Colorado ski areas hope for rebound from last winter


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DENVER -- A disappointing snow year in much of Colorado ski country last season has the state's resorts and hotels hoping that snowboarders and skiers will burn off some pent-up demand for deep snow this winter.

"Skiers and riders, it isn't just something they do. It's who they are," said David Perry, senior vice president of the mountain division of Aspen Skiing Co., which benefited from more snow than some other Colorado resorts last year. "They will come back if the weather is halfway normal."

Hotels and resorts are offering discounts and value-oriented deals for those willing to commit early to a Colorado ski trip.

The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa at Beaver Creek Mountain is allowing people to cancel reservations for stays before mid-December without penalty if Beaver Creek reports a base of less than 19 inches (about a half-meter) on the day before arrival.

The Gant hotel in Aspen reports a 17 percent increase from last year in revenue from its Countdown to Winter promotion, which offers the biggest discounts to those who book lodging early. "We were initially concerned because we've had strong international business in Aspen, particularly from Australia because the exchange rate was favorable last year. The exchange rate is flat right now," said general manager Donnie Lee. "But our group bookings and domestic bookings are strong."

There were an estimated 11 million skier visits to Colorado resorts last year, down almost 10 percent from the previous season, according to Vail Resorts and the trade group Colorado Ski Country USA. Industry officials blamed one of the driest winters on record.

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First Published November 14, 2012 5:00 AM


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