Snowmass winter tourism strong, airport to temporarily close in May
Despite some ups and downs in hotel bookings throughout the winter season, tourism in Snowmass Village is finishing the winter season strong with a promising summer ahead.
“Some days were higher occupancy than last year and some were lower,” said Rose Abello, Snowmass Tourism director, noting that occupancy percentage is not the best indicator this year because the Viewline and Wildwood were closed for renovations.
In 2021, Snowmass Village booked a total of 145,277 rooms. In 2022, the village booked 201,888 rooms, which is about a 39% growth year over year, Abello said.
Looking toward March and April, March is tracking about the same as the previous year while April is up about 21% for rooms booked.
“I think we’ll have some upside here in March and again in April,” Abello said.
According to the February 2023 Occupancy Report and Executive Summary, which is a collaboration among Aspen Skiing Co., Aspen Chamber Resort Association, and Snowmass Tourism, Snowmass was at 72.8% occupancy in January, up 8.2% from last year.
“I’ve heard from a number of businesses, restaurants and ski rentals that they’re having a record year, which is great,” Abello said.
The Aspen/Pitkin County Airport will be closed May 10-24 for construction work.
“Originally, they were hoping to be able to do (the construction) in phases during summer and, ideally, after the airport closed at 11 p.m. each night,” said Fly Aspen Snowmass consultant Bill Tomcich. “Unfortunately, what they learned recently is there is (a local ordinance) that prohibits removal of asphalt after 10 p.m., so that nighttime work wasn’t going to be possible.”
The next idea was to do a phased project where they would do the taxiway rehabilitation and the de-icing ramp in four different phases over two months. However, that would have required for aircraft to taxi into position down an active runway, which would have dramatically reduced the capacity of the airport during the summer and led to a lot of delays, he said.
“The decision was, do we go through an entire summer with lots of delays or do we just rip the band-aid off and close the runway for two weeks and get it over with,” he said.
It was decided that they would “rip the band-aid off” and close the airport for two weeks to complete the construction and maintenance projects.
“Typically, we’re pretty quiet in Snowmass during that time but it is a good thing to make sure everyone is aware of,” Abello said.
The airport will be adding two new daily flights during spring and summer this year, Fly Aspen Snowmass consultant Bill Tomcich said at the Tourism Talk.
United will be adding a daily nonstop service from Chicago (ORD) beginning April 1. This daily nonstop will run from April 1 through May 9 and from May 25 through June 1.
Previously, American Airlines offered nonstop flights from Austin, Texas, on Saturdays, but this year it is adding a daily nonstop from Austin. This flight will run daily from June 1 through Aug. 14 and will switch to Saturdays only from Aug. 19 through Sept. 9.
The overall seat count for summer will be about the same as last year, Tomcich said, despite one less flight from Denver each day.
To reach Audrey Ryan, email her at email@example.com.
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