Denver, CO – Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) reported yesterday 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 year’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.
The surge in visitation numbers can be attributed in part to excellent winter conditions in Colorado and pent-up skier demand fueled by El Niño buzz. “Before ski season even started there was a lot of talk about this being a ‘Godzilla El Niño’ 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.”
Several 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,” commented Mills. “Even a couple very cold days between Christmas and New Year’s didn’t keep folks from taking advantage of the powder conditions.”
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.
The numbers released on Tuesday do not include four of Colorado’s busiest resorts — Vail Mountain, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Breckenridge — as those four Vail Resorts-owned mountains no longer belong to CSCUSA.