Colorado ski resorts report strong midseason visitation numbers
On-mountain temperatures soared into the 50s on Sunday and Monday and worried some about spring break skiing and the overall fate of the winter season especially after a dry, warm weather pattern in January that persisted into February.
In those months, however, skiers and snowboarders continued to flock to Colorado resorts in even greater numbers than last season.
Colorado Ski Country USA announced Monday, March 16, that skier visits at its 21 member resorts were up by 3.7 percent during the second period of the 2014-15 season, defined as Jan. 1 through Feb. 28, compared to the same period in 2014.
“At the start of the season we set a strong pace in visitation, and that pace continued through the second period, exceeding expectations given some bouts of unseasonable weather in January,” said Melanie Mills, president and CEO of Colorado Ski Country USA. “The steady pace of skier visits speaks volumes to Colorado’s reputation for having consistent, reliable snow conditions.”
Second period visitation pushed the industry slightly ahead in season-to-date skier visit totals compared to the same point in time last year.
For the 2014-15 season to date, defined as opening day through Feb. 28, visitation at the association’s member resorts, which don’t include ski areas owned by Vail Resorts, was up by 1.9 percent compared to the same time during last year’s record-breaking season.
“One of the benefits of skiing and snowboarding in Colorado is taking advantage of beautiful sunshine, which visitors saw a lot of in January,” Mills said. “Looking ahead we’re cautiously optimistic; especially since we still have a lot of ski season left. March and April are typically very snowy months in Colorado and we’d be thrilled to see this pace continue.”
Final season visitation numbers will be announced at the association’s 52nd annual meeting in June.
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.
In Summit County, local resort officials repeatedly touted how all or nearly all of the terrain at their ski areas remain open and their guests enjoyed plentiful sunshine.
While the USDA Colorado Natural Resources Conservation Service reported statewide snowpack at 87 percent of the 30-year average as of March 1, Summit County snowpack remains slightly above average.
The four monitoring sites in the Blue River Basin recorded a snowpack Monday of 105 percent of the 30-year average for that date.
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