Early season Colorado skier visits lag behind last year

By Real Aspen
Real AspenJanuary 20, 2012
Colorado Ski Country USA’s (CSCUSA) 22 member resorts reported a decrease in skier visitation for the beginning of the 2011/12 ski season. Skier visits at CSCUSA resorts — which include Aspen, Snowmass, Buttermilk, Aspen Highlands and Sunlight — were collectively off by 10.65 percent during the first period of the ski season, defined as opening day of the season through December 31, 2011, compared to the same period last year.

CSCUSA President and CEO Melanie Mills sites variable snow conditions as a contributing factor.

“We had a promising start in October with several robust storms giving resorts a solid base and allowing some to open earlier than planned,” said Mills. “But we faced inconsistencies in weather patterns for most of November and December, leading to slower visitation especially by in-state skiers at some ski areas.”

There is a lot of skiable terrain available. Combined, CSCUSA’s 22 members have about 80 percent of their lifts open, servicing approximately 17,609 acres of terrain with several resorts 100 percent open or very close.

Colorado may be at an advantage for managing snow.

“Resorts have been able to maintain the big snows we received early on, thanks to Colorado’s higher elevations and colder temperatures. This also allows resorts to make snow where needed,” Mills said. “Investments in state-of-the-art snow making and grooming equipment, along with the best snow maintenance experts in the industry give our resorts an advantage in providing a quality product which skiers have come to expect in Colorado.”

Resorts were busy over the holidays. During Christmas and New Year’s, travelers visited Colorado resorts and diversified their ski vacations with other attractions resorts offer.

Colorado's snowiest months may lie ahead.

“When comparing this year to last year, remember that last season was exceptional, with several of our resorts breaking the 500 inch mark for snowfall, and we were skiing until the 4th of July,” said Mills. “In our weather-dependent business, we feast in the big snow years and suffer a bit when it’s dry. But we’ve got lots of the season still ahead including a bonus leap year ski day on February 29.”

Skier visits are the metric used to track participation in skiing and snowboarding. A skier visit represents a person participating in the sport of skiing or snowboarding for any part of one day at a mountain resort.


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Snow Report

  24hr snow mid dpth snow cond.
A-Basin n/a n/a
Aspen n/a n/a closed
BC n/a n/a closed
Breckenridge n/a n/a closed
Buttermilk n/a n/a closed
Copper n/a n/a closed
Crest. Butte n/a n/a closed
Eldora n/a n/a closed
Heavenly n/a n/a closed
Highlands n/a n/a
Howelsen n/a n/a closed
Keystone n/a n/a closed
Kirkwood n/a n/a closed
Loveland n/a n/a
Monarch n/a n/a closed
Northstar n/a n/a closed
Powderhorn n/a n/a closed
Purgatory n/a n/a closed
Silverton n/a n/a closed
Ski Cooper n/a n/a closed
Ski Granby n/a n/a closed
Snowmass n/a n/a closed
Steamboat n/a n/a closed
Sunlight n/a n/a closed
Telluride n/a n/a closed
Vail n/a n/a closed
WinterPark n/a n/a closed
Wolf Creek n/a n/a closed
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