State ski resorts post record year |

State ski resorts post record year

The Associated Press
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

DENVER ” Colorado ski areas attracted a record 12.6 million visits last season, bolstered by destination and smaller resorts, a trade group reported Thursday.

The 26 resorts combined drew 0.22 percent more visits than the 12.5 million in 2005-2006, the previous record, Colorado Ski Country USA said.

Heavy snowfall created problems for ski areas favored by residents along Colorado’s Front Range but helped the destination resorts ” designed to accommodate skiers who stay at least one night ” and smaller areas, the industry group said.

“With marginal snowfall around the globe, this was a challenging season for the industry,” said Rob Perlman, Ski Country chief executive officer and president.

“It was our goal to sustain last year’s growth and surpass the 12 million mark to set a new benchmark for the state,” he said in a statement released during the group’s annual meeting at Copper Mountain west of Denver.

Nationwide, the ski industry reported 54.8 million visitors, down 7 percent from last year as warm weather hurt resorts in most parts of the country except the Rockies, according to the National Ski Areas Association.

Colorado’s destination resorts, such as Aspen Highlands, Aspen Mountain, Telluride and Steamboat Springs, reported an increase in skier visits of 2.3 percent. Smaller ski areas, including Arapahoe Basin, Eldora, Loveland and Sunlight, reported a 3.3 percent increase.

But snowstorms that pounded metropolitan Denver caused traffic snarls that kept many away from the Front Range resorts, which reported a 1.3 percent decline in skier visits. Those resorts include Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Vail.

A skier visit is an industry measure equal to one person buying and using a lift ticket.

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