Western states are often top of mind during the ski season, but the state with the most ski resorts lies on the East Coast.
The U.S. is the most visited ski country, with 480 ski areas sprinkled across about 37 states, according to the National Ski Areas Association.
"Ski area" is any area with uphill transportation, ranging from those with 20 high-speed lifts to one tow rope, said NSAA Marketing Director Adrienne Saia Isaac.
The top five states with the most ski areas are spread coast to coast:
New York has 52 ski areas, Michigan has 40, both Wisconsin and Colorado have 33 and California has 29 ski areas.
While New York may surprise you, three cities within the Empire State top the list of snowiest cities.
Buffalo, the second-largest city in New York, sees about 95.4 inches of snow every year, making it the fourth-snowiest city in the U.S. Part of the reason for its snowy nature is its location at the eastern end of Lake Erie, where lake-effect snow can produce snowfall rates on the order of 2 to 3 inches per hour or more, according to the National Weather Service.
Rochester, which is located about 70 miles east of Buffalo, sees over 100 inches of snow each winter. Much like Buffalo, the snowfall amount comes from lake-effect snow, but from both Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.
Syracuse, which lies about 80 miles east of Rochester, takes the number 1 spot for being the snowiest city in the country. An estimated 127.8 inches, or nearly 11 feet, of snow fall on Syracuse each winter, largely due to lake-effect snow from Lake Ontario.
However, with a strong El Nino in place for the winter, that typically means less snow for the state with the most ski areas.
"The skiing across the U.S. is so different that there's a personality of ski area for every type of skier and rider out there," Isaac said.
An estimated 11.6 million people skied domestically in the U.S. last ski season, according to the NSAA. Isaac said this number is a significant increase after a relatively flat skiing and riding number.
"To me, the more people who get outside and get to experience winter sports, the better that is for everyone," she said.
Some folks have already begun to enjoy the ski season despite it traditionally beginning during the Thanksgiving holiday. For example, Mammoth Ski Resort in California had one of the shortest off-seasons on record, with only 94 days between ski seasons.
According to NSAA, the average ski season lasts about 113 days.
Original article source: Which state has the most ski resorts? The answer may surprise you