Colorado ski industry report shows resorts as popular as in last year’s strong season
This winter has been keeping pace with last year’s so far for Colorado’s ski industry, according to a report out Wednesday, Jan. 21, from Colorado Ski Country USA.
The association reported that total skier visits at its 21-member resorts were about 1 percent off last year’s blistering pace during the first period of the 2014-15 ski season, defined as Oct. 17 through Dec. 31, compared with the same period last year.
Last season’s first-period skier visits pleasantly surprised the industry when they were more than 20 percent higher than the season before.
For the 2014-15 season, first-period skier visits again exceeded the five-year first-period average, this year by nearly 4 percent.
Skier visits are the metric used to track participation in skiing and snowboarding.
A skier visit represents a person participating in skiing or snowboarding for any part of one day at a mountain resort.
STRENGTH OF THE BRAND
The association’s report said visitation numbers speak volumes to the strength of its brand and the dedication of Colorado skiers despite the late openings of some resorts and a few days with below-zero temperatures during the popular holiday period.
“Many in-state skiers didn’t head to the slopes at the beginning of the season, a time when most visitation is our Colorado-based skiers and riders,” said Melanie Mills, president and CEO of CSCUSA. “It wasn’t until mid-December that Colorado saw significant snowfall that arrived in abundance and in time for resort guests from out of state, as well as in state, to enjoy wintery holidays.”
Holiday period visitation was strong with good snow conditions, and resorts reporting increased spending across ancillary businesses.
“Guests turned out in good numbers to enjoy resorts during the holidays, and on colder days they took advantage of warm drinks by a cozy fireplace in the lodge,” Mills said.
“While snow and weather are key factors in skier visitation, we also account for our resorts’ excellent guest service and popular holiday activities.”
BIG EVENTS KEEPING EXCITEMENT HIGH
Momentum from last season and a number of high-profile international ski and snowboard events in Colorado this winter are keeping optimism and excitement high.
“We’re seeing a lot of confidence in the indicators for the season in front of us: strong hotel bookings as we look to spring, a well-timed Easter holiday for ski vacations and Colorado’s traditionally snowier months are still ahead,” Mills said.
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Over 75,000 hikers visited Hanging Lake during this year’s peak season. Via signage, the city hopes to point more of those hikers also in the direction of downtown Glenwood Springs.