Despite a nationwide decline in skier visits and a funky weather pattern in the West, Colorado ski towns posted record sales tax revenue during the 2014-2015, the Denver Post reported on Tuesday. We already knew that Telluride Ski Resort had a record-breaking year, with more skier visits and higher profits despite a meager snowpack. But in seven of Colorado's most popular ski towns- Steamboat Springs, Aspen, Vail, Breckenridge, Winter Park, Crested Butte and Telluride- each saw sales tax records in every month of the 2014-2015 ski season.
Stories on Vail Resorts:
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The record-breaking year surpasses the pre-recession numbers set in the 2007-2008 winter, a milestone for ski areas who struggled to bounce back after the economy tightened.
Numbers on the total Colorado skier visits aren't available yet, but nationally skier visits fell this pas season to 53.6 million, marking the second worst season in 16 years for visits. But despite these figures, the skiers who do hit the mountain spent big.
Tom Foley, operations director with Denver-based DestiMetrics, told the Denver Post that "Winter this year was an all-time record from a (lodging) revenue point of view and a rate point of view." Winter lodging revenue was up 4.6 percent.
So what's the cause of Colorado's boom?
· Even as lodging occupancy is still slightly down from the high numbers set in 2007-2008, climbing room rates mean that resorts are bringing in more money.
· Consumer confidence is up and people are more willing to spend, causing many to book holidays months in advance.
· Colorado also drew tourists from other snow-starved states like California, Oregon, and Washington. Even Utah's warm temperatures caused many to head to Colorful Colorado looking for snow.
· And while none of the reports are mentioning it, it's also likely that marijuana tourism is playing at least some role in drawing skiers and snowboarders to Colorado.
Imagine what will happen next year if Colorado sees an above average snow season!
· Telluride Ski Resort Breaks Records, But Not the Snow Kind [Curbed Ski]
· Precipitation in May Set an All-Time U.S. Record [Curbed Ski]
· Chris Davenport Just Skied the 100 Highest Peaks in Colorado [Curbed Ski]
· Which Ski Resort Has The Most Skiing in North America? [Curbed Ski]