Business stabilizes for state’s ski resorts
ASPEN At its annual meeting recently, Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) President and CEO Rob Perlman reported the state hosted more than 11.2 million skier visits this season as in-state enthusiasts showed their discernment for perfect weather patterns, destination skiers numbers stabilized, and several international markets saw a robust resurgence–indicating positive trends for the future. “In a challenging and highly competitive global tourism marketplace, Colorado, the leading ski state in the nation, once again illustrated why it is considered the premier winter destination for skiers and snowboarders from around the world,” Perlman said. “For the first time in seven years, Colorado posted a slight increase in out-of-state skier visits, which represent more than 60 percent of the total skier visits for the state. Colorado remains the market share leader, annually capturing approximately 20 percent of the total skier visits nationwide.”Colorado experienced strong demand from traditional core destination markets like Texas and California and growth from some non-traditional markets such as Alabama and Wyoming. Internationally, Colorado had a resurgence from core markets with Australia and New Zealand both increasing by 41 percent and Germany increasing by 38 percent over 2002-03.The 2003-04 ski season started out on a slower pace than the previous season’s record start. At the end of December, skier visits in Colorado were nine percent behind the same period last season. In January and February, Colorado began catching up, and was only behind one percent, before a heat wave in the month of March when Denver recorded its second driest March since 1872.”March is typically the snowiest month of the season and even with awesome spring skiing and riding conditions throughout the state, it is a challenge to keep Coloradoans skiing when the temperatures are 80 degrees in Denver,” Perlman said. “Our research suggests that in-state residents, acting as a conduit for information and at times booking on behalf of out-of-state visitors, have a substantial impact on our destination business. Half of overnight visits by Front Range residents are reported to include visitors from out-of-state on one of their trips to the mountains. Also, with the trend of shorter booking cycles, the word of warm weather definitely affects bookings.”In addition to tracking the total number of skier visits for the state of Colorado, CSCUSA also tracks skier visits in three groupings: Destination Resorts, Front Range Destination Resorts and Gems/Front Range Resorts. A skier visit represents a person participating in the sport of skiing or snowboarding for any part of one day at a mountain resort. Preliminary total skier visits for the state of Colorado are 11,212,364 which is a slight decline compared to last season.Stabilization of the out-of-state business is most pronounced with the strong results of the Destination Resorts. Destination Resorts, resorts more than a two hour drive from Denver with a resort bed base, recorded 3,518,229 skier visits, which is a 1.74 percent increase compared to last season. Front Range Destination Resorts, resorts within a two hour drive from Denver with a bed base, posted 6,558,113 skier visits which is a 4.26 percent decline compared to 2002-03. The Gems/Front Range Resorts, resorts within a two hour drive from Denver with no or minimal bed base, recorded 1,136,022 skier visits which is a 12.48 percent decline compared to last season.Skier visits are just one barometer measuring the success of a ski season. Earlier this year CSCUSA commissioned a research firm to outline the economic impacts of the state’s ski industry. The results indicated the mountain resorts of Colorado significantly contribute to the state’s economy, with skiers spending $2 – $2.5 billion annually with up to two-thirds of those expenditures being captured by local business within the resort communities.”Colorado had a solid season and we are encouraged by the trends in the marketplace,” Perlman said. “The start of the 2004-05 ski season is less than 140 days away and we will be ready to open our arms to world and provide the best ski and snowboard experiences on the planet. We are already seeing a boost in early bookings from key international and domestic markets for next season.” VTThe Colorado Ski Country USA numbers breakdownColorado reports 11,212,364 skier visits during the 2003-04 seasonOut-of-state business stabilizes for first time in seven yearsSki industry’s economic impact to state projected at $2.5 billion
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