Aspen/Snowmass ski area visits were up 19.3 percent for the 2018-19 season, which set a new record for local skier visits, alongside a 13 percent increase and record in all Colorado Ski Country USA area visits.
The announcement of the state increase was made at CSCUSA’s annual meeting in Denver, according to a press release. The data is based on the 23 ski resorts that are members, including for four ski areas run by Aspen Skiing Co. According to the release, this is a new statewide record in increases, nearly 12 percent above the five-year average, and CSCUSA is projecting a new statewide record for skier visits of 13.8 million.
“The 2018-19 season was one for the history books,” Colorado Ski Country USA President and CEO Melanie Mills said in the release. “Not only did the industry set a new statewide record for skier visits, but there were substantial investments in capital improvements across our member resorts and snowfall was plentiful across the entire state.”
Last winter also set the skier visits record for the Aspen/Snowmass ski area, Jeff Hanle, SkiCo’s vice president of communications, said in a text message. This was the first year for the Ikon Pass, which offered skiing at dozens of destinations around the country including Aspen. Neither SkiCo or Alterra Mountain Co., which owns the Ikon Pass, have released detailed information regarding the use of the product for Aspen skiing, but locals have said that they experienced larger crowds last season alongside the pass’s addition. Next year, Ikon benefits will be added to Premier Adult, Chamber, Senior and Parent passes for the 2019-20 season, meaning local passholders will get free skiing at other Ikon Pass resorts.
SkiCo officials noted during the season that local pass use was up 40 percent and that Ikon Pass use amounted to around 9 percent of skier days, although that number was higher on some weekends.
Significant snowfall this winter was likely the contributing factor to the increase, according to the release, alongside resort investment such as the new Limelight Hotel in Snowmass as well as six new chairlifts across the state.
“Colorado Ski Country member ski areas have shown a commitment to improving and enhancing the guest experience with new lifts, new restaurants, new lodging properties and new activities and offerings,” continued Mills in the release. “Combined with a long, strong season and geographically diverse snowfall, our members were able to deliver a record-setting year.”
The effects of the strong winter were felt here in Aspen, with early openings and late closings of both Aspen Mountain and Aspen Highlands. Aspen Mountain continues into the late spring with additional skiing this weekend. According to the release, late February and March featured record or near record snow totals, and May was the snowiest May in two decades.
“It was a record year,” Hanle said. “Long season. Great snow. Strong local pass use and destination business.”