Aspen, Snowmass swell to peak occupancy for New Year’s weekend |

Aspen, Snowmass swell to peak occupancy for New Year’s weekend

Crowds gather at the top of the Elk Camp Gondola in Snowmass on Thursday.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times |

If it feels like it’s the busiest day in town that’s because it is.

Tonight, occupancy will be just over 95 percent in Aspen and Snowmass combined, according to Bill Tomcich, president of the central reservations agency Stay Aspen Snowmass. He added that Friday is the third day of a five-day run in which occupancy exceeds 90 percent.

“We’ve been steadily growing over the last 10 days,” Tomcich said Thursday, adding that the busiest he has ever seen the resort in the past 20 years was around 96.5 percent occupancy.

He noted that hotels and lodges from Basalt to Glenwood Springs are nearly full, as well, with some properties charging more than $450 a night.

Looking ahead to next week, it won’t be the typical mass exodus after New Year’s that most seasons experience. Bookings from earlier this month indicate that people will be staying longer after the holidays. That’s primarily because New Year’s Day falls on a Monday and most children are out of school for the week.

Tomcich said once the holiday weekend is over he expects occupancy to hover in the mid-70 percent range through Jan. 7.

Activity at the airport has been steadily increasing, as well, with a record 40 commercial flights from 10 cities scheduled last Saturday, and an average of 38 inbound and outbound flights daily since then.

However, many of the flights this week have been delayed due to air traffic congestion in Aspen and airports across the country.

“The airlines are making a heroic effort in getting their planes in and out,” Tomcich said. “They have over a 90 percent completion factor.”

Aspen Skiing Co. spokesman Jeff Hanle worked the front lines Thursday, helping direct traffic in front of gondola plaza and in the line, which winded down the steps and beyond. He has seen a steady increase of people on the mountain, especially when it’s warm and sunny like it was Thursday.

“A day like today, our guests love it,” he said. “We are expecting this week and next to get busier.”

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