Powderhorn visitors increase by 45 percent this season

Powderhorn Mountain Resort saw an increase in visitors this season thanks to plenty of snow as well as the addition of the Flat Top Flyer high-speed lift.

Even before the ribbon was snipped on the opening ceremony for the Flat Top Flyer, Powderhorn Mountain Resort was off to a flying start to the 2015-16 season.

When it comes to successful ski/snowboard seasons, there’s one key ingredient: Snow, lots of snow.

Powderhorn opened Dec. 5, one of the earliest openings in the resort’s 49-year history.

Combine great early snow and the opening of the Flat Top Flyer, the new high-speed quad chair lift, and it made for a tremendous season for Powderhorn.

According to the season numbers, the resort saw a 45 percent visitor increase over the previous season. It was also the best season since the new owners took over in 2011.

Visitors were also 16 percent higher over Powderhorn’s four-year skier average.

The 2014-15 season was affected by low snowfall.

Great snow will always be the biggest factor for visitation but Ryan Robinson, Powderhorn’s marketing and sales manager, said the new lift was also key to a big season.

“The new lift was a huge part of that growth,” he said. “The 2015-16 season had great snow conditions, so that was a big factor. We had good early season snow and favorable snowmaking conditions, and that held us through a drier February.”

In late December, the resort had a 52-inch snowpack, which was among the best in the entire state.

The resort made a substantial investment in the resort as part of its $5 million capital improvement project. The new lift and additional snowmaking equipment were both part of those improvements.

Robinson credited the good snow as well as the new lift, which can get visitors to the top of the mountain in about eight minutes, as factors for getting locals to the mountain.

“We also saw some growth in afternoon tickets, so people got in a lot of skiing in a short amount of time,” Robinson said.

The goal of the new ownership is to make Powderhorn a year-round resort and after the big snow year, the resort began its new summertime venture — downhill mountain biking.

It was a pretty big year around Colorado this past winter. According to Colorado Ski Country USA numbers, the state’s member areas saw a 5 percent increase in visitation, which was higher than the national trend.

Powderhorn officials said the power of a great snow season can never be underestimated for wintertime success.

“It’s the nature of the industry, when it snows, people show up,” Robinson said.


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