Colorado ski industry aiming for record year |

Colorado ski industry aiming for record year

DENVER Despite getting less snow, Colorado resorts are on a pace to break last season’s record of 12.53 million skier visits, with 6.74 percent more in the first part of the season than the same period last year, the industry reported Tuesday.The resorts had nearly 3.3 million skier visits from October through December 2006, up 207,533 from the same period in 2005.A skier visit is one skier or snowboarder purchasing and using a lift ticket.Colorado resorts have benefited from a lack of snow in the East, but their Western competitors have had plenty.”This record first period puts us on a pretty good pace for the rest of the year,” said Molly Cuffe, spokeswoman for Colorado Ski Country USA, an industry group.The state’s high-dollar destination resorts, including Aspen, Steamboat Springs, Telluride and Crested Butte, have had an even bigger increase in skier visits, 11.9 percent over the same period of 2005. Those resorts are farther from Denver’s airport and attract higher-spending visitors.Front Range destination resorts, including Vail, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain Keystone and Winter Park, were up 3.57 percent.Destination resorts usually attract visitors for overnight stays. The Front Range resorts are closer to Denver and the state’s other population centers.The state’s smaller resorts were up 10.74 percent.”We achieved some great results under some fairly challenging weather circumstances during the critical holiday season,” said Rob Perlman, president and CEO of Colorado Ski Country.He noted the increase was recorded despite the storms that closed Denver International Airport for 48 hours during the peak holiday season.

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