The Rocky Mountain Way led to a record number of skier visits in Colorado during the 2022-23 ski season.

Yesterday, Colorado Ski Country USA announced that skier visits were up 8% compared to last season. The projected total for the 2023-23 season was 14.8 million people, which is a million more visits than the 2021-22 season. This season exceeds their five-year average visitation by a staggering 18%.

With ski resorts that are a part of Colorado Ski Country USA averaging 286 inches of snowfall this past season, along with having mostly cold weather throughout the winter, conditions across the state were excellent. Major capital investments were also believed to bring in more visitation. Some of these investments include the new Lenawee Express at Arapahoe Basin, Rip’s Ride at Breckenridge, the new Chair 6 at Loveland, the Wild Blue Gondola at Steamboat, and two new chairlifts at Vail. International visitors also increased substantially, thanks to reduced Covid restrictions around the world.

Another factor that I believed played a part in the record season, is the rise of the mega passes. Both Epic and Ikon have multiple major mountains in Colorado, leading to more people making trips to the state. In addition, the Indy Pass added multiple ski resorts in Colorado for the 2022-23 season, giving an incentive for their passholders to go there for a vacation.

Melanie Mills, who is the President and CEO of Colorado Ski Country USA, said the following about their historic season:

“The 2022-2023 ski season was buoyed by cold temperatures and consistent, abundant snowfall across the state, from the first days of the season in October to closing day on June 4. We are today celebrating a significant new industry benchmark for visitation, meaningful growth in our business, and the positive economic impact that this success has for our employees, our communities, our partners, and our state.

Approximately 23 percent of U.S. skier visits took place in Colorado this year, and this was not happenstance. Our member ski areas are fiercely dedicated to the guest experience, as well as to the employee experience at their resorts. Best-in-class infrastructure, facilities, employees, and ski towns welcome guests from around Colorado, the United States, and the world. There’s a mountain for everyone in Colorado. and our ski areas love to welcome one and all to our slopes.”

Colorado’s ski season started on October 23rd, with A-Basin winning the race to be the first open in the state. They were quickly followed by Keystone, Winter Park, and Loveland. Colorado’s ski season wrapped up this past Sunday, as Arapahoe Basin concluded its season on June 4th. Other late-season contenders included Breckenridge (May 21st) and Winter Park (May 29th).

Continued major investments during this offseason will give Colorado a shot at another record-breaking 2023-24 season. Aspen will be opening their anticipated Pandora’s expansion, Breckenridge is replacing the 5-Chair (which will help with those Peak 8 crowds like the one from this article’s featured image), Copper Mountain will be opening a new mid-mountain lodge, Steamboat will be completing the final phase of its Full Steam Ahead capital projects, and Winter Park is replacing the Pioneer Express with a high-speed six-pack.

Image Credits: u/CarlDonzo (Featured Image), Ian Wood, Colorado Ski Country USA

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