Strong Early Ski Season from Quebec to Colorado


Tully, NY, Jan. 23, 2001--(SAM Magazine) New York ski areas reported record business for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, citing the best conditions in years, moderate temperatures and pent up demand as contributors. Early reports from resorts show year-to-date business increases ranging from 25 percent to 95 percent. And that's on top of a net increase in business last season of 4 percent. Though anecdotal evidence shows increases in other regions for the long weekend, hard numbers were not immediately available. Reports on business up to and including the New Year's holiday period, however, paint a bright picture as compared to the last two seasons at ski and snowboard areas across the continent.

A storm during the first weekend of the year dropped up to two feet of snow on some slopes in New England. In New Hampshire resorts reported business was better than it had been with a stronger than usual New Year's Day because of snow from the storm on both Saturday and Sunday.

"We're tracking well ahead of last year," said Alice Pearce, executive director of Ski New Hampshire, "but I almost feel foolish saying that because last year we had such a slow start." She noted that member resorts were reporting visits for the holiday period up between 25 and 30 percent for some member resorts.Ski Maine Executive Director Greg Sweetser said, "Everyone is certainly smiling in all of New England and certainly in the State of Maine. . . . Everybody had a great week and the community ski areas had an outstanding week." In Vermont, reports echoed that assertion as resorts reported visits well ahead of the same time period for last year. Farther south, in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, ski resorts also reported strong numbers.

Ontario and Quebec ski resorts were helped by the cold early season temperatures and some late snow. Martine Lizotte, communications manager for the Quebec Ski Areas Association, said member resorts were reporting visits were up for the holiday week between 10 and 100 percent over last year's Christmas and New Year's periods. The Eastern Townships resorts, which were especially hard hit with warm weather early last season, were reporting the best numbers. Lizotte noted the figures were certainly being helped by the fact that both the cities of Quebec and Montreal were seeing plenty of snow.

In the Midwest, resorts have been reporting increases in holiday-period business ranging between 15 and 150 percent over last year, with areas in the southern section of the region benefiting the most from cold temperatures and some early snow.

The reports were similar farther to the west, with Utah and Colorado resorts also indicating strong traffic during the week between Christmas and the New Year's holiday adding to an already strong November and December. Anecdotal evidence out of Utah points to significant increases and recently released figures from Colorado Ski Country show a 29 percent increase in skier visits during the holiday period of a 7 percent increase over the state's five-year average.