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Telluride: Future Is "A Guest Economy, Not A Real Estate Economy"

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After a season that saw low snow early and a mix of busy and slow weeks, newish Telski CEO Chuck Horning wanted the ski area to come together with local businesses and government to help transition the region from one whose success relies on real estate sales to one that depends more on visitor traffic, with a particular focus on boosting occupancy rates during the quieter weeks of the year. The current average occupancy rate is sitting around 38%, and Telski wants to bring that up to 50%, which would help them fund investments like the snowmaking upgrade it's taking on this summer.

While an attempt by Telski and Crested Butte to create a stronger regional tourist economy by paying to up the number of flights into nearby Montrose Regional Airport failed due to cost, the resort is trying other tactics in the meantime, such as targeted marketing in Dallas and Houston and bring more conferences to the Telluride Conference Center. TelSki has been going through something of a transition since several upper management positions changed hands, with the departure of long-time CEO Dave Riley making the splash. Horning bought the resort in 2003 but only stepped into managing the day-to-day operations when Riley left. Telski had no other specific plans for the resort's future other than to study best practices of "top resorts."

· At end of season, Telski looks forward [Telluride Daily Planet]