Early snow boosts skier visits | SummitDaily.com

Early snow boosts skier visits

Credit the snow.

Thanks to a strong showing of snow in the early season, Colorado’s resorts posted a 10 percent increase in visitation through Dec. 31 over the same period in 2009.

The 22 member resorts of Colorado Ski Country reported the 10 percent increase in skier visits on Wednesday, pointing to the early-season snow that allowed resorts to open more terrain earlier than usual.

Last week, Vail Resorts reported that visitation to its stable of six ski areas – including Colorado’s heavily trafficked Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone – climbed 10.1 percent through Jan. 6.

Aspen Skiing Co.’s four ski areas – Aspen, Snowmass, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk – saw a 7 percent increase in visits through Dec. 31. Last season, the company reported a 4 percent increase in visitation.

And with storms continuing to pummel the mountains, the 2010-11 ski season promises to pull the state’s $4 billion ski industry out of a recession-dinged downturn.

“If we can keep this pace up, we will be getting very, very close to those pre-recession levels,” said Aspen Skiing spokesman Jeff Hanle. “We are making good steps and looking ahead for the rest of the season to look like we are getting back to the glory days.”

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