Although winter started slowly in many parts of the U.S., he said snowfall patterns ended up being conducive to heavy visitation to resorts during two important peak periods Christmas week and Presidents Day through the end of March, encompassing numerous spring breaks.
Hawks said 78 percent of resorts reported more visitors this past winter, with a median increase of 10.6 percent, important numbers for states such as Utah, where the ski season is a billion-dollar business.
In a separate report, CNL Lifestyle Properties Inc., said visitation increased 10.4 percent at its 17 ski resorts, which includes Brighton in Big Cottonwood Canyon. The Orlando-based real estate investment trust said revenue from lift-ticket sales was up 16 percent over 2011-12.
Figures for Brighton's performance were not broken out.
"We have made substantial investments in our resorts to boost snowmaking capacity, add lifts, open new terrain and enhance base facilities," said Steve Rice, senior managing director of CNL Lifestyle Properties' ski and lodging properties.
Those investments paid off at three large New England resorts, helping them to attract more early-season visitors, he added.
Like most of CNL's ski resort properties, Brighton is leased back to local operators who run the day-to-day operations. Randy Doyle manages Brighton, which was run by his father in its early years.
Besides ski resorts, CNL Lifestyle Properties also owns 48 golf courses, 20 attractions such as Denver's Elitch Gardens, 16 marinas, 62 senior housing facilities and eight "lifestyle" complexes. Its parent company, CNL Financial Group, has formed or acquired companies with more than $26 billion in assets since 1973.