Sunlight ski numbers on uphill trend |

Sunlight ski numbers on uphill trend

Skier visits at Sunlight Mountain Resort climbed 3 percent during the season’s second reporting period, in contrast to a statewide drop of 3 percent for destination ski areas.

“We’ve been real happy with how the season is tracking,” said Sunlight spokeswoman Carolyn Tucker.

“Year to date numbers were down about 2 percent, but that’s mostly due to our late opening,” Tucker added.

Statewide figures come from Colorado Ski Country USA for the period Jan. 1 through Feb. 28.

Last ski season, Sunlight opened on Thanksgiving Day, but this year the lifts didn’t start revolving until Dec. 1.

The three-week spring-break season is looking good for Sunlight. “Hopefully we’ll hit our budget numbers,” Tucker said. The area is trending in that direction so far.

A couple of feature stories about Sunlight have helped. Tucker said a Minneapolis writer skied Sunlight last spring, and wrote an article that included the area along with other small “gems” of Colorado.

Associated Press picked up the article, and it ran in the southeast and northeast part of the country, plus Arizona and San Diego.

“It was a real positive for Sunlight, and Glenwood Springs,” Tucker said.

An article about Sunlight is also scheduled to run in the Denver Post this Sunday. “That should set us up real nice for spring break,” she said.

Tucker said spring break comes in three waves for Sunlight.

Schools in Texas are out this week, so those skiers come up first.

Next week, the Roaring Fork Re-1 and Garfield County Re-2 school districts are out, so many of those students and parents hit the slopes.

The Denver Public School system is out the final week, and Sunlight attracts many of those Front Range skiers.

Tucker said she isn’t sure how much of Sunlight’s total business happens during the three weeks of spring break, “But it’s a substantial amount of the season.”

Sunlight closes on April 7.

Colorado Ski Country USA said destination ski visits to areas such as Aspen, Crested Butte, Powderhorn and Sunlight are down 7 percent so far from the 2000-2001 season.

Front Range destination areas, such as Arapahoe Basin, Keystone and Vail are down 4 percent.

Front Range resorts, including Eldora, Loveland and Ski Cooper, are down 4 percent.

The entire ski and snowboard industry statewide is down 5 percent over last year.

Colorado ski areas have logged 7.5 million skier/snowboard visits through Feb. 28.

The ski and snowboard industry as a whole was down 14 percent in the first reporting period through Dec. 31.

“Thanks to consistent snow conditions, affordable travel packages, world-class events and resilient travelers, Colorado resorts gained crucial skier visits, nearly five million, and bounced back from a slow start,” said David Perry, president and CEO of Colorado Ski Country USA, a nonprofit trade association representing Colorado’s 23 ski and snowboard areas.

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