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Aspen's Season: Good News and Bad

Aspen's Season: Good News and Bad

[ December 2, 2009 - 3:55pm ]
Ajax Tavern
Aspen-Snowmass has resurfaced after a six-year improvement session, but economic uncertainty still lingers

More flights, more beds, a spruced up Little Nell and an El Niño winter just cranking up—sounds like the perfect setup for a strong winter at Aspen-Snowmass. But according to the Aspen Times, Aspen Skiing Company officials are less than optimistic that those elements will add up to a big bottom line. It seems a lot of skiers are staying closer to home, eschewing those resorts deeper in ski country (Big Sky, Aspen) for what one travel-industry analyst calls the "one-tank" resorts: those places within a "reasonable drive" radius of a major metropolis (Park City, Breckenridge). Factors in Aspen's favor are its exposure—over 110 million people watched some part the X Games or World Cup races Aspen's mountains hosted last year—and its brand. Who hasn't heard of Aspen? And the resort is pushing a series of special discounts this year to attract families (kids ski free in March if their parents buy four days of passes and five nights of lodging), second-home owners and other frequent visitors (Escape Passes offer eight days' skiing for $299, with subsequent days only $49) and a mix of lift and lodging bonuses for folks using the Perfect Storm program. But executives fear the best they'll get this year is a match of last year's numbers, which were down significantly from the solid, pre-meltdown totals the industry had been enjoying.

Ajax Tavern