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.

“While season-to-date numbers haven’t caught up with last year yet, guests are visiting resorts and taking advantage of all they have to offer as resorts are seeing increased spending in restaurants, ski school, shops and other ancillary businesses.”

Early season has been tough the last couple of years. If the snow doesn’t come, neither do the skiers. This winter, early season (opening day to Dec. 31, 2012) visits dipped  11.5 percent Last winter, the state’s ski resort association reported that visits dropped 10 percent from the year before that.

Separately, Vail Resorts reported a few weeks ago that its skier visits also rebounded during mid-winter, as company execs claimed that some resorts tallied record results during the holidays.

“After a slow start to the season, the second period brought welcome regular snowfall throughout the state and saw skiers turning out in greater numbers,” said CSCUSA president and CEP Melanie Mills. “There was lots of pent-up-demand after a dry start to the season and all three holidays during the second period, New Year’s, MLK Weekend, and President’s Weekend, performed well,” Mills said.

Average snowfall and snowpack remained well below average in January, but started to edge upward in February, and some resorts have already reported reaching average March totals with 10 days left in the month.

The late winter and spring snow may provide a boost for the last few weeks of the season.

“Spring break business is encouraging, as are lodging numbers, and the Easter holiday is well positioned for late season visitors,” Mills said.




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