Telluride Visits Up For Season

Prospect Bowl nearly doubles the size of the mountain and gives season a boost

TELLURIDE, Colo. (May 15, 2002)- The Telluride Ski & Golf Company (Telski) posted a total of 341,370 skier visits for the 2001-2002 season, a 2 percent increase over the 2000-2001 season. A skier visit represents one person skiing or snowboarding at the ski area for all or part of one day. Telski officials attribute the rise in skier days to the grand opening of Prospect Bowl, 733 acres of new terrain that nearly doubles the size of the mountain, improved air service, and the launch of an innovative branding/advertising campaign.

“Needless to say, every business nationwide got hit by 9/11 and a soft economy. In Telluride we were also affected by lower than average snow, a delayed opening and an early April closing date,” said Johnnie Stevens, chief operating officer for Telski. “However, people resumed travel and we were very fortunate to beat last year’s skier visits. The opening of Prospect Bowl which nearly doubled the size of our ski area had an extremely positive impact on our numbers.”

Since its Dec. 20 opening, Prospect Bowl has received rave reviews from guests, industry veterans and locals alike. Bucking industry trends, Telluride infused $14 million in capital expenditures to create one of the most memorable and unique experiences in all of ski country. Three new Doppelmayr high-speed detachable quad lifts carry skiers and riders into a diversity of terrain ideal for skiers and riders of all ability levels. The addition of Prospect Bowl transforms Telluride into a weeklong destination.

“We celebrated the beginning of a new era with the opening of Prospect Bowl in December,” Stevens said. “It is an indescribable feeling to reach a goal 30 years in the making. The additional terrain transforms Telluride into a new mountain and sets the stage for Telluride to become one of the premier winter destinations in North America.”

Jet service into the area increased 58 percent with the addition of American Airlines’ new non-stop service from Chicago to Montrose, Colo. This gave Telluride air access from a total of six cities on four major carriers, including American from Dallas; Continental from Newark and Houston; United from Denver; and America West from Phoenix.

The new advertising campaign highlights the fairytale aspects of Telluride– a quaint and charming town nestled at the end of a picturesque box canyon. Moving away from traditional ski advertising that depicts beauty shots with powder flying, Telluride’s unconventional campaign utilizes make-believe characters to highlight the independent spirit of this unpretentious and authentic town. The ads encourage people to step away from the realities of every day life and experience “Telluride, the land where people come to play.”

“When it comes to positioning our brand, Telluride is a ‘challenger’ brand, meaning we will always be scrapping with the big boys in our industry,” said Gregg Bagni, marketing consultant for Telski. “Our advertising has to break out of the clutter and we don’t mind being a bit controversial to get our consumers’ attention. Most people love our ads, some don’t, but the bottom line is people discuss them on a consumer and a trade level. That’s a good thing.”

On Dec. 30, Telluride set a single day skier visit record followed by the busiest President’s Day Weekend in the resort’s history. Telluride came close to setting another single day record on March 30 when more than 6,000 “Cheese heads” turned out for the on-mountain String Cheese Incident concert.

The strength of the ski season was felt community-wide. “Occupancy levels increased as much as 25 percent during the ski season and the majority of restaurants and retail shops experienced their best season in years,” said Dawn Ibis, executive director for Telluride & Mountain Village Visitor Services (TMVS). “With such a positive impact in its first year, Prospect Bowl has positioned Tellluride for success in years to come.”

For more information, call the Communications Department at 970-728-7409.