Boulder, CO, Mar. 2--The game of catch-up finally ended in the West over the President's Day weekend with a big boost from huge snowfalls and record holiday numbers. Resorts from Colorado, Wyoming and California all reported record or near-record numbers that helped elevate otherwise falling skier attendance.
"We had a great weekend compared to last season for the four day period Feb. 18-21," said Anna Olson, public relations director for Jackson Hole, WY. "Our attendance was up over 2,000 skier days. Saturday was our biggest day of the season so far." Olson added that each day of the weekend had a higher yield than last year.
In Colorado, skiers and snowboarders enjoyed typical bluebird Colorado skies and great snow conditions thanks to some major dumps during February. "All of our resorts received over three feet of snow in the couple of weeks leading up to the weekend," said Paul Witt, communications director for Vail Resorts which own Keystone, Breckenridge, Vail, and Beaver Creek.
Both parking lots at Vail were full and cars were parked on Frontage Road during the busy three-day weekend. The Eagle county sheriff's office estimated that over 16,000 people were on Vail Mountain both Saturday and Sunday. The parking lots at Beaver Creek were also filled, with cars parked on Highway 6--an "almost unheard of occurrence," according to Witt.
Copper Mountain, CO said skier visits were up over last year's numbers for the holiday weekend. "We didn't set any records but it was absolutely the best weekend of the season," said Ben Friedland, Copper's public relations manager. Friedland added that all of the parking lots were full including the road out to the highway. "We started to build momentum at the end of January and we've kept it going through February. Things are looking up for us as it is for a lot of Colorado resorts."
Elsewhere in Colorado, Winter Park had its best holiday weekend in history with a nine percent skier-visit increase over last year.
In Utah, Deer Valley's communications manager, Christa Graf said, "it was a beautiful sunny weekend. We limit our ticket sales to 5,000 skiers per day and we sold out all three days." Farther west, officials at California's Sierra-at-Tahoe Ski Area reported that the holiday weekend was a record breaker. "Saturday was the busiest day in the history of our resort. We had to turn cars away everyday during the weekend," said Ben McLeod, Sierra-at-Tahoe's public relations manager. "Many records were broken. Both our ski and snowboard rental shops and our food and beverage department broke records on Saturday." McLeod added that the resort had gotten over 15 feet of snow since Feb.1.
Officials at Mammoth Mountain, CA reported that Saturday Feb. 19, was its best attendance day in 12 years. "It marked the sixth best day ever in our history," said Joanie Saari, communications manager at Mammoth. Saari added that the resort had 21,000 visitors for the weekend.
With snow continuing to fall in the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada Mountains, spring skiing is shaping up to be some of the best in recent memory. Who knows, maybe more records will fall come springtime.