Colorado’s skier numbers down 4.46 percent
Colorado ski resorts hosted at total of 11,146,131 skiers, down 4.46 percent from the previous season’s 11.67 million skiers – but far better than pre-ski season fears of as much as a 30 percent decrease.
As might be expected in the travel-jittery, post-terrorist travel environment, destination resorts showed the largest decrease, 5.06 percent, or 196,176 skiers, less than the previous year’s 3.87 million destination skiers.
“In light of the obstacles the entire tourism industry faced post-Sept. 11, including travel and safety fears, a national recession and below-average snowfall, we are very encouraged with how the ski and snowboard industry fared in Colorado this season,” said CSCUSA’s president and chief executive officer, David Perry.
Front Range destination resorts showed a 4.31 percent decrease in visitation compared to last year. That category of ski resort, which includes Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Breckenridge, hosted 6.94 million skiers during the 2001-02 ski season, compared to 7.258 million skier days the previous year.
Front Range ski areas, meanwhile, closed the gap slightly with the previous season and showed a 2.12 percent decrease.
The decreased skier numbers statewide closely mirrored a national trend. Nationally, skier numbers were down 5.5 percent, with 54.2 million skiers hitting the hills.
The latter half of the ski season, in fact, saw excellent skier numbers. In December, or example, CSCUSA was reporting a 14 percent decrease in skier numbers.
Expectations are already building for next ski season, said Pat O’Donnnell, the trade association’s chairman.
“WIth the Olympics in Utah last February, the world was exposed to snow sports in the Rocky Mountains and we saw a huge rush of popularity in snowboarding,” he said. “We are optimistic and looking forward to the influence it will have next ski season.”