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March 19, 2013
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February sees highest occupancy since 2005

SNOWMASS VILLAGE - Snowmass Village lodges were 72.6 percent full in February, the highest rate in a single month for the town since the Mountain Travel Research Program started tracking that data in 2005, according to a report.

Occupancy also was up 19.5 percent over last year.

"It's amazing," said Bill Tomcich, president of reservations agency Stay Aspen Snowmass. Tomcich recently met with some Snowmass lodging representatives, and he said "the attitude is as upbeat as I've ever seen it."

Tomcich attributed the strong showing to groups and international visitors. The National Brotherhood of Skiers brought more than 1,000 guests to Snowmass last month, Carnival drew international visitors, and Presidents Day the following weekend drew a strong national crowd, he said.

"The calendar's been our friend," Tomcich said.

Groups are going to give Snowmass a strong finish to the season as well, with the Disabled American Veterans program the first week of April and the Mountain Travel Symposium the next. Recreational skiers and snowboarders from all over the country will be in Snowmass Village this week for the NASTAR National Championships, which is booked to return next year as well.

Susan Hamley, director of Snowmass Tourism, said her team doesn't necessarily control the way groups book. Many of them, including the Brotherhood, rotate resorts for their annual events.

"It's great ... when all these big ones happen at the same time," Hamley said.

Groups have always been important in Snowmass, Hamley said, accounting for about 40 percent of winter visitors.

As of the end of last month, actual reservations for March were only up 3.3 percent from last year.

March has been a challenge in recent years, Tomcich said, and the lack of snowfall during the month last year did not help.

"Clearly we seem to be in a different pattern (this year)," Tomcich said.

He also said he's observed more last-minute bookings this season than ever.

"We are poised to have a strong finish," he said.

Despite that anticipation, there are no more sold-out nights on the books through the end of the season, Tomcich said.

"We need to spread the word out that there are rooms available," he said.

Actual occupancy in February was up 14.2 percent across the mountain lodging industry, according to MTRiP. Meanwhile, in Aspen, the occupancy rate fell 1.3 percent.

jbeathard@snowmasssun.com


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The Aspen Times Updated Mar 19, 2013 04:42PM Published Mar 19, 2013 04:40PM Copyright 2013 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.