Snow! Life’s good if you’re a skier
It snowed for, oh, 10 minutes Thursday afternoon in Grand Junction. You might have missed it.
The storm swung back again that night and by Friday morning the city and the suddenly slick streets were dusted with snow.
Meanwhile, the high country was enjoying a much-welcome storm of its own.
The snow reports Thursday included the Grand Mesa Nordic Club announcing 24 inches of new snow at Skyway, Powderhorn Mountain Resort blanketing the emails with another Powder Day Alert announcing 10 inches of pow and Aspen offering free face shots with the 10 inches smothering all four of its mountains.
Life is good if you’re a skier or rider.
“Colorado’s ski areas received a nice gift from Mother Nature this week,” said Jennifer Rudolph of Colorado Ski Country USA, the state’s ski-industry trade association. She said there were “measurable accumulations” at most resorts and in some cases that amounted to 20 inches and more of new snow.
The President’s Day ski holiday isn’t quite as economically important as the key Christmas-to-New Year’s week but it’s important in that it attracts and re-energizes skiers and riders who might otherwise be turning toward warm-weather, off-snow recreation.
It’s also a bit of boost going into the spring break, a time when most resorts get the last really big crowds of the year.
“President’s Day typically draws an enthusiastic crowd,” Rudolph said. “This year was no exception.”
All that new snow helps, of course, but there also is the lingering hang-over from a less-than-satisfying Christmas snowpack.
Spring skiing means longer days, sun-softened snow and plenty of deals to entice you away from the mountain bike or fly rod and up to your favorite resort.
Most resorts are offering free events such as concerts and slopeside barbecues and every marketing guru in the West is anxious to tell you about his/her best spring ski/ride packages.
“Food and festivals, races and rail jams, and even fireworks shows will leave visitors spoilt for choice,” said Craig Bannister, also from Colorado Ski Country USA.
Frugal skiers and riders might want to search out the spring discounts now that the Vail has raised the bar on its one-day adult lift ticket price.
According to a story in Friday’s Aspen Times, Vail Resorts is charging $129 as its walk-up window rate at Vail and Beaver Creek. The same ticket one year ago was $116.
Aspen, which was charging $114 during the major holidays, went to $117 for the President’s Day weekend, according to the Times.
A quick check Friday morning of regional ski-resort websites found one-day adult ticket prices ranging from $129 at Vail to Aspen’s $117, Telluride’s $106, Crested Butte at $98 and Powderhorn rounding out at $59.
Discussions of lift ticket prices always result in a lot of heavy breathing but very few guests actually pay that walk-up price.
Resorts push multi-day and advance tickets sales, both of which give guests a noticeable savings over the single-day ticket.
Also, the proliferation of the popular multi-resort packages such as those offered by Powderhorn, Telluride, Crested Butte and Steamboat provide affordable ways to get on the snow and experience different resorts.
A different sort of discount is available through Liftopia, an online marketplace for lift tickets, lessons, rentals and more.
Liftopia, which advertises discounted ticket packages (up to 84 percent at some resorts) at more than 100 ski resorts nationwide, is running its popular National Play Hooky & Ski Week March 4-8.
Regional resorts participating include Copper Mountain, Loveland and A-Basin in Colorado and Alta, Sundance and The Canyons in Utah.