Skier visits up at Aspen, Snowmass |

Skier visits up at Aspen, Snowmass

Aspen Times Staff Report
Aspen, CO Colorado

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. ” Colorado ski resorts lured 12.5 million-plus skiers and riders to the slopes last winter, and Aspen/Snowmass pulled in 1.47 million of them.

As a whole, the state recorded its second best season ever for skier visits in 2007-’08, according to figures announced Thursday by Colorado Ski Association USA. The tally includes the trade organization’s 26 member resorts, including the four ski areas that make up Aspen/Snowmass. A skier or rider on the slopes for any part of a day constitutes one skier visit.

The four ski areas at Aspen Snowmass logged 1,470,997 skiers and riders last season, up 1.8 percent from the 1,444,647 tally in 2006-’07, according to Jeff Hanle, Aspen Skiing Co. spokesman. The Skico also announced its skier visits for the season on Thursday.

The numbers broke down this way:

Snowmass: 771,455

Aspen Mountain: 332,981

Aspen Highlands: 211,635

Buttermilk: 154,926

The winter of 2007-’08 was the third consecutive season that overall Colorado skier visits have topped the 12.5 million mark, according to the trade association. Total skier visits among Colorado Ski Association member resorts was 12,535,913 last winter.

“We are thrilled with this season’s numbers. Our goal was to sustain the momentum from the past two record-setting seasons and reach at least 12 million skier visits,” said Rob Perlman, president and CEO of Colorado Ski Country USA, in a press release.

On a national level, the industry saw growth in numbers, with Colorado making up roughly 20 percent of the overall market share, down slightly from a 23 percent market share in 2006-’07. Last winter’s numbers represent a decrease of approximately 30,386 skier visits compared to the prior winter’s record-setting season. Colorado’s skier visits record was set in 2006-’07 with 12,566,299 million.

Last winter, Colorado resorts overcame a slow start to the season, when a lack of snow forced many resorts to delay their openings. Winter kicked into gear in December though, when it started snowing and didn’t stop.

Eight Colorado resorts, including Snowmass, broke season snowfall records and multiple Colorado resorts broke monthly snowfall records. Colorado also had the longest ski season in the country ” 245 days ” before the final resort closed on June 8. Aspen Mountain will reopen its upper slopes for skiers and riders this weekend.

International visitation set a record this past ski season in Colorado with an increase of 21 percent over the prior winter. International guests came to Colorado and generally visited more than one resort, stayed for a longer time than their domestic counterparts and spent more broadly than in past seasons, according to Ski Country.