Good snowfall boosts early-season results at Colorado ski resorts
Heavy early-season snowfall allowed ski areas to open more terrain than usual and contributed to the good launch, according to a report released Monday by Colorado Ski Country USA.
While the increase was vivid compared to relatively weak performance in the same period last year, the industry trade group said early-season activity was 6.7 percent higher than the five-year average for the period from October through December.
“Riding momentum from last spring and buoyed by early-season snow this fall, the season got off to a very positive start,” Melanie Mills, president and chief executive of Colorado Ski Country USA, said in a release. “While we’ve set a brisk pace, there is still a lot of ski season left. With such wonderful conditions we’re optimistic that the momentum will continue.”
The group’s report was compiled from 21 member resorts in Colorado, representing most ski areas except those operated by nonmember Vail Resorts, which owns Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in the state.
In a separate report released Monday, Broomfield-based Vail Resorts also said it saw gains for its Colorado and Utah resorts this season through Jan. 5.
But Vail’s overall results for the ski season to date were mixed at its eight mountain resorts in Colorado, Utah, California and Nevada.
Vail’s five ski areas in Colorado and Utah reported a 7.4 percent increase in skier visits compared with last year. But at its three resorts surrounding Lake Tahoe, where early snowfall has been poor, visits were down 23.4 percent.
Vail Resorts chief executive Rob Katz said in the release Monday that he is confident that the company will meet its financial projections. “However,” he said, “our confidence is predicated on more normalized conditions returning to Tahoe.”
Vail said ticket revenue in Colorado and Utah was up 11.7 percent.
The good snow that boosted Colorado resorts’ performance through December has maintained in early January.
In a 48-hour period through Monday afternoon, Steamboat reported 13 inches of new snow, 12 inches at Copper Mountain, 11 inches at Eldora and 10 inches at Telluride.
The snow allowed resorts to open more terrain earlier, prompting comparisons to the 2007-08 ski season.
Steve Raabe: 303-954-1948, firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/steveraabedp