Buttermilk logs best business gains so far
ASPEN – The Aspen Skiing Co.’s two family-oriented ski areas saw the biggest gains in skier visits over the early part of this season compared to last winter, company spokesman Jeff Hanle said Tuesday.
Buttermilk’s skier and snowboard riders visits were up 16.4 percent through the end of December, the latest tally available, he said. Snowmass was up 8.2 percent compared to the same period last year.
Aspen Highlands eked out a marginal increase of 1.8 percent while Aspen Mountain was “essentially flat,” Hanle said.
Skico’s business tumbled 7.6 percent overall last season. The recession clobbered the vacation travel industry.
“We think Buttermilk was hurt the most last year,” Hanle said. Now that families are “rebounding” and traveling more, it’s benefiting Buttermilk and Snowmass the most.
Buttermilk likely got a bump from the earlier availability of its 22-foot superpipe, which gained famed during the Winter X Games. The superpipe typically isn’t open to the public before the Winter X Games because it is being built, Hanle said. This season it was completed and open by Dec. 16.
The Skico reported its skier visits were up about 5.8 percent overall this season through Dec. 31, the first reporting period for members of Colorado Ski Country USA, a state trade association. However, new radio frequency gates at the Skico’s four areas are creating some redundancy in counting that won’t be weeded out until season’s end, Hanle said. Skico figures its visits are up between 2.5 and 5 percent in an apple-to-apple comparison to last season.
The number of skier visits was up 1 percent through Dec. 31 at the 22 member resorts of Colorado Ski Country USA, the association said last month.
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