The 22 member resorts of Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) reported a slight bump in skier visitation for the first portion of the 2009-10 winter season over the same period of the year prior. CSCUSA resorts collectively posted an increase of 1% for the first period defined by the season's opening day of Oct. 7, 2009, through Dec. 31, 2009.

Late fall and early winter storms brought enough snow to Colorado that some resorts were able to open ahead of schedule and have the majority of their terrain available for holiday guests. Healthy snow conditions in the southwest and central parts of Colorado helped drive visitation to those resorts, while drier conditions in the northern part of the state in December limited first period visitation to some degree.

Group business around New Year’s Week and robust international visitation in parts of the state also helped boost skier visit numbers. Ski schools were jam-packed, an indicator that skiers and riders are spending a bit more this year.

“We are seeing some positive signs this year but are not breaking out the bubbly just yet,” said Melanie Mills, president & CEO of Colorado Ski Country USA. “Travelers are booking their trips very close to the time they plan to travel, so it's hard to predict our future.”

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.