Holiday business on Aspen’s slopes down 8 percent
ASPEN ” The Aspen Skiing Co. sold fewer lift tickets during the holidays than last season, but a top official said it could have been worse without help from the weather.
The Skico’s business was down 8 percent after a Christmas week that was “quite slow” and a New Year’s week that was stronger than last year, according to David Perry, Skico’s senior vice president of its mountain division.
It is never good news when business drops by a significant amount, Perry said, particularly when snow conditions were so good. On the other hand, the weather conditions turned out to be ideal for salvaging a strong second week of the holidays, he said. Heavy snow throughout December gave way to bluebird days at end the month.
“The people that are here get out on the mountain” when the weather is nice, Perry said. “That’s what happened.”
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The Skico’s expectations were limited. Occupancy reports indicated business would be down significantly. Many observers noted that second-home owners who normally rent their residences out for the holidays couldn’t find takers this year, so they came themselves. That boosted the number of people in town, even though it wasn’t reflected in occupancy reports, Perry said.
The busiest day on the slopes was Monday, Dec. 29, when nearly 20,000 skier and snowboard rider visits were logged at Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass, according to Perry. That compares well with record numbers from prior years. The record for a single day is about 22,000 visits, he said.
And Skico had a rare occurrence with four consecutive days ” Dec. 28-31 ” with greater than 18,000 visits, Perry said.
The Skico still projects that business will drop 5 to 15 percent for the season compared to last season. The holiday numbers didn’t change that projection one way or another, according to Perry.
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