About these ads

Colorado skier visits stabilize during the heart of the season

Good late-season snow conditions should help Colorado ski areas bounce back partially from a so-so start to the season.

Good late-season snow conditions should help Colorado ski areas bounce back partially from a so-so start to the season.

Ski trade group reports slight increase from last season for the January-February period

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — After dropping steeply last season and the first part of this winter, Colorado skier visits stabilized during the past few months, according to Colorado Ski Country USA.

The state’s ski industry trade group said skier visits at its 21 member resorts climbed 1.3 percent during January and February, compared to the same two months last season.

For the season to-date, visitation at CSCUSA resorts was down 4.2 percent compared to the same time last season, defined as opening day through February 28. Continue reading

About these ads

Colorado: Vail Resorts says mid-winter business rebounded

Major capital investments announced for upcoming seasons

Vail Resorts is talking up the Peak 6 expansion at Breckenridge as part of its capital investment plan for the coming season.

Vail Resorts is talking up the Peak 6 expansion at Breckenridge as part of its capital investment plan for the coming season.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Vail Resorts said business bounced back after a slow start to the season, with some of the company’s resorts posting record business during the Christmas holiday period. VR’s net income climbed 30.5 percent, to $60.5 million in the second fiscal quarter compared to last season, with skier visits up 2.9 percent and mountain net revenue up by 9.5 percent.

“We are very pleased with our performance in the second quarter of fiscal 2013, which was notable for two distinct dynamics we experienced in the quarter,” VR CEO Rob Katz said this week during a call announcing the company’s second quarter earnings. “The first was our results through the middle of December, which were marked by unusually warm and dry weather in Colorado that limited the terrain we could open, leading to lower than expected results for our four Colorado resorts.  Continue reading

National parks would take serious hit from sequester

Top officials warn of negative impacts to gateway communities

sdfg

Colorado National Monument could be hit by federal budget cuts under the sequester.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Visits to national parks in the U.S. climbed to 282 million in 2012, up 3.8 million from the previous year, top federal officials said this week, highlighting the role of parks tourism as an economic engine as they released the results of an annual analysis that details the financial contribution of parks to local communities.

According to the report, most visitor spending supports jobs in lodging, food, and beverage service (63 percent) followed by recreation and entertainment (17 percent), other retail (11 percent), transportation and fuel (7 percent), and wholesale and manufacturing (2 percent).

But Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and NPS director Jon Jarvis said that role is threatened by looming budget cuts that would delay openings at some parks and possible even curtail access based on concerns about public safety. Continue reading

Global tourism continues steady growth

Tourists take photos at the Golden Gate Bridge overlook in Marin County, California.

Tourists take photos at the Golden Gate Bridge overlook in Marin County, California. Bob Berwyn photo.

UN officials see tourism as an economic pillar

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Now that the World Tourism Organization has counted every last airline traveler, cruise passenger and backpacker, it’s official — international tourist arrivals grew by 4 percent in 2012 to surpass 1 billion for the first time ever, according to the latest update of the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer.

Emerging economies led the way, showing growth of 4.1 percent, compared to 3.6 percent growth among advanced economies, with Asia and the Pacific showing the strongest results. By region, Asia and the Pacific showed 7.1 percent growth. By sub-region, South-East Asia, North Africa (both at  plus 9 percent) and Central and Eastern Europe (plus 8 percent) topped the rankings.

Tourism officials say they expect growth to continue in 2013 at a slightly slower pace between 3 and 4 percent, continuing the trend from the last quarter of 2012, when demand was stronger than expected. Continue reading

Colorado’s outdoor industry reppin’ at Euro trade show

Tourism, trade offices team up to create ‘Colorado Pavilion’ at ISPO in Munich, Germany

as

Europe seen as important market for Colorado tourism and outdoor companies.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Along with several companies that won state grants to display their products at a huge international sports and outdoor trade show in Munich, Germany, state tourism officials will also present information about Colorado to an international audience at ISPO this week.

Working with gear-makers like Icelantic Skis and Boo Bicycles, trade representatives will work with European-based representatives to staff a Colorado-themed booth at show, showcasing the state and its wares at a Colorado Pavilion.

Most of the companies are homegrown Colorado enterprises, and several of them produce their entire line right here in the state, said Stephanie Dybsky, with the Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

“No other state does something like this,” Dybsky said, explaining that the mission is part of Gov. John Hickenlooper’s efforts to grow Colorado exports to Europe. The outdoor industry was identified in a recent study as one of the sectors having huge potential in growing worldwide industry that isn’t as susceptible to economic ups and downs as some other types of businesses.

Currently, Colorado exports about $1.5 billion in commodities (not services) to Europe. That total dipped as low as $1 billion right after the 2008 recession after peaking at about $1.7 billion in 2008.

ISPO is primarily a business-to-business show, and the goal is to connect Colorado companies with new leads and potential distributors for their products.

Several of the companies included in the joint pavilion have already had success in the export market, including Icelantic Skis, which sells gear all over Europe, according to COO Annelise Loevlie.

Icelantic has also previously attended ISPO, helping to broaden European distribution through Switzerland, Austria and even Russia, Loevlie said.

ISPO Munich offers the latest products, trends and innovations from the entire outdoor sports industry. The show features more than 2,300 exhibitors to 80,000 visitors from over 100 countries. Featured sports include alpine skiing, camping, climbing, fishing, mountain biking, running and snowboarding.

The following companies will be represented in the Colorado Pavilion at ISPO Munich 2013:

•    Aluboo & Boo Bicycles, Fort Collins
•    Big Shot Bikes, Fort Collins
•    CandyGrind, Denver
•    Icelantic Skis, Denver
•    Kinderlift of Colorado, Denver
•    Mountain Shades, Wheat Ridge
•    Newton Running, Boulder
•    Obermeyer, Aspen
•    Phunkshun Wear, Denver
•    Sport Bumper, Denver
•    Tailwind Nutrition, Durango
•    Venture Snowboards, Silverton

You can follow the happening from the Colorado Pavilion in Munich on Twitter: @ColoradoITO.

Forest Service to address the tangled status of ski area water rights with a public process

Federal court ruling sends agency back to the drawing board

sdf

The U.S. Forest Service will hold a public process to develop a new agency guideline for adminstering water rights at ski areas operating on public lands. Bob Berwyn photo.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — After being rebuffed in federal court, the U.S. Forest Service will start anew at developing new water-rights language for ski area permits. The agency plans to start taking public input this spring on the new directive, which would clarify ownership of water rights on national forest lands.

The Forest Service most recently issued a new water rights directive in Dec. 2012, aiming to establish that certain water rights have to remain linked with the ski areas where the water is used to ensure the long-term sustainability of the resorts.

The ski industry interpreted at least parts of the new directive as a direct grab of water rights that are properly administered under state water law. A year-long lawsuit ended in Dec. 2012 with a court telling the Forest Service it must use a public process to develop a new directive.

“The agency’s announcement and the agency’s recent policy that was struck down in federal court both assume that water should run with the land. This approach reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of water law in the West,” said Geraldine Link,  public policy director for the National Ski Areas Association.

Continue reading

Colorado: Governor requests spending increases for education, wildfire mitigation and fracking studies

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

State ranks near the bottom for per-pupil funding

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — As Colorado’s budget picture continues to brighten, Gov. John Hickenlooper this week requested budget amendments that would boost spending on education and allocate funds to study environmental impacts of energy development and for forest health work.

The 2013-2014 budget will be the first in several years that includes more spending on education and without any big cuts. Overall, the state’s general fund is expected grow by about $.5 billion, from 7.6 billion to $8.1 billion.

State budget officials said Hickenlooper’s request fulfills his intent to spend increased revenue on education, public health, safety and infrastructure. Specifically, spending on k-12 education would increase by $12.8 million, boosting per-student funding to $6,607 dollars, up $228 from last year.

Only a handful of states spend less per pupil than Colorado, including Arizona, Nevada, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, North Carolina. See the rankings here. Top-ranked states like New York, Vermont and Connecticut spend about twice as much per student. Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,471 other followers