Snow isn’t the only thing that’s falling at ski areas

Brief by Central Staff

Recreation – November 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

It’s time to start thinking about snow — especially if you’re in charge of marketing for a Colorado ski resort.

The lack of early-season snow was one reason cited for the 5.29% decline in Colorado skier numbers in 1998-99 from the 1997-98 season. Skier-day totals at Colorado resorts fell from 11,979,719 to 11,346,264 — a drop of 633,455.

Recent trends don’t point to industry growth, even with early snowfall.

The number of statewide skier-days has been essentially stable for the past five seasons: 11.16 million in 1993-94, 11.10 million in 94-95, 11.88 million in 95-96, 11.98 million in 96-97, and 11.35 million last year.

But in that five-season span, Crested Butte dropped from 530,088 to 462,478. Ski Cooper fell from 67,193 to 62,145, and Monarch from 158,148 to 140,000.

Wolf Creek was an exception to the trend, rising from 140,456 to 202,053.

Meanwhile Vail, which fell from 1,527,698 to 1,334,934, is proceeding with its expansion.

Where will the new Vail skiers come from? Other Colorado resorts, perhaps? And what becomes of them?