DENVER, Colo. January 19, 2017 Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) announced today that while total skier visits at its 22 member resorts were down single digits compared to last years first period visit numbers, they are up 3 percent over the five-year average. The first period skier visits cover Opening Day October 21, 2016 through December 31, 2016.
The numbers are strong considering the unseasonably warm fall that contributed to a drier than expected start to the season delaying some ski area openings. Last seasons first period numbers, which this season is compared to, benefited from extraordinary Godzilla El Nino early season snow conditions.
The warm fall kept Coloradans minds on summer activities and many Colorado based skiers and riders from heading up to the high country until December, said Melanie Mills, Colorado Ski Country USA President & CEO.
Despite the late start, Mother Nature arrived in force in December, dropping abundant snowfall throughout the end of 2016 and into the beginning of 2017, allowing ski areas to open significant terrain and guests to enjoy deep snow totals and excellent conditions during the busy holiday season. Several ski areas experienced all-time single day records during the week between Christmas and New Years Eve.
The substantial snow totals heading into the holiday season created excellent conditions for in-state and out-of-state guests, which drove holiday visits up significantly, added Mills.
The continued snowfall, which has the statewide snowpack at 54 percent above average, and a busy event calendar across the state is creating excitement and optimisms for the rest of the 2016-17 season. Highlights include: Learn to Ski and Ride Month and National Safety Month throughout the rest of January, the return of the Winter Park Express, which runs Saturdays, Sundays and Presidents Day through March, and the FIS World Cup Finals at Aspen Snowmass March 15-19.
Colorado Ski Country USA member ski areas are well positioned for a strong season with continued snowfall, packed calendars and the traditionally snowier months still to come, continued Mills.
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.