Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) reported that total skier visits at its 21 member resorts were up 10 percent during the first period of the 2015/16 ski season (defined as Opening Day, October 29, 2015, through December 31, 2015), compared to the same period last year.
This season’s first-period skier visits also bested the first-period five-year average by 13 percent, making it the third consecutive year early season visitation has been up over the five-year average.
Skier visits are the metric used to track participation in skiing and snowboarding, representing “a person participating in the sport of skiing or snowboarding for any part of one day at a mountain resort.”
The surge in visitation numbers is being attributed in part to excellent winter conditions in Colorado as well as pent-up skier demand fueled by the El Nino buzz.
“…many skiers and snowboarders, particularly our savvy in-state riders, took advantage of some of the best early season conditions…” -Melanie Mills, president and CEO of CSCUSA
“Before ski season even started there was a lot of talk about this being a Godzilla El Nino year and what that would look like for Colorado,” said Melanie Mills, president and CEO of CSCUSA. “As resorts opened and ski season got underway, many skiers and snowboarders, particularly our savvy in-state riders, took advantage of some of the best early season conditions we’ve had in recent memory.”
Snowstorms brought abundant snow to Colorado resorts in November and December, driving bookings and allowing resorts to open ample terrain during the busy holiday period. “Thanks to some well-timed storms, resorts were able to offer amazing conditions during the holidays and many resorts reached the 100-inch milestone before the end of the year,” said Mills. “Even a couple very cold days between Christmas and New Year’s didn’t keep folks from taking advantage of the powder conditions.”
January and February event calendars at CSCUSA resorts are packed with family activities, international competitions, and January Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month promotions. “CSCUSA is nicely positioned for mid-season business as resorts prepare to host events and welcome visitors for popular ski weekends over the Martin Luther King and President’s Day holidays,” continued Mills.
January is also National Ski Safety Month in Colorado and skiers and snowboarders are encouraged to know and follow “Your Responsibility Code,” widely regarded as the key to skier and snowboarder safety on the slopes. Referred to as “The Code,” it is comprised of seven principles that collectively outline on-mountain skier etiquette and safe skiing practices.
At press time, the southern Rockies were still benefiting from El Nino storm conditions while high pressure and cold temps prevailed in the northern Colorado Rockies.
–Photos courtesy Colorado Ski Country USA