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Colorado resorts report modest growth in skier visits

A strong spring season helped boost skier visits to Colorado ski areas.

A strong spring season helped boost skier visits to Colorado ski areas. Bob Berwyn photo.

Strong spring fuels rebound

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Visits to all Colorado ski areas recovered from another slow start, reversed last season’s downhill slide and rebounded 3.95 percent to pass last winter’s totals, according to figures released this week by Colorado Ski Country USA. Visits to all Colorado resorts totaled 11.44 million during the winter of 2012-2013.

For the 21 areas that are members of CSCUSA, visits totaled 6.4 million, up about 3.8 percent (about 235,000 skier visits) from the previous season.

Colorado resorts outperformed the rest of the Rocky Mountain region, which tallied a 1.9 percent increase, but fell short of the national overall increase of 11 percent. The biggest growth nationally was in the Pacific Southwest and Northeast regions, which showed increases of more than 20 percent as they rebounded from a horrible snow year the previous season. Continue reading

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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

Colorado ski industry should embrace wolverine restoration

Bob Berwyn.

Bob Berwyn.

Opinion: Obstructing conservation runs counter the interest of most skiers

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — The upcoming listing of North American wolverines as an endangered or threatened species has huge implications for Colorado, and also gives the Colorado ski industry a chance to work off some of the bad karma it earned for opposing the reintroduction of lynx to the mountains of our state.

Wolverines are largest member of the weasel family and need rugged alpine terrain covered with deep snow to reproduce. Sometime soon, within the next few weeks, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will announce its listing decision, with the best available science suggesting that global warming is likely to reduce habitat for denning and breeding to the point that it will threaten the existence of the species.

That’s were Colorado comes in. With more high-elevation terrain than any other state in the Rockies, and plenty of steep, remote brush- and rock-strewn avalanche paths, our mountains could be a climate refuge for the animals, according to conservation biologists working on recovery plans for the rare critter. Continue reading

Colorado skier visits take another big hit

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An early season snow drought dampened skier visits in Colorado. Bob Berwyn photo.

Ski resort trade group reports early season double-digit drop for the second year in a row

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — For the second year in a row, Colorado ski areas were hit hard by a lack of early season snow, as skier visits dipped 11.5 percent for the period spanning opening day to Dec. 31. Last winter, the state’s ski resort association reported that visits dropped 10 percent from the year before that.

Variable snow conditions and some late openings were factors in the decline, according to Colorado Ski Country USA president and CEO Melanie Mills.

“First period is largely fueled by in-state visitors, and an unseasonably warm October and November kept many Coloradans from tallying lots of ski days,” Mills said. “Snow did not arrive in earnest until mid-December, but when it came, it was in time for in-state and out-of-state guests to enjoy wonderful wintery holidays at resorts.” Continue reading

Colorado resorts feel the pain of low-snow year

Powder days were few and far between at Colorado ski areas. PHOTO BY BOB BERWYN.

Visits at Colorado Ski Country USA resorts drop by 790,000 from last season during dry winter

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Skier visits at Colorado Ski Country USA resorts dropped by about 790,000 from last year, mainly because of sparse and inconsistent snowfall, according to industry leaders gathered for the trade group’s annual meeting.

Early snow helped some resorts open ahead of schedule, but the heart of the winter was dry, and visitation dwindled, especially during the crucial spring season, when March was reported as one of the driest winter months on record.

“Fortunately, seasons such as the one just ended have proved to be historically rare and the ski industry has exhibited a remarkable ability to bounce back after poor snow years in the past,” said CSCUSA president and CEO Melanie Mills. Continue reading

Colorado early season skier visits down 10 percent

Low snow keeps local skiers home

A season that started with a lot of promise early has experienced some low-snow hiccups.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Early season skier visits in Colorado are down about 10 percent from last winter, the state’s 22-member trade association reported this week, attributing the drop to variable snow conditions.

The early season period covers opening day through Dec. 31. Skier visits are the metric used to track participation in skiing and snowboarding. A skier visit represents a person participating in the sport of skiing or snowboarding for any part of one day at a mountain resort. Continue reading

Colorado: Skier visits up 2 percent from last year

Heavy snows through May enabled A-Basin to keep Montezuma Bowl open late into the season.

State trade group releases year-end tally, but two resorts still counting …

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — After a mid-season lull, skier visits bounced back strong for Colorado Ski Country USA‘s 22 member resorts at the end of the season, jumping 2.6 percent from last season to a total of about 6.9 million.

“It’s gratifying to see skier visits where they are this year,” said Melanie Mills, president and CEO of Colorado Ski Country USA. “We’re reporting a very solid season in Colorado and visits are up for the second year in a row.”

In-state and international visits were up, while skiers visits from other parts of the U.S. dipped slightly, reflecting a season with good snowfall in nearly all parts of the country. Continue reading

U.S. skier visits climb to 2d-best total on record

Solid snowfall helped bring skier U.S. visits up to near record levels for the 2010-2011 season.

Trade group says solid snowfall helped boost totals in most regions

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Good snowfall and a long season helped boost skier visits nationwide to 60.1 million, the second-highest total ever behind the record-breaking 2007-2008 season.

It’s only the second time that the total has passed the 60-million mark, according to a press release from the National Ski Areas Association. The preliminary tally represents a 0.6 percent increase from last season’s 59.8 million skier visits.

Solid snowfall throughout the season may have been a big factor, the trade group said. snowfall was up 27 percent on average around the country, with only the southeast region seeing a drop in precipitation.

The biggest snowfall increases came in the Pacific Southwest region (43 percent), the Northeast (37 percent) and the Rockies (31 percent). Snowfall was up 26 percent over last year in the Midwest, and 9 percent in the Pacific Northwest, but down by 42 percent in the Southeast, reflecting a typical La Niña weather pattern. Continue reading

Colorado: Mid-season skier visits down a smidge

Cold snaps, transportation woes cited as possible factors in small decline

Good snow conditions prevailed across much of the country in mid-winter, possibly resulting in fewer destination visits to Colorado.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Skier visits in Colorado dipped a fraction during the first couple of months of 2011, but remain ahead of last-year’s to-date totals by 3.4 percent, according to a tally released March 18 by Colorado Ski Country USA.

In a press release, the trade group said a couple of cold snaps during key weekends and transportation issues including I-70 congestion may have been factors in the small drop. Snow conditions in other parts of the country have also been very good this season, which sometimes translates into fewer destination trips to Colorado.

For the Jan. 1 to Feb. 28 period, skier visits were down .75 percent from the same period last season at the trade group’s 22 member ski areas. Continue reading

Morning photo: Powder nation

20 feet of snow and counting …

Powder in the famed aspen glades of Steamboat. PHOTO COURTESY LARRY PIERCE.

SUMMIT COUNTY — Today’s photoblog is courtesy Colorado Ski Country USA, a trade group for most of the ski areas in the state. All 22 member resorts picked up significant snow in the past couple of days. Steamboat picked up 44 inches of snow in the past few days and has already reached the 300-inch mark for the season. Click on the photos for more info on each resort. Continue reading

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