Grand businesses see boost in holiday traffic
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Anecdotal evidence from Grand County retailers confirm what many locals observed on the roads — traffic over the holidays was up.
Business owners from Kremmling to Winter Park said sales and overnight stays were some of the best seen since the recession.
Winter Park Resort reported its lodging to be nearly full from Dec. 23 through Jan. 1 and was at-capacity the majority of that time, according to Steve Hurlbert, public relations and communications manager for the resort. “We had a great couple of weeks, and I think a lot of that is attributable to the snow,” he said.
“Having snow makes a huge difference in being able to open terrain,” Hurlbert said. During the holidays last year the resort had about 1,700 acres open while this year it had around 2,000 acres open.
While the resort can’t release the number of skier visits, citing a Securities and Exchange Commission-mandated quiet period following a filing for an initial public offering on the stock market, Hurlbert said the resort saw increased skier visits over the past two years.
While good snow is one of the main driving factors behind the increased traffic, Hurlbert also attributes the increased number of visitors to the Christmas holiday falling in the middle of the week. A mid-week holiday means more vacation time for visitors and usually more bookings for the resort.
Destinations West at Beaver Village also reported a good year, with more visitors than last year, according to Paula Isakson, marketing director for Destinations West at Beaver Village.
“It seemed like people were really waiting until the last minute to make their reservations,” she said. Isakson believes people were waiting to see what mountain locations had the best snow conditions and deals on lodging.
Winter Park Resort is on the list for the most snow this season in Colorado’s northern and central Rockies, with a 45 inch base, beating out the likes of Vail and Aspen, but trailing behind Breckenridge and Steamboat, according to Hurlbert.
Tiffany Callaway, marketing manager for Grand Adventures snowmobile tours, reported they had so much business that at times they were worried about having enough snowmobiles to go around.
Jeff Lunde, assitant manger at Christy Sports, located in Cooper Creek Square of Winter Park, commented that business was significantly up from last year during this time. Lunde said they were even taking rental business from other shops in the area as those shops began to run out of equipment to rent.
“It wasn’t just rentals,” he said. “People were spending money in the store as well.”
Grand Lake and Kremmling also saw the boost in tourist traffic over holidays.
“I’ve heard great things from my members, and there was a lot more traffic over the weekend,” said Samantha Miller with the Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce. “We’re excited about that.”
“We had some really nice visitors from outside the community stop by,” said Karen Hammer with the Kremmling Mercantile. “People were happy and friendly … we were happy to have them with us.”
Reid Tulley and Leia Larsen can be reached at 970-887-3334
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Editor’s note: The following letter to the community was submitted to the Sky-Hi News by Winter Park Mayor Nick Kutrumbos.