Season builds momentum after record holiday

State down nine percent compared to last year’s record early season

Denver, CO – January 12, 2004…Today Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) released the first of three reports tabulating skier visits for the state of Colorado. From the start of the season, Oct. 28 through Dec. 31, 2003, total skier visits were 2,671,532 announced Rob Perlman, President and CEO of CSCUSA.

First period skier visits are approximately nine percent lower than the same period last season. “Although we have not quite achieved the early season numbers of last year, which was a record for visits as well as snowfall, several trends make us optimistic about the remainder of the season,” said Perlman. “Colorado is coming off one of the strongest holiday seasons on record and is still reaping the benefits of recent storms that dropped over 14 feet of snowfall, providing us with the best snow conditions of the season, and energizing in-state and out-of-state skiers and riders alike.”

“Two bright spots are that we’re ahead of our five-year average of early season skier visits and we’ve seen a boost in destination visitation during the first period,” said Perlman. “Typically, the first period is fueled by Front Range visitors and this season we have seen a bit of a shift. The Front Range waited for the ideal conditions that we have now. We still have the majority of our season ahead of us, so the industry is optimistic about the overall potential for the 2003-04 season.”

The Colorado ski industry represents a significant portion of Colorado tourism, which is the second largest industry in the state behind manufacturing. Last season Colorado’s resorts contributed approximately 11.6 million skier visits, representing 20 percent of the nation’s 57.6 million skier visits.

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.

Compared to last season, total skier visits were 2,671,532 (or a 9.2 % decrease). In the three categories, which were slightly changed by CSCUSA this year*, Destination resorts hosted 779,107 skier visits (or a 2.19 percent decrease), Front Range Destination resorts hosted 1,572,818 skier visits (or a 11.07 percent decrease), while Gems/Front Range resorts hosted 319,607 skier visits (or a 15.33 percent decrease).