Trade group: Like early snowfalls, ski business lags

Melanie Mills
Melanie Mills

Colorado ski resorts reported decreased businesses that corresponded with lower snowfalls during the early portion of the season.

Colorado Ski Country USA reported skier visits at its 23-member resorts were down 13 percent between October and December compared to the same span in 2016. One skier visit represents a person participating in skiing or snowboarding for any part of one day.

There’s still time, though, for business to improve, said Melanie Mills, president and chief executive officer of the trade association. “There is still plenty of ski season ahead of us, including the traditionally snowy months of February and March,” Mills said. “We know skiers and riders are ready to enjoy powder days and additional terrain, and our resorts are ready to meet that pent-up demand.”

The first period of the ski season ran from opening day Oct. 13 through Dec. 31.

Colorado ski resorts experienced prolonged warm weather in November and December that contributed to reduced snowfall. “There was a promising start to the season in October when most ski areas received double-digit snowfall, and Colorado opened for the season ahead of last year,” Mills said. “Unfortunately, the weather stopped cooperating, and the warm temperatures in November and December kept many skiers and riders from visiting the high country.”

Crews worked to make snow and open as much terrain as possible in November and December. Natural snowfall in January has enabled resorts to open additional terrain, she said.

Forecasts call for more snow through January followed by what are historically the snowiest months in Colorado, Mills said.