Winter Park Resort holiday visits surpass 2007 |

Winter Park Resort holiday visits surpass 2007

Grand County, Colorado
Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi Daily News
Sky-Hi Daily News | Sky-Hi Daily News

Skier and snowboarder visits to Winter Park Resort were high but not record-breaking during the holidays, said Communications Manager Jenn deBerge.

“We are thrilled with how the holiday period went and are off to a great start in 2009,” she said. “This year we had higher visitation than last.”

The resort also saw strong last-minute lodging. Its lodging sector includes the Zephyr Mountain Lodge, Fraser Crossing and Founders Pointe, Winter Park Mountain Lodge and the Vintage Hotel, all of which experienced strong last-minute occupancy, she said.

“The introduction of new Pow Pow Platter (a multi-resort promotion) coupled with great snow and easy travel conditions for both our Front Range and drive market destination guests made for a robust holiday period,” deBerge added.

In addition, a group of 2,200 college students began arriving Monday, Jan. 5, and will stay until Saturday, Jan. 10.

Reports recently released from U.S. ski areas show skiers and riders continue to hit the slopes in strong numbers despite the economic recession, according to the National Ski Areas Association.

For some people, this is a part of their lifestyle, said Troy Hawks, managing editor of NSAA Journal.

“Like any business, it’s your core customer who really is your (lifeblood),” he said.

Some skier families made plans early on to be on the mountain for the holidays, Hawks said.

A random survey of several dozen ski areas nationwide revealed that skiers and rider numbers are similar to last season’s holiday period, according to the NSAA. While some resorts reported record numbers, others recorded that visits were up by 40 percent compared to last year’s holiday numbers, the report said.

Resorts that saw more snow saw more visitors. Colorado’s Arapahoe Basin and Powderhorn Resort reported record-setting days, and Vail Resort plans to release visitation numbers later this week, Hawks said.

Resorts within driving distance from big cities such as Denver also reported strong numbers.

“I’m sure it’s a different story for each resort,” Hawks said. “(The recession has) less of an effect than some would have guessed. It looks like people are still hitting the slopes in solid numbers.”

Last year the U.S. ski industry set an “all-time record” 60.5 million skier and rider visits. Final national ski and snowboard visitation figures for the 2008-09 season will be announced in May.

“We don’t really have any glimpse into where we’re at right now,” Hawks said.

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