Summit sees skiers despite marginal snow
Summit County correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
SUMMIT COUNTY ” The Thanksgiving holiday shaped up pretty well for Summit County businesses, and a small amount of snow last Wednesday may have made a difference.
“We think the last minute Wednesday snowfall helped with Front Range visitation and day visitors shopping and dining in town,” said Carly Grimes, public relations director of the Breckenridge Resort Chamber.
Arapahoe Basin did “significantly better” than last year, said Kristin Lee, A-Basin’s marketing manager.
She said the snow is holding up well, probably due to the higher elevation, and attributes the crowds to a “positive buzz” that the snow is good there.
Keystone also reported a “very good holiday,” according to Keystone marketing director Christian Knapp.
“We didn’t break any records ” the level of snow had an impact, but we were able to overcome that with snowmaking,” Knapp said.
He said that there have been plenty of Thanksgiving holidays that had a small amount of snowfall prior, and that this pattern is more typical than the last couple of years, where Summit County saw more snowfall, rather than less.
“All in all, we had a good Thanksgiving,” he said.
“We did the best we could with what Mother Nature gave us, and we’ll continue to add terrain as weather permits.”
Ryan Whaley, spokesperson for Breckenridge Ski Area, said the area had a good holiday as well.
None of the resorts could release any specific numbers, however.
The Breckenridge Resort Chamber’s Central Reservations showed that November arrivals booked over the weekend were slightly down in comparison to last year.
However, last minute online bookings at http://www.gobrecknow.com were on pace with last year.
“Central Reservations saw no reported cancelations due to the snowfall, nor did they receive any reported issues or dissatisfaction.
When the snow is light, the bookings are always a bit softer,” Grimes said.
Many businesses saw increased traffic. Moonlight Madness at the Outlets at Silverthorne drew approximately 200 people to line up at midnight for giveaways, and the parking lots remained full until at least 1 a.m.
Steve Lapinsohn, owner of The Main Street Outlet and The North Face Store at Breckenridge, said he had phenomenal sales.
“We had a very, very strong week,” he said. “We did considerably better than last year.”
He attributed the strong sales to a lack of snow and cold weather.
“There wasn’t a lot open on the mountain, and people got tired of waiting in lines, so they shopped,” he said, adding that the cold weather helped increase coat and warm-clothing sales, as well as helped drive people into someplace warm ” stores.
Downstairs at Eric’s, a casual eatery and a locals favorite, didn’t fare quite as well, compared to Thanksgiving holidays prior.
“It was a little off,” said Ian Hamilton, one of the partners at Downstairs at Eric’s.
The number of vehicles driving through the tunnel decreased this year, from a total of 201,887 from Wednesday through Sunday last year to 175,919 this year, according the Colorado Department of Transportation (see box). Spokesperson Bob Wilson attributed the decline to the lack of snow.
Constance Jones, executive director of The Summit Chamber, said the county saw positive activity, but she hoped to have more traffic from the Front Range.
She thinks next weekend will pick up because of the forecasted snow.
At the Breckenridge Welcome Center, which books activities and lodging, volunteers who have worked there for years said it was a “super busy” weekend.
They had 1,514 visitors come through the Welcome Center in four days. Though they don’t have numbers for Thanksgiving weekend last year, they had about 4,000 people come through in the month of November, and from Nov. 1 to Nov. 26, they’ve had about 6,500 people come through.
“The numbers we’re seeing from month to month are higher than last year’s,” Grimes said.
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