CRESTED BUTTE, CO – June 12, 2008 – Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) announced today at its 45th Annual Meeting and Forum, that Colorado's 26 resorts hosted an estimated 12,535,913 skier visits during the 2007-08 ski season. This is the third consecutive season that skier visits have topped more than 12 and a half million and will now rank as the second best season for skier visits on record.
"We are thrilled with this season's numbers. Our goal was to sustain the momentum from the past two record setting seasons and reach at least 12 million skier visits," explains Rob Perlman, president and CEO of Colorado Ski Country USA. "The fact that Colorado Ski Country achieved more than 12 and a half million skier visits in a year that had its share of distractions says great things about the Colorado brand, the dedication of our guests and the caliber of our member resorts."
On a national level, the industry saw strong growth in numbers with Colorado making up roughly 20 percent of the overall market share, down slightly from last year's 23 percent market share. This represents a decrease of approximately 30,386 skier visits compared to last year's record setting season. Colorado's skier visits record was set last season with 12,566,299 million skier visits and the now third place record was set during the 2005-06 season with 12,533,108 skier visits.
One challenge Colorado Ski Country overcame during the 2007-08 season was a very dry and slow start to winter snowfall. "After some resorts postponed their opening day, Mother Nature kicked into high gear and it snowed almost nonstop during the entire month of December," Perlman continued. "Getting the word out about Colorado's abundant snow helped generate business during peak season times like the holidays and spring break."
Abundant snow fell across the nation this winter and Colorado resorts were no exception. Eight Colorado resorts broke season snowfall records and multiple Colorado resorts broke monthly snowfall records. Colorado also had the longest ski season in the U.S., 245 days, with great snow up to closing day June 8th.
International visitation set a record this ski season in Colorado with an increase of 21 percent over last year. International guests came to Colorado and generally visited more than one resort, stayed for a longer time than their domestic counterparts and spent more broadly than in past seasons.
CSCUSA's GEMS and destination resorts reported record numbers of skier visits this season. Colorado's GEMS were up more than seven percent over last year, while destination resorts topped their previous record from last year by more than one percent.
"Setting our third best record is great news for the state's ski industry," stated Perlman. "And we succeeded with the support of the Colorado Tourism Office, Denver International Airport, and Denver Metro Convention Visitors Bureau."
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. Skier visits from previous years can be found at www.media-coloradoski.com in the Media Center.
Colorado Ski Country USA is the not-for-profit trade association representing Colorado's 26 ski & snowboard resorts. Information about the organization and its members can be found at www.coloradoski.com.