Aspen Thanksgiving bookings low |

Aspen Thanksgiving bookings low

ASPEN ” Even after Tuesday’s storm, the scarcity of snow and dicey long-range weather forecast for Aspen and Snowmass are enough to keep local hoteliers and booking agents up nights.

But while Thanksgiving hotel bookings are below the norm, most said the holiday is not a make-or-break time, and bookings don’t depend on heaps of fresh powder.

“Obviously things are quiet for a number of reasons,” said Bill Tomcich, president of Stay Aspen Snowmass and the local liaison to the airline industry. “But overall bookings were down before the snow drought. … Thanksgiving is not a particularly popular time.”

Citing statistics representing some 75 percent of local hotels (some 27 of them), Tomcich said that at this time last year, area hotels reported reservations of about 21 percent occupancy. But walk-ins made for 29 percent occupancy during the weekend.

This year’s Nov. 1 projections for hotel occupancy on Thanksgiving are 17 percent, a bit below average, but Tomcich is not worried.

Flights in and out of Aspen on Wednesday and Thursdayday were fully booked.

And though the town will not be “bustling,” it’s not a worry, Tomcich said.

“Thanksgiving has never been a huge draw,” said Craig Melville, general manager of the family-owned Mountain Chalet Aspen. Many guests, including members of the hotelier’s family, visit Aspen just for the holidays.

“We haven’t had a single cancellation because of the snow,” Melville said. “They all said they’re coming anyway.”

Melville remembers the winter of 1976, when the hills of Aspen were dry far into ski season, adding that even if bookings were slow until Christmas, the hotel business would not suffer terribly.

“Thanksgiving doesn’t even come close to making or breaking our season,” Melville said. “But if we weren’t cooking by Christmas, I’d be worried.”

And bookings also are lower this year because the World Cup races aren’t until the first week in December, Melville said.

“I’ve never seen Thanksgiving be a big weekend, snow or no snow,” said Tony Krause, assistant manager at the Annabelle Inn. “I think if we had four feet, it wouldn’t be any different.”

Most guests are on holiday visits and were coming to Aspen anyway, and the hotel is booked out at 33 percent of its 35 rooms, Krause said.

“I’m not stressing yet,” Krause said. “We actually have more people this year then we did last year.”

“We’re busy. We’re certainly not full,” said Warren Klug, general manager of Aspen Square.

His staff has called all guests to tell them about the paucity of snow, but few visitors have canceled.

“We are finding that most people are going to come anyway,” Klug said.

Charles Agar’s e-mail address is

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