Thanksgiving kicks off early season biz | AspenTimes.com

Thanksgiving kicks off early season biz

Jill Beathard
Snowmass Sun

Like neighboring Aspen, Snowmass Village saw a slight uptick in visitors over Thanksgiving week, but the holiday was nothing on the level of others such as Christmas and President's Day. Bookings for the weekend had exceeded last year's peak of 25 percent as of Nov. 15, so Bill Tomcich, president of reservations agency Stay Aspen Snowmass, predicted it would rise to about 30 percent with last-minute bookings.

David Dugan, partner at Base Camp Bar & Grill and Slice, said the uptick was clear from the additional traffic this weekend. But he said he thinks the mountain gets more love when its opening also times with Thanksgiving Day, usually the opening day for Snowmass and Aspen Mountain except for seasons like this one when Aspen Skiing Co. decides conditions are suitable for opening earlier.

"Thanksgiving is kind of a non-event," said Reed Lewis, a longtime local and owner of three businesses on the Snowmass Village Mall. "There's not a whole lot of people up here ever. But it's nice to have some snow and lots of stuff open (on the mountain). Hopefully the word is getting out."

Snow falling in the background of footage from the Winternational World Cup races in Aspen this weekend and in B-roll during the Broncos game "can't hurt," he added.

““Thanksgiving is kind of a non-event. There’s not a whole lot of people up here ever. It’s nice to have some snow and lots of stuff open (on the mountain). Hopefully the word is getting out.”Reed LewisOwner, Grain, Daly Bottle Shop and 81615

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Aspen and Snowmass businesspeople agree that about mid- December is when guest numbers begin to rise significantly with families on winter break and preparing to spend the holidays here.

With a Skico-sponsored rail jam (see story, above) and a restaurant "leftover challenge," there was a good amount of activity in Base Village on Nov. 27 despite the concurrence with the first of the Winternational World Cup races in Aspen.

The upper valley seems to have had more last-minute bookings since the mid-month report came out than last year, probably due to all the recent snowfall, Tomcich said. The buzz around the Winternational World Cup races in Aspen, particularly with Vail native Mikaela Shiffrin's performance, likely drew some last-minute bookings in Aspen from the Front Range and Vail valley, Tomcich said.

"You know that those people are coming over here to watch the races," he said.

The international media exposure of the races, especially with snow falling in the background like there was on Nov. 27, is "priceless," he added.

As of Oct. 31, bookings for Snowmass lodges were down 7.9 percent for the winter overall, something tourism officials have attributed to a combination of an off year with large groups such as the National Brotherhood and NASTAR championships, which rotate locations from season to season, and world economic issues affecting exchange rates for key markets such as Australia and Brazil.

jill@snowmasssun.com

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