Skier visits on the rise |

Skier visits on the rise

Skier visits in January and February across the state are up 2.31 percent over the same period last season, according to Colorado Ski Country U.S.A., which released figures last week.Local numbers are also expected to be strong.”While we’re cautiously optimistic, this is the second year we’ve seen positive second-period results,” said Rob Perlman, president and CEO of Ski Country, in a news release. “We’re happy to have maintained our momentum. While it appears in-state visitation remained relatively flat this period, I get the sense destination and international visits are holding strong season-to-date. With an early Easter holiday, all indications are that March will also be solid. And, April is always a favorite month for our in-state skiers and riders.”The Aspen Skiing Co. won’t release any numbers until the end of the season, but Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle said, “We had a very strong second period.””Using the same periods – January and February – our numbers tracked above the numbers for the state as a whole and above the numbers for destination resorts as a category,” Hanle added.Bill Tomcich, president of the central reservations business Stay Aspen Snowmass, said last month that the company is having one of its best seasons in years, and March was poised to be the best month of the season.Destination resorts – which include areas like Aspen, Crested Butte, Telluride and Steamboat – in January and February posted a 1.15 percent increase over last season and have seen a 1.28 percent gain over the entire season through February. But compared with the 2002-03 season, destination resorts are up 7.9 percent.The Colorado’s gems/Front Range day resorts category takes top honors with the largest gains this season. Those resorts – including areas like Sunlight, Ski Cooper, Eldora, Loveland and Arapahoe Basin – are up 9.6 percent over last season.”Thanks to phenomenal early season snowfall and record opening days, the gems and Front Range resorts have seen a jump of nearly 10 percent over last season,” Perlman said. “The snow fell at all the right times this year and continues to do so.”Front Range destination resorts – Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Keystone, Vail and Winter Park – saw a 1.59 percent increase so far over last season.Steve Benson’s e-mail address is

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