Good snow brings lots of skiers | VailDaily.com

Good snow brings lots of skiers

Cliff Thompson

Compared to last year’s terrorism- and recession-troubled numbers, the statewide skier traffic from opening day through Dec. 31 was 2.912 million – up 18.35 percent and 2.62 percent over the previous two seasons, according to Colorado Ski Country USA, an association of the state’s ski resorts.

Because of the abundant early season snow, many resorts were able to open earlier than scheduled. Vail opened Nov. 16 – a week early. Bargain pre-season ski-pass sales also bolstered totals, the association reported.

“We are definitely pleased with results so far this season,” said the association’s president and CEO, Rob Perlman. “We’re cautiously optimistic. We have a long way to go and our work’s not done. It’s great to have the momentum we built during the first part of the season.”

Perlman suggested the increase in skier numbers may have been the result of pent-up demand. He cautioned, however, that the threat of war with Iraq could torpedo the rest of the season.

All categories of ski resorts – destination, Front Range Destination and Front Range ski areas – showed strong numbers over the previous year. During the holiday period, Vail Mountain hosted an unofficial record of 21,000 skiers and snowboarders. Because Vail and Beaver Creek are less than two hours driving time from Denver, they fall into the Front Range Destination category, which showed an 18.28 percent increase over skier traffic last year and a 3.65 percent increase over the previous year. A total of 1.849 million skiers were recorded, compared to 1.563 million last year and 1.784 million the previous season.

The Destination Resorts category showed substantial increases over last year, but a slight decrease from the 2000-01 season. A total of 877,831 skiers and snowboarders were recorded at destination resorts, up 18.27 percent over the previous season but down 0.76 percent compared to 2000-01.

In the Front Range category, the numbers were up 18.35 percent with 185,207 skiers and snowboarders, compared to last year’s 169,147.

Because Vail Resorts’ stock is publicly traded, skier numbers for Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone, Breckenridge and Heavenly are not released for fear of affecting stock prices and running afoul of Securities and Exchange Commission regulators.

Cliff Thompson can be reached at 949-0555 ext 450 or cthompson@vaildaily.com.




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