This season, several ski resorts have made improvements or additions to attract Colorado residents and increase out-of-state visitor numbers.
The plans come after a very successful 2016-17 season, where Colorado Ski Country USA-affiliated resorts saw 7.3 million visits between its then 22 resorts. The state trade association has since added its 23rd member, Echo Mountain.
This was Colorado’s second-best season on record for CSCUSA members, up 6 percent over a five-year average. According to Chris Linsmayer, public affairs director for CSCUSA, the past five years have been some of the best the resorts have seen.
But they aren’t resting on last year’s successes. That was the message when ski resort representatives travelled to Colorado Springs to share updates for the 2017-18 season at a media dinner Oct. 25. The event was hosted by CSCUSA.
Attractions such as mountain rollercoasters, the 2018 Winter Olympics qualifiers, new ski terrain and new lifts should bring more visitors to Colorado ski areas, according to Taylor Prather, public relations manager for Copper Mountain.
Copper Mountain is one of several resorts planning to open a year-round mountain rollercoaster. The resort will also feature Olympic qualifiers for the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.
The Toyota U.S. Grand Prix Olympic qualifiers will take place at Copper Mountain in December and Snowmass in January.
“[The Olympic qualifiers] draw a lot of eyes to the state, which we love,” Linsmayer said. “[And] because of Colorado’s elevation, we do get the best snow — it’s why people come back.”
Mountain coasters, new stores and events also provide visitors the opportunity to have the “snow experience” without skiing or riding, Prather said.
Arapahoe Basin Ski & Snowboard Area, CSCUSA’s first resort to kick off the 2017-18 ski season, plans to increase its terrain in the next two years with 468 new skiable acres. The resort will also install a four-person lift in summer 2018.
Other improvements include Eldora Mountain Resort, which invested $11 million over the last two years in improvements, including a new $6 million six-person chairlift, according to Sam Bass, marketing director for the resort.
Bass said the goal is to bring more visitors to Eldora throughout the week, as opposed to just the weekend when the ski area is most popular.
More highlights this season include mountain coasters planned for Steamboat, Purgatory and Aspen Snowmass, as well as the 50th anniversary of Snowmass, Loveland Ski Area’s 80th anniversary and Cooper’s 75th anniversary.
More information can be found on coloradoski.com.