The Colorado ski industry experienced a slight uptick in skier visits despite what an industry leader described as a “strange” snow season. The state’s ski resorts tallied 11.86 million skier visits, a 0.8 percent increase over the previous season, according to data released Thursday.
Overall, the state got 26 percent less snow than it did during the 2008-09 season, according to Colorado Ski Country USA, a trade group representing 22 Colorado ski resorts. But a series of spring storms brought back excellent skiing conditions late in the season, which helped attract in-state visitors to Front Range resorts. Skier visits nationwide rose 4.2 percent, with the Rocky Mountain region gaining 3.4 percent.
CSCUSA member resorts reported 6.74 million skier visits, a 0.4 percent increase over the previous season. The trade group announced the results during its annual meeting in Denver on Thursday.
Separately, Broomfield-based Vail Resorts on Wednesday reported a 1.2 percent increase in visits to its four Colorado resorts and a 10.7 percent jump at its Heavenly resort in California for a total of 6 million visits during the nine months that ended April 30. Vail Resorts withdrew from Colorado Ski Country USA in 2008, but its numbers are included in the statewide totals.
International and out-of-state visitors contributed strongly to Colorado’s numbers by staying at Colorado destination resorts. Telluride reported an 8.2 percent increase in visits this past season, partly by drawing tourists from Australia and South America. Aspen Skiing Co. said visits to its four mountains rose 4.3 percent over last season thanks to “a late surge” of visitors in late March and April.