Colorado skier visits on the rise |

Colorado skier visits on the rise

Nicole Formosa

SUMMIT COUNTY – Visits to Colorado’s ski resorts are up more than 8 percent over last year’s numbers, according to Colorado Ski Country USA , which has many ski area spokespeople crediting the abundant snowfall.During the first period of the 2004-05 ski season, Ski Country shows nearly 3 million visits, an increase of 8.1 percent over last year’s first period.The largest increase came in the Gems/Front Range category – resorts within a two-hour drive from Denver and/or without a bed base – which includes Loveland and Arapahoe Basin ski areas.So far this ski year, nearly 85,000 more skiers have visited resorts in that category, a 26.5 percent increase from last year.”It’s really good news,” said Leigh Hierholzer, director of marketing, sales and communications for A-Basin. Hierholzer attributes this year’s success to A-Basin’s earliest opening on record and exceptional snow conditions.”We were able to open more terrain for the holidays than the year before,” she said.”We’re very happy with the numbers,” agreed Ainsley Kasten, marketing manager for Loveland Ski Area.Kasten also credited the great snow for bringing in more visitors.Front Range destination resorts, including Copper Mountain, Breckenridge and Keystone, are seeing a 6.34 percent increase in visitors so far this year.”We’re just coming off an awesome holiday season with more than 3 feet of snow this month,” said resort spokeswoman Katelin Hill. “We’re setting up for a great rest of the season. It’s good security for us come April.”Because Vail Resorts is a publicly traded company, Breckenridge and Keystone officials declined to comment on the positive numbers. Same story with Vail and Beaver Creek.Vail, Colorado

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