Colorado ski resorts reaped the benefits of a very snowy winter in increased visitors and extended ski seasons, even using the busy season to take a stand against climate change.
The 2018-19 ski season saw a 13% increase in skier visits to the 23 resorts in Colorado Ski Country USA, the organization announced this week. It predicts a statewide record for skier visits of 13.8 million for the season.
“The early season was marked by significant resort investment with six new chairlifts whisking skiers and riders up the mountain, five new restaurants across the state, the new Limelight Hotel in Snowmass and other new activities and offerings,” read the news release.
Colorado’s February and March snowfall allowed six resorts to extend their seasons through April, including Wolf Creek, Winter Park and Monarch.
Aspen Mountain announced Monday that it will extend its season another weekend. Breckenridge just finished its closing weekend, and Arapahoe Basin remains the last Colorado ski resort with its lifts still spinning.
A-Basin announced in May it will extend its season until the weekend of June 21. Lifts will run from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. through June 23. Its longest season ended Aug. 10, 1995.
Vail Resorts also reported strong numbers. In the third quarter, Vail Resorts reported a net income of $292.1 million, compared with $256.3 million in the same period in 2018.
Colorado Ski Country promoted its support of increased climate action with the Outdoor Business Climate Partnership.
The partnership was formed in January and has gained the support of eight state ski trade associations. Ski Country’s public policy team follows what’s going on at the Capitol, said public affairs manager Chris Linsmayer, and they follow climate change policies.
“Climate change continues to be an important issue for our industry, and something CSCUSA takes very seriously,” said Linsmayer.
Ski Country’s online policy outlines its goals as climate change awareness, limiting the ski industry’s use of greenhouse gas emissions and encouraging others to follow suit.
Vail Resorts had a page in its 2019 Investors Conference packet about the “Commitment to Zero” initiative, to achieve zero net emissions and zero waste to landfills by 2030 and zero net operating impact to forests and wildlife habitat.
“We believe that the long term global affects of climate change on our beloved sports of skiing and snowboarding, and our weather dependent industry, could be significant and could change the winter recreation experience as we know it today,” reads the policy.
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