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March 28, 2013
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Sunlight extends what's been a bright season

GLENWOOD SPRINGS - With more snow and more skiers on the slopes compared to last year, Sunlight Mountain Resort officials have decided to ride out the season for one more weekend.

Sunlight announced Wednesday that, following a mid-week closure from April 1-5, it will offer lift service for two additional days on Saturday and Sunday, April 6 and 7.

Closing day for Sunlight was originally scheduled for this Sunday. But, with favorable winter-like weather over the past week, the decision was made to continue the season into April, said Jennie Spillane, Sunlight's marketing manager.

"The weather for the last couple weeks has been ideal at the mountain with the arrival of great snow and cooler temperatures to make for great conditions," Spillane said.

The season-ending Beach Party Pond Skim Spectacular, which had been scheduled for this weekend, will now take place on April 7 instead. Lift tickets will be $35 for the extended weekend.

The ski area will operate two of its three lifts, Tercero and Primo, for the extra weekend. However, the East Ridge extreme terrain will be closed at that time.

Sunlight maintains a base snow depth at the top of Compass Mountain of 50 inches and 47 inches at mid-mountain, Spillane said. The mountain closed on March 30 of last year with 40 inches, she said.

"Our numbers are definitely better than last year, in terms of both skiers and snow," Spillane said. "The snow over the last week was definitely just what we needed to get through the season."

Skier numbers for the season are also up about 4 percent over last year, she said. Exact skier numbers this season compared to last year won't be available until after closing.

Meanwhile, lodging numbers for the winter tourist season in Glenwood Springs appear mixed, with occupancy rates down but city accommodations (lodging) tax collections reported up for January.

The January Rocky Mountain Lodging Report indicates that average occupancy at Glenwood Springs lodges was 41.2 percent for the month. That's up slightly from the 39.1 percent occupancy rate for 2012 as a whole.

That year-end number, though, was down somewhat from the 53.5 percent occupancy rate for 2011, according to the report. A comparison to the January 2012 occupancy was not immediately available.

For 2012 as a whole, Glenwood Springs' average daily room rate was also down, at $90.64, compared to more than $100 per night in 2011. For January of this year, the average daily rate was back up to $97.60.

The lodging report only includes the hotels and motels that report to the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association, which is just a percentage of the total number of lodges in Glenwood Springs.

City of Glenwood Springs accommodations (lodging) tax numbers may provide a more accurate picture, since all guest accommodations in the city are included.

The city reported that collections from the 2.5 percent lodging tax on overnight stays was up 13.7 percent this January, compared to the same month last year.

The January tax collection amount of $41,261 was also greater than that for the early winter season months of November and December 2012. Lodging tax collections for those months were $33,147 and $39,833, respectively.

Glenwood Springs has seen an upward month-over-month trend in its lodging tax numbers dating back to the middle of 2010. For 2012 as a whole, the lodging tax came in 11.7 percent over 2011.

Occupancy and lodging tax numbers for February and March, two of the biggest winter season months, have not yet been reported.

jstroud@postindependent.com


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The Post Independent Updated Mar 28, 2013 07:26AM Published Mar 28, 2013 07:25AM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.