ASPEN - Weather cooperated a bit better than last season for the hordes of skiers and snowboarders wanting to hit the slopes over the holidays.
Dec. 31 is typically the busiest day of the season for Aspen Skiing Co. No statistics are available yet on the number of people who hit the slopes, but Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle said turnout at Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass was strong on Saturday and Sunday.
"(Monday) seemed to be picking up steam when the sun came out," Hanle said.
Paid skier visits are bound to be better this holiday season compared with last season. Winds in excess of 100 mph closed chairlifts at all four ski areas on Dec. 31, 2011, and took a huge chunk out of Skico's visits and revenues.
The historical high mark is about 20,000 cumulative paid skier visits at the four ski areas, Skico officials have disclosed in the past. About 17,000 skiers and riders hit the slopes on Dec. 30, 2011. Hanle said Skico had a few days near 20,000 this year.
Hanle said Skico officials are hopeful that the quickly improving snow conditions will create a "ripple effect" on business. Even if the skiers and snowboarders here for the holidays don't book additional trips later in the season because of the good conditions, they will tell people in their hometowns about the snow, Hanle said. That could spur new bookings, he said.
Snowmass had received more than 2 feet of snow in eight days as of Tuesday morning.