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Ski season bookings still lackluster for Aspen, western resorts

Staff report

The pace of bookings for the winter remained lackluster in October for Aspen-Snowmass and many Western U.S. ski resorts, but industry officials hope November snowstorms get the phones ringing.

DestiMetrics, a company that tracks reservations at destination resorts in six states, released a report Thursday that said bookings for November through April are up 1.2 percent from last season, as of Oct. 31. The picture improved since the end of September, when bookings were down 1.1 percent.

The reservations made during October for vacations from October through March were up 0.7 percent from the pace set in October 2014.

“Early-season booking activity is up slightly but significantly lower than the double-digit increases that resorts have been posting in the past several years in both summer and winter,” DestiMetrics Director Ralf Garrison said in his firm’s report.

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In Aspen and Snowmass, business picked up in October compared with September, but the number of bookings made in October still lagged October 2014.

The number of rooms booked in Aspen in October 2015 was down 3.3 percent compared with the same month last year, according to Stay Aspen Snowmass, a central bookings agency. Bookings made in Snowmass were flat in October compared with the same month in 2014.

Despite those numbers, Stay Aspen Snowmass President Bill Tomcich said he senses the tide is turning.

“While I couldn’t necessarily call it a ‘high tide’ of winter bookings just yet, it’s clear that the tide has indeed started coming in,” Tomcich wrote. “Consistent early snowfall, ideal snowmaking weather, announcements of early resort openings and clever marketing pushing really creative and specially targeted promotional packages by both Aspen Skiing Co. and Snowmass Tourism are all contributing towards an undeniable surge in winter booking momentum.”

Garrison noted that snow picked up after the latest reservations data was collected, through Oct. 31. Media coverage about the snowstorms sweeping through the West and the prospects for a snowy winter because of El Nino will ease concerns about snow at the resorts, he said.


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