^Photo Credit: Elevation Outdoors
I-70 drivers are waking up this morning and saying, “Yeah. That checks out”, when they saw the news that Colorado ski resorts are reporting a record number of visitations this season.
Colorado Ski Country USA, an organization that represents 22 of Colorado’s 28 ski resorts, reports that their member resorts saw a 14% increase in visitation, and are estimating that the state saw over 14 million visits including visitations at Vail’s five resorts in the state.
That number beats out the previous record of 13.8 million skier visits set during the 2018-2019 season.
^Lift lines at Vail Resort, 2020
To put things into perspective, the National Ski Areas Association announced that American ski resorts saw a record 61 million skier visits this season.
Some quick math shows that Colorado saw 23% of all skier visits across the country.
Yeah. That’s nearly 1/4 of all skier visits in the country confined to just 28 resorts, in one state, with most of them being accessed by tourists flying into Denver International Airport, and then driving west on I-70.
So, when you’re sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic on I-70 next season wondering, “Do other places in the country experience this much traffic just to go out for a day of skiing?”
No. The answer is simply no.
^Credit: Colorado Public Radio
Look, I know this article has a negative tone, but that’s not my intention. I’ve had some fantastic ski days with minimal crowds at Colorado ski resorts over the years.
With that being said, you have to be smart if you’re planning a ski trip to Colorado.
Driving west on I-70 on the weekends is not-advisable, and visiting any Epic resort during a holiday or powder day will guarantee that you’ll wait in long lift lines.
Just stay safe and be smart out there, friends!
Now, some quotes from real-life, not made-up, totally legit, and definitely not fake I-70 drivers about the news.
Brad, 26, Boulder: “Ahhh dude. That totally makes sense. We’re all weekend warriors out here, bro, and we have the best snow in the country. I mean there’s literally nowhere better to ski. That’s why all of us moved here once the pandemic began.”
Chelsea, 51, New York City: “Yes. I’ve sat in plenty of traffic jams trying to get to our condo at Beaver Creek. But, can I be honest for a moment? I actually don’t mind it. The four hour drive after the flight is a good time for me to catch up on emails, and hope my annoying kids pass out in the backseat. Plus, that first glass of Chardonay at the bar after the long drive just tastes better after traveling all day.
Jack, 45, Denver (Originally from Chicago): “Man. I remember the good ol’ days of Colorado skiing. 20 years ago, I used to be able to wake up at my apartment in downtown Denver at 8am on a Saturday, drive 22 minutes to Arapahoe Basin, no I’m not exaggerating that at all, give the lift ticket guy a joint and a six pack in exchange for a lift ticket, and lap Pali all day long without waiting in a single lift line. Then all of these tourists moved here. That’s when the shit hit the fan.”