Colorado lift ticket sales tumble |

Colorado lift ticket sales tumble

Aspen Times Staff Report
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” The Colorado ski industry’s lift ticket sales fell 12.5 percent from the beginning of the season in October through Dec. 31 compared to the same period last winter, a state trade association announced Thursday.

Colorado Ski Country USA reported that its 26 member resorts logged about 2.87 million skier and snowboard rider visits during the first reporting period. A visit is defined as the purchase of a full- or half-day lift ticket. Ticket sales were down about 412,000 from a record-setting beginning to the season in 2006-07.

The Aspen Skiing Co. fared slightly better than the state industry as a whole during the early season. Skico announced last week that its business was down 10 percent through December compared to last season.

The culprit ” both in Aspen and statewide ” was poor snow conditions to start the season. November was warm and dry. Many resorts couldn’t open as scheduled or they opened very limited terrain.

The snow conditions at resorts bounced back in December. The entire state was hit with snowstorm after snowstorm, and some resorts, such as Snowmass Ski Area, received record snowfall during the month.

Both the Skico and the state resorts as a whole made up ground with “robust” business during the holidays. Skico’s business during the two weeks surrounding Christmas and New Year’s was up about 2 percent, company officials reported.

Colorado Ski Country President and CEO Rob Perlman tried to put as positive spin as possible on the disappointing early-season numbers.

“Not every year can be a record breaking year, and while we are comfortable with where we are today, we are confident that Colorado will continue on its steady pace as ski industry leader,” Perlman said in a prepared statement. “January visits are proving to be strong, telling us that folks are traveling in 2008, which is great since Colorado still has the majority of winter left.”

Colorado Ski Country’s announcement about the decline in skier visits had the headline, “Colorado skier visitation reflects a healthy industry.”

Colorado Ski Country doesn’t release information about the performance of individual resorts. It typically breaks performance down into three categories: Front Range resorts, Front Range destination resorts and destination resorts. The numbers for those categories weren’t immediately available Thursday.

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