Ski season recap |

Ski season recap

❱❱ Jill Beathard | Snowmass Sun
Max Park was filled with skiers and riders Saturday morning for Snowmass opening day.
Jeremy Wallace/The Aspen Times |

Sales and lodging numbers came in almost flat this winter in Snowmass — and while that may not sound like something to celebrate, tourism officials note it’s an improvement from what they expected at the start of this ski season.

The outlook for the 2015-16 ski season was not so sunny for Snowmass Village after it and Aspen experienced a drop in international bookings and group business as well. Of course, that was also compared to the 2014-15 ski season, which broke records in sales and saw a huge boost from those sectors.

But sales from November to March were up 1.1 percent over last year, according to a report from the Town Finance Department, and lodging occupancy in the past six months rose 0.9 percent, according to DestiMetrics, a resort analytics firm.

“We’re happy with where it landed,” said Fred Brodsky, Snowmass Tourism group sales director. “The numbers were looking like we were going to end up behind (last year). To inch slightly above it is a win.”

Revenue per available room dropped by just 0.4 percent over the past six months in Snowmass. That metric is expected to jump up significantly this summer, Brodsky said.

“If you look at what summer is shaping up to be, we’re looking at a nice year now,” Brodsky said.

December was stronger for tourism than expected with a big boost during the holiday season. January slumped a bit, with a 4.9 percent decrease in sales tax revenue reported by the town of Snowmass Village and a 3.2 percent drop in occupancy, according to DestiMetrics.

But with what was considered the biggest snow storm in seven or eight years at the end of January, the first half of February saw a big jump in bookings, said Bill Tomcich, president of Stay Aspen Snowmass, in an email sent to media outlets with that report.

February ended up 6.1 percent down from the same month in 2015, though. Tomcich said the bookings hike seemed to drop when an Aspen Skiing Co. promotion ended, the snow stopped falling and guests started having trouble getting into town thanks to the closure of the Glenwood Canyon and a simultaneous locator outage at the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport.

And yet, Snowmass’ paid occupancy rate was still higher than any of the other 16 resorts reporting that month.

March occupancy ended up just 2.1 percent shy of the same month last year, with an especially strong second half thanks to spring break and Easter. March sales tax revenue ended up 4.4 percent higher than the same month last year.

“When snow returned in March, so did the bookings,” said Tomcich in an email. “In fact the last-minute bookings made in-the-month for-the-month were actually up, and quite dramatically so in Snowmass.”

And while the final report for April had not been sent out as of press time, the month received a big boost in occupancy from the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic and The Ski Week.

“We finished really strong,” Brodsky said.

According to the March sales tax report from the town, which breaks collections down by industry category, sales tax collections were up for most sectors.

Lodging sales increased 3.6 percent; sports equipment and clothing stores, 13.9 percent; food, drug and liquor stores, 4.4 percent; general retail, 20.2 percent; and miscellaneous, 11.2 percent.

Categories that saw decreases were restaurants, 0.2 percent; and utilities, 13.1 percent.


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