Slumping Economy Not Leaving Ski Resorts Out Cold

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

With just weeks to go before most ski resorts open for the season, many in the Grand Valley say ski fever is taking over. While the economy is sending many industries spiraling, Western Slope resorts say the ski-conomy is going strong.

Kara Obanion and her three girls say they're counting down the days until they can hit the slopes. But Saturday they spent time at the Powderhorn Ski and Snowboard Swap, on the prowl for bargains.

"I think anytime the economy is bad, it limits you on what you're doing," said Obanion. "But you have to decide what's important and what you like to do."

Ski resorts across Western Colorado say it's that attitude that's keeping them in the green -- especially during a time when many industries are tanking.

"People are still planning their vacations," said Nina Cotton, an employee of Crested Butte Mountain Resort. "I think getting away to a paradise like Crested Butte is really important to people."

"It's definitely destination," said Catherine Tolan, an employee of Telluride Ski Resort. "I think that people that can manage to get out are still going to get out, not matter what. Besides, everyone loves to ski."

For resorts like Powderhorn, it's all about convenience.

"The bad woes hurt everyone," said Do Crowe, an employee of Powderhorn Ski Resort. "But we think we're close enough, that instead of going two hours to somewhere else, you can come forty-five minutes to slide with us."

Although the cash continues to roll in as people buy their season passes and book their reservations, the $6 billion industry says it's giving skiers on all budgets some extra incentives.

"We're doing buy one, get one free airline tickets," said Cotton. "All the airlines are charging bag fees these days, so we're gonna offset those if you stay with us a few days."

Most resorts are offering special deals on preseason passes. They're also selling special discount cards that can be used throughout the season.

"It's forty-five dollars for your first day of skiing, then each additional day is twenty-five percent off the lift ticket price," said Tolan.

"It's a standing seven dollar discount, buy four get the fifth one free, and you have a free week of skiing," said Crowe.

If that wasn't enough, resorts say they've also added new rules, new lifts, and upgrades to woo skiers -- who say all the enticement is working.

"The better the deal, the more we can go skiing," said skier Patty Fabrizio.

So for now, all the resorts have to worry about is when they're going to get that snow.

For more information on deals and other special offers Western Slope ski resorts are offering, click on the links below.

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