Snow shortage has little effect on reservations
EAGLE COUNTY – Resorts can’t keep secrets anymore, so we all know the Vail Valley could use snow, and lots of it. But people are still coming to the valley for vacations.
While some travelers are canceling or delaying their ski trips, many others are coming anyway.
At the Simba Run condos, general manager Farrow Hitt said there haven’t been any cancelations at all so far this season. Beyond that, Hitt said reservations for this season are running ahead of last season’s pace.
“It’s bizarre,” Hitt said of the trend at Simba Run. But he added, that lodge’s core audience of families seems eager for their mountain vacations.
The story’s a bit different at the Sitzmark Lodge in Vail Village. General manager Jeanne Fritch said that hotel has been receiving quite a few calls from people who either want to cancel their reservations or re-book a little later in the winter.
Fritch said the lodge is working with people when it can. But those who want to cancel just days before their original booking dates may lose their deposits.
“Our advance bookings were incredible this year,” Fritch said. “We had to turn down some people. And when you reserve a room, that means somebody else isn’t able to.”
Fritch said the people at the Sitzmark are doing their best to encourage people to come anyway. As someone who grew up skiing Vail, Fritch said the conditions aren’t bad, really.
“It’s just groomers, and that’s what most of our guests ski anyway,” she said. And, she added, the Vail Resorts crews have been doing “an amazing job” grooming what snow there is.
“I was up the other day, and it was fine,” she said.
But for those who don’t want to ski, Fritch said her people have been urging people to come anyway, for a “Colorado vacation” if not a ski trip.
“We’ve got incredible views, awesome sunsets and – I hate to say it – really mild weather right now,” Hitt said. “It’s still a great place to be.”
Still, the folks at Simba Run have decided to snub their noses at Ullr, the Norse snow god, by putting the nets back up on the lodge’s tennis courts.
“If he wants to do something about it, he can just come on down,” Hitt said.
At the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, marketing manager Scott Gubrud said that hotel’s reservations are staying strong through January.
The weekend of Jan. 6 was booked solid, Gubrud said. The same is true of the Martin Luther King birthday holiday, and the resort’s food and wine festival.
“We’re probably in the mid-80 (percent range) for occupancy through the month,” Gubrud said. “We were in the 70s in January of last year.”
Like Vail, the open runs at Beaver Creek are OK for those who want to ski groomed terrain. But, Gubrud said, the Hyatt’s restaurants, bars and the athletic club may be a little busier than they’d usually be in a normal winter.
While long-term reservations seem to be holding up, it was last-minute bookings that sustained many lodges during the depths of the economic slump in 2009 and 2010.
In an e-mail, Vail Valley Partnership director Chris Romer wrote that http://www.vailonsale.com, the group’s website that handles reservations just a couple of weeks out, has seen a slight decrease in traffic.
But, he wrote, “Last year was a record year, and our VailonSale.come business is primarily in-state visitation, so our decrease is completely natural.”
Something else the Vail Valley has going for it is how widespread this season’s current snow shortage is. Most years, some resort, someplace, will have good snow while other resorts suffer.
“There’s no snow anywhere else – nobody’s got any,” Hitt said. “So people come here and they enjoy their stay.”
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