Colorado skier visits down 5.9 percent |

Colorado skier visits down 5.9 percent

Aspen Times Staff Report
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” Skier visits at 22 Colorado ski resorts were down nearly 6 percent during the first two months of 2009 and for the season so far, Colorado Ski Country USA reported Thursday.

Skier visits from Jan. 1 through Feb. 28 were off by 5.8 percent, compared to the same period last year, the statewide trade association said. However, visits were up slightly compared to the five-year average for the two-month span, considered the second period of the winter ski season. And, Ski Country noted, record numbers were posted for three of those five seasons.

This winter, though February, visitation at member resorts is down 5.9 percent compared to the same period last season, the association said.

Colorado Ski Country’s numbers include the four ski areas that comprise Aspen/Snowmass (Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Snowmass and Buttermilk), but not Vail Resorts’ four Colorado ski areas ” Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone ” because Vail Resorts is no longer a member of the association.

Earlier this week, Vail Resorts reported a 9 percent increase in skier visits at Vail, and more than a 7 percent hike at Beaver Creek, but said other mountains operated by the company had seen as much as a 10 percent drop in skier numbers through January. Overall, visits at Vail Resorts’ mountains were down 4.5 percent, reported the company, which also owns Heavenly Ski Resort in California.

The Aspen Skiing Co. reported its business was down 8 percent after New Year’s week and has projected its numbers will be down 5 to 15 percent by the end of the season, compared to last winter, given the state of the economy.

The final numbers for the ski season will be announced in June, at Colorado Ski Country’s annual meeting. Skier and rider visits are the standard used to track the industry’s business. A visit represents one person skiing or snowboarding for any part of one day at a mountain resort.

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