Early season skier visitation behind last year
Colorado Ski Country USA’s 22 member resorts reported a decrease in skier visitation for the beginning of the 2011/12 ski season.
Skier visits at CSCUSA resorts were off by 10.65 percent during the first period of the ski season, defined as opening day through Dec. 31, compared to the same period last year.
CSCUSA President and CEO Melanie Mills cites variable snow conditions as a contributing factor.
“We had a promising start in October with several robust storms giving resorts a solid base and allowing some to open earlier than planned,” explained Mills. “But we faced inconsistencies in weather patterns for most of November and December, leading to slower visitation especially by in-state skiers at some ski areas.”
There is a lot of skiable terrain available. Combined, CSCUSA’s 22 members have about 80 percent of their lifts open, servicing approximately 17,609 acres of terrain with several resorts 100 percent open or very close. “Skiers and snowboarders are taking advantage of the beautiful weather, being outside, enjoying the terrain that is open and having fun with friends and family,” said Mills.
Colorado is at an advantage for managing snow. “Resorts have been able to maintain the big snows we received early on, thanks to Colorado’s higher elevations and colder temperatures. This also allows resorts to make snow where needed,” continued Mills.
Resorts were busy over the holidays. During Christmas and New Year’s, travelers visited Colorado resorts and diversified their ski vacations with other attractions resorts offer. “Colorado is known for our world class resorts, and part of the reason is the wide range of off-snow and non-skiing activities they offer guests,” continued Mills.
The ski season in Colorado is long, with the state’s snowiest months still ahead. “When comparing this year to last year, remember that last season was exceptional, with several of our resorts breaking the 500-inch mark for snowfall, and we were skiing until the Fourth of July,” explained Mills. “In our weather-dependent business, we feast in the big snow years and suffer a bit when it’s dry. But we’ve got lots of the season still ahead including a bonus leap year ski day on February 29.”
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