Snowmass sees record occupancy in August, up 22% over last year; Aspen also up | AspenTimes.com

Snowmass sees record occupancy in August, up 22% over last year; Aspen also up

Snowmass' occupancy spiked to new heights in August, while Aspen was up slightly over the same time last year, according to Stay Aspen Snowmass' report released Thursday afternoon.

Paid occupancy in Snowmass Village hit an August record of 61.8 percent last month — a 22.9 percent increase over the same period in 2017.

Snowmass Tourism Director Rose Abello attributed the town's major gains to the return of Tough Mudder, the first of Jazz Aspen Snowmass' Labor Day shows falling on the last day of August, and visitation to Aspen Skiing Co.'s debut Lost Forest.

The town traditionally sees a dip in occupancy between schools starting and Labor Day weekend, Abello said, and therefore scheduled Tough Mudder — which drew to the village several thousands of visitors — during this late August lull "so that it would do exactly what it did."

Abello said the JAS Labor Day Experience "always (produces) strong bookings" in Snowmass Village, so capturing even one night of the festival increases August's numbers.

Skico Vice President of Communications Jeff Hanle said the Lost Forest, which opened to the public late June, "proved to be extremely popular with our guests, (and) from what we can see, appeared to drive business.

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"The numbers exceeded our expectations, in a challenging summer when we had the airport closure and the fires, Snowmass had a massive increase in business."

Skico does not release numbers per company policy.

In Aspen, occupancy last month reached 73.2 percent, which is up 1.8 percent from August 2017. Altogether, this was Aspen's second-busiest August on the books, behind 74.8 percent occupancy in 2016.

Stay Aspen Snowmass President Bill Tomcich noted in his report the continued trend of last-minute or month-of bookings.

Tomcich said in an interview that Stay Aspen Snowmass first noticed an increase in late bookings last winter; however, "It's continued month after month" at both destinations.

Data for Stay Aspen Snowmass' report is provided by Destimetrics, a Denver-based research firm that tracks occupancy and bookings trends for resorts in a number of mountain states.

"We're super excited. We always say, 'It takes a village'," Abello said of Snowmass' August record. "It's not just what (Snowmass Tourism's) doing; it's what the properties, Skico, restaurants (and) retailers are doing to continuously make Snowmass an exciting and enticing summer destination."

erobbie@aspentimes.com