Business Monday: Data shows busy ski season for Aspen, Snowmass lodges |

Business Monday: Data shows busy ski season for Aspen, Snowmass lodges

An expanded Snowmass Village this winter, as well as lots of snow, translated to more visits for the ski town.
Jeremy Swanson/Special to The Aspen Times

As post-ski season data trickles in, all arrows point to a solid year in terms of tourism dollars pumped into both Aspen and Snowmass Village.

Lodges in both resort towns had a combined paid occupancy rate of 61.7% from November through April, a record-setting season and a 5.4% improvement over the winter of 2017-18, said Stay Aspen Snowmass in its most recent report, which was issued last week.

Stay Aspen Snowmass, a division of Aspen Skiing Co., is a central reservations agency and gleans its occupancy figures from Inntopia, an Edwards company that tracks lodging trends in the mountain resort industry.

Inntopia, in its monthly DestiMetrics report that also came out last week, reported that ski resorts in the six Western states it analyzes posted occupancy rates that were 5.6% better this season over last. Inntopia credited a solid snow season, strong consumer confidence and last-minute bookings in a snowy April.

Aspen, for example, had a 41.4% occupancy in April, a month in which skiing options are traditionally fewer because the mountains are not open for the entire month and the conditions aren’t as good as the preceding months.

However, Skico premiered the Apres Music Festival from April 5 to 7 at Buttermilk, the ski area’s last weekend, and snow continued to fall. It was a recipe for a record-setting April in Aspen, and the first time reservations eclipsed the 40% mark, Stay Aspen Snowmass said. April also was 26.9% better in terms of hotel occupancy in April over April 2018.

“We know (the Apres Festival) supported these record performances and our sincere hope is to be able to do a festival like this in the future with your support,” Stay Aspen Snowmass said.

Snowmass also saw a bump in April, with 39.1% occupancy, 5.3% ahead of April 2018.

Combined, Aspen and Snowmass lodges had a 40.5% occupancy rate in April, up 19.2% over April 2018.

“Conditions throughout the season and across the country were ideal for record-setting,” said Tom Foley, senior vice president of business operations and analytics for Inntopia. “A strong, although occasionally erratic financial marketplace, supported skiers and riders wanting to take full advantage of abundant snowfall throughout the season, and to spend more liberally than in past seasons.”

The Rocky Mountain Lodge Report, which the Colorado Hotel & Lodging Association commissions, reported occupancy even higher for Aspen accommodations in April ­— 45.1%. That was tops among Colorado ski resorts, which had an average occupancy rate of 38.4% the report said.

Aspen also enjoyed a 73.7% booking rate from January through April, which not only was best among Colorado’s resort towns, but second in the entire state, according to the report. Only Denver, with a 75% mark, had a higher occupancy level for the first one-third of 2019, the report said.

“The mountain travel industry has much to cheer about this winter as most destinations had an excellent season,” Foley said. “The season started out a bit tentatively due to the ‘snow hangover’ from the previous season and some awkward timing of school holidays. But, many properties adapted by lowering December rates to attract visitors and once excellent slope conditions were clearly established, the season just moved from strength to strength.”