Trade group: Early-season ski visits down in Colo. |

Trade group: Early-season ski visits down in Colo.

NWS Vail Opens 2 DT 11-21-08

DENVER ” A Colorado trade group says skier visits for the early season at its 22 member resorts were down 7.7 percent from the previous season.

Colorado Ski Country USA announced the decrease Friday for the period covering Oct. 15 through Dec. 31. The group but didn’t release numbers of people who visited.

Despite the drop, the association says, some resorts experienced record volumes of guests during the four days of the 2009 New Year’s week, after the early season time period.

The numbers don’t include visits to four Colorado ski resorts owned by Vail Resorts Inc., which opted not to belong to the trade group this season. Vail Resorts said this month that early season skier visits at its five resorts, including one in California, were down 5.8 percent.

Colorado Ski Country USA says snowfall records at Silverton, Crested Butte Mountain Resort, and Telluride have helped.

The trade group also is encouraged by record traffic on Interstate 70 at the Eisenhower Tunnel, a key link between Denver and several ski resorts.

The Colorado Department of Transportation said a record 50,442 vehicles passed through the tunnel Jan. 2.

A record 173,488 passed through the tunnel during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, breaking the previous high count of 160,708 over the 2005 King holiday weekend, CDOT said.

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