The 2013-14 ski season was Colorado’s best on record.
At its 51st annual meeting on Thursday, Colorado Ski Country USA announced that statewide skier visits totaled about 12.6 million for the season. That estimate puts visits up more than 10 percent compared with last season and more than 8 percent compared with the five-year average.
“With two consecutive years of growth, momentum is certainly in our favor as our resorts continue to set the industry standard in terms of snow quality, skier safety and guest service,” said Melanie Mills, Colorado Ski Country’s president and CEO, in a news release.
The nonprofit trade association represents 21 Colorado ski resorts, including Arapahoe Basin Ski Area and Copper Mountain Resort in Summit County. Ski areas owned by Vail Resorts are not members of the group.
Colorado resorts outperformed the ski industry nationally, with the Pacific regions heavily impacted by drought, and they bested the growth rate of 6.4 percent in the Rocky Mountain region, where snow conditions were more comparable.
“Owning 22 percent of the national skier market speaks volumes to the reputation of our state as the top ski destination,” Mills said.
The state’s 21 member resorts received about 7.1 million skier visits, according to the association, despite facing challenges with skier traffic on roadways and hype around the new recreational marijuana law.
Abundant early-season snowfall and ideal snowmaking conditions in the fall prompted an Oct. 13, 2013, opening for Colorado’s ski season. As snowfall continued, some resorts opened earlier than planned and opened more terrain earlier than usual.
In January and February, snowstorms continued and were widespread across the state, and several factors kept visitors engaged in skiing and snowboarding: ideal snow conditions, enjoyable winter temperatures, positive economic news and the Winter Olympics. Mills said Martin Luther King and Presidents Day weekends were especially busy.
Snowfall continued into spring and bolstered Easter visits despite the unfavorable late calendar date of the holiday. Conditions allowed many resorts to extend their seasons or add weekends.
Skier visits are the metric used to track participation in skiing and snowboarding. A skier visit represents a person participating in skiing or snowboarding for any part of one day at a mountain resort.
Colorado resorts outperformed the ski industry nationally, with the Pacific regions heavily impacted by drought ...