Skico numbers drop 8.2 |

Skico numbers drop 8.2

Skier and snowboarder visits dropped 8.2 percent last season at the Aspen Skiing Co.’s four local areas, the company reported Sunday.

Although that’s dismal, think of it this way – Vail took twice the beating the Skico did. Vail announced last week that its visits were down 16 percent last season.

Losses were common throughout the ski industry, in Colorado and the nation. That helped take away some of the sting for the Skico.

“We’re disappointed with the decrease in skier days,” said Skico President and Chief Executive Officer Pat O’Donnell in a prepared statement. “Although, given some of the losses reported throughout the state, we fared well in spite of a low snow year.”

The Skico recorded a total of 1,431,854 skier visits last season, compared to about 1.56 million visits the prior season. A visit is the purchase or giveaway of a ticket to a skier or rider for a full- or partial day.

All four of the Skico’s individual ski areas lost visits last season. Snowmass was the big loser. Here’s their 1998-99 performance:

Snowmass reported 777,378 skier visits, down 12 percent from the prior season; Aspen Mountain recorded 333,215 skier visits, down 3.5 percent; Buttermilk logged 177,476 visits, down 1.5 percent; and Aspen Highlands was at 143,785, a decrease of 4 percent. State numbers due today Total skier visits for the state will be released today at Colorado Ski Country USA’s 36th annual meeting in Colorado Springs. Colorado Ski Country is a ski industry trade association.

Colorado resorts as a whole logged just under 12 million skier and rider visits in 1997-98. Industry insiders say the number for last season will dip at least 5 percent.

If that assessment is accurate, Colorado’s numbers will have been flat or have fallen in each of the last four seasons.

The industry isn’t faring any better nationally. The National Ski Areas Association, based in Lakewood, Colo., estimated this spring that ski areas recorded about 52.1 million visits last season – down from 54.1 million visits the season before. Skico looks for rebound Vail and Breckenridge, sister resorts, are two of the few that have already released their performances for last season.

Their skier visits were released as part of their parent company’s quarterly earnings report last week.

Vail Resorts Inc. reported its flagship mountain, Vail, was down 16 percent to 1.3 million visits. Breckenridge was up 6 percent to nearly 1.4 million.

The Aspen Skiing Co. has already made a move that officials hope boosts numbers for next season.

O’Donnell announced last week that multiday lift tickets will be drastically discounted if purchased before Dec. 1. Six-day tickets for adults will be sold for $39 per day; five-day tickets for $45 per day; and four-day tickets for $49 per day.

“We’re looking for a rebound next season,” O’Donnell said in the prepared statement. “And, with our season-long millennium celebration pricing we hope to come back strongly.”

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