Visits increase 7.65% over this time last year

The momentum created in the early season continues

DENVER, COLO., March 14, 2003 — Colorado Ski Country USA reports 7,752,661 million ski and snowboard visits through February 28, 2003, a 7.65 percent increase in skier visits, compared to last year, it was announced today by Rob Perlman, President and CEO of Colorado Ski Country USA.

Skier visits are the metric used to track participation in skiing and snowboarding, a significant portion of Colorado tourism, which is the second largest industry in the state behind manufacturing. A skier visit represents a person participating in the sport of skiing or snowboarding for any part of one day at a mountain resort. Colorado Ski Country USA is the trade association representing the largest ski state in the U.S. with its 24 member resorts contributing approximately 11.5 million skier visits or more than 20 percent to the nation’s 50+ million skier visits each year.

The ski industry in Colorado saw a strong early season (2,912,801 skier visits through December 31, 2002) with its best first period results in more than five years thanks to above average snowfall throughout the state. Despite a fairly dry January, the evolving geopolitical situation and a variety of national events, visitation has continued to be relatively strong through February. Late February and early March have seen tremendous snowfall in Colorado helping to continue the energy through the remainder of the season. For the second of three measurement periods, January and February 2003, Colorado saw 4,810,106 visits, an increase of 1.71 percent over last season.

“Looking forward, March is traditionally our busiest month and sees the best snowfall of the year. We kicked it off with over 100″ of snow in February and early March. An important part of our season is still ahead of us, the traditional Spring Break time period, that will ultimately determine how the strong the season end totals will be,” said Perlman.

“March and April are ideal times to travel to Colorado,” Perlman continued. “We have great snow right now, there are incredible airline and lodging deals to our resorts and plenty of spring events. Thanks to the recent infusion of state tourism dollars, we are working collaboratively to get that message into the marketplace in a big way. There really is no better place to celebrate spring than right here.”

Skier visits are tracked in three groupings: Destination resorts*, Front Range destination resorts** and Front Range resorts***. Compared to this time last season, year-to-date figures show destination resorts hosted 2,510,795 skier visits (or a 7.35 percent increase), Front Range destination resorts hosted 4,817,411 skier visits (or a 6.89 percent increase). While Front Range hosted 424,455 skier visits (or a 19.35 percent increase).

*Destination Resorts: Aspen Highlands, Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk, Crested Butte, Durango Mountain Resort, Howelsen Hill, Monarch, Powderhorn, Silverton, Snowmass, Steamboat, Sunlight, and Telluride

**Front Range Destination Resorts: Arapahoe Basin, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Copper, Keystone, SolVista, Vail and Winter Park

***Front Range Resorts: Eldora, Loveland and Ski Cooper

Colorado Ski Country USA is the non-profit trade association representing Colorado’s 24 ski & snowboard resorts. # # #