bowl.

In addition to his academic pursuits, Tierney was co-owner and manager of operations and finance for 25 years of an adventure travel business offering programs in Colorado, Utah and Alaska.