Breckenridge Ski Area had a banner year in 2010-2011

Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) announced during its 48th Annual Meeting last week that its 22 member resorts hosted an estimated 6.9 million skier visits during the 2010-11 ski season. This represents an increase of 2.6 percent, or approximately 179,371 skier visits, compared to last season’s final numbers. “It’s gratifying to see skier visits where they are this year,” commented Melanie Mills, president and CEO of Colorado Ski Country USA. “We’re reporting a very solid season in Colorado and visits are up for the second year in a row, which tells us that the ski industry here is healthy and moving in the right direction.”

CSCUSA’s membership saw an increase in visitation from in-state and international visitors. Domestic destination skiers saw good snowfall in all parts of the U.S. this season, so those visit numbers were down slightly.

CSCUSA’s numbers don’t include the four in-state ski areas — Vail Mountain, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Breckenridge — operated by Vail Resorts, which withdrew from membership in CSCUSA in 2007. These four resorts are among the state’s most popular. It is believed that Colorado statewide skier visits eclipsed the 12 million threshold, which would be only the fourth time skier visits have reached this mark. CSCUSA estimated that statewide skier visits broke the 12 million mark by assuming that visits to these four non-CSCUSA member resorts in Colorado were up by at least the percentage increase at CSCUSA resorts, which would bring statewide total skier visits for the 2010-11 season to 12.18 million or more. However, on Thursday Vail Resorts released financial results that showed skier visits at its Colorado resort held relatively flat for the three months ending April 30.

Most resorts saw above average amounts of snowfall during this La Nina season, in some cases resulting in earlier than planned terrain openings, and in some resorts extending their seasons. “At Thanksgiving, Colorado resorts had a great deal more terrain open for skiing and riding than they typically do at that point in the season,” commented Mills. “As the season went on, some parts of the state reported more robust snowfall amounts than others, with some resorts reporting higher base amounts at the end of the season than they had in January.”

A strong start to the season, including abundant early season snow, pushed early season skier visits up by 10 percent compared to the same period the prior year. Conditions during the holidays were colder and snowier than average.

“Unusually cold temperatures on key ski weekends, and certain travel challenges that included road closures, caused visitation to slip a bit in the middle of the season, but by the end of February we were able to maintain our strongest season-to-date of the last three years,” explained Mills. Wintery conditions prevailed through spring resulting in a season that is still going strong in June. “All numbers reported are preliminary estimates as the season is still happening. Two resorts have remained open on weekends as conditions permit, Arapahoe Basin and Aspen Mountain, and continue to add to this season’s positive numbers.”

Aspen Mountain, in fact, opted to end their season on June 6.

On a national level, skier visits overall are up less than one percent with the Rocky Mountain region seeing an increase of 1.7 percent. Skier visits are the metric used to track participation in skiing and snowboarding. A skier visit represents a person participating in the sport of skiing or snowboarding for any part of one day at a mountain resort.

By First Tracks!! Online Media

Aspen’s chief building official Stephen Kanipe recently spent a week in Dallas helping to craft a new green construction code for commercial buildings.

Kanipe sat on a panel of 12 that reviewed upwards of 1,400 changes to the first draft of the International Green Construction Code. The hearings took place May 14-21 in Dallas. Kanipe has been working with the International Code Council on green building codes for about two years.

The hearings were characterized by 13-hour days where proponents or opponents of changes to every section of the code that was up for review could make their arguments. The hall at the Sheraton Hotel also was packed with lobbyists from the construction industry and manufacturers, Kanipe said. At the end of the week, the committee had produced a new section of its commercial building code that will be up for final adoption at a meeting in Phoenix later this fall.

“The committee does the best it can to determine if the changes are awkward or forward the intent and purpose” of the green building code, Kanipe said, adding that various groups — be they builders, administrators or materials suppliers — have differing opinions on the changes.

The International Green Construction code would be applied to all buildings — except duplexes and single-family homes — in jurisdictions that adopt it. It is intended to manage how energy is delivered to a site, how a building uses water and how it’s situated toward the sun, among other elements, Kanipe said.

The International Code Committee paid for the trip, although Kanipe spent many hours of his time at work preparing for the meeting, he said. City officials granted him authority to do so because they feel it’s important for Aspen to stake out a leadership position on green building issues, Kanipe said. At the conference, he joined colleagues from building departments in Austin and Seattle, among other green conscious cities.


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