DENVER -- When it
comes to skier visits, the Rocky Mountain region continues to
dominate the market, particularly Colorado, according to industry
In fact, Colorado
drew about 20% of total skier visits nationwide -- 11.2 million in
all -- during the 2003-04 season, according to Colorado Ski
Country, a trade organization representing the states 24 ski and
length of stay overall, regardless of destination, is about five
nights, said a spokeswoman for the Mark Travel Corp., which
includes Mountain Vacations.
Keystone, Copper Mountain and Crested Butte are all doing well for
us this year, with most bookings coming in for December and January
so far, she said.
The following is
a sampling of other news, improvements and packages in Colorado
air-inclusive ski packages abound this season. Kids ages 2 to 12
can fly, stay and ski free at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and
Keystone this winter with United Airlines Kids Fly Free ski
vacation package, for example.
Each child must be accompanied by a paying
adult from a participating city to Vail/Eagle Airport. The program
is valid Jan. 3 to Feb. 17. Call (800) 404-3535.
Vacations Ski is offering 15,000 bonus miles for stays of seven
nights or longer in Vail; 10,000 for stays of five or six nights.
The special also includes a car rental upgrade and a $50 Vacation
Saver discount at participating resorts.
Versions of the
package also are available at 100 resorts in Colorado; Reno/Lake
Tahoe, Nev.; and Salt Lake City. The specials are valid Jan. 8 to
Feb. 17, Feb. 26 to March 12 and April 2 to April 17, with bookings
completed by Dec. 15.
Rates start at
$986 for five nights and include roundtrip air on US Airways,
accommodations, roundtrip airport-hotel transfers, hotel taxes and
service charges and 24-hour customer-care service. Call (800)
A sample vacation
to Steamboat is priced from $738, including roundtrip air on United
Airlines, three nights accommodations at the Best Western Ptarmigan
Inn, a two-day lift ticket and hotel taxes.
The package is
valid from St. Louis; Austin and San Antonio, Texas; and Chicago,
on daily departures from Jan. 5 to Feb 2. Call (800) 775-7995 or book on VAX
" Seven Colorado
destinations were named among the top 11 North American ski
resorts, according to Ski magazines annual Top 60 Resort
Guide. Vail was awarded the top spot
for the third year running and the 13th time in 17 years.
In all, Colorado won more spots in the Top 20
than any other region in North America, with Utah running second at
The top 20 resorts in North America
are, in ranked order: Vail, Colo.; Deer Valley, Utah; Snowmass,
Colo.; Beaver Creek, Colo.; Whistler/Blackcomb, British Columbia;
Breckenridge, Colo.; Aspen Mountain, Colo.; Park City, Utah;
Mammoth Mountain, Calif.; Steamboat, Colo.; Telluride, Colo.; Sun
Valley, Idaho; Aspen Highlands, Colo.; Jackson Hole, Wyo.;
Keystone, Colo.; Heavenly, Calif.; Squaw Valley, Utah; Lake Louise,
British Columbia; Crested Butte, Colo.; and Winter Park,
Rockies, a collection of upscale condo and resort properties at a
range of North American ski resorts, unveiled three travel
packages, valid at Aspen, Snowmass Village, Vail and Telluride. The
packages are valid through April 10.
A Romance in the
Rockies package features four daily ski lift tickets for two
adults; two one-hour, in-room massages; chocolate-covered
strawberries; champagne; and a stay-six-nights,
get-the-seventh-night-free offer at any of the participating
the Gant in Aspen, $962 for a one-bedroom condominium; the
Stonebridge Inn in Snowmass Village, $659 for a hotel guest room;
Mountain Lodge at Telluride, $798.50 for a one-bedroom condo; Vail
Landmark Properties in Vail, $1,104 for a one-bedroom condo; and
Vail Cascade Condominiums, $1,185 for a one-bedroom
A Winter Family
Escape package includes four daily ski-lift tickets for two adults
and two children, four hot-air balloon passes, a welcome basket
upon check-in and a stay-six-nights, get-the-seventh-night-free
offer at any of the resorts.
Rates are per
person and range from $733 for a two-bedroom, two-bath condo at the
Mountain Lodge at Telluride to $1,153.75 for a two-bedroom,
two-bath condominium at Vail Cascade Condominiums. Call (800)
434-7347 or visit www.destinationrockies.com.
" Vail Resorts is
unveiling a number of packages and upgrades at its Colorado
resorts. Beaver Creek, for example, has beefed up grooming
capabilities by 33% for the coming season, added two high-speed
quad chairlifts and created Beaver Creek Landing, an alternative
entry point for the expert Talons terrain and Beaver Creek
Mountain, set to open Dec. 18.
A Ski, Sleigh,
Spa & Stay at Beaver Creek package, priced at $1,384 per
person, includes four days skiing or snowboarding, a spa treatment
and a sleigh ride plus a five-course dinner at Beanos Cabin on
Beaver Creek Mountain. It also includes four nights accommodations
at the Pines Lodge, a RockResort and member of Preferred Hotels
& Resorts Worldwide. Rates are valid from Jan. 4 to Feb. 9.
Call (800) 404-3535 or visit www.beavercreek.com.
Vail Mountain is
expanding the chairlift capacity in its back bowls by 65%, with an
aim to cut the wait for lift lines to under 10 minutes. Skiers also
can take advantage of a Ski Free and Stay Free package at Vail,
good for a fourth free day of skiing and lodging for a paid stay of
three nights. Packages are priced $394 from Jan. 3 to Feb. 9 and
$251 from April 3 to 17. Visit www.vail.com.
" Aspen Skiing
Co. invested $10 million in major capital improvements for the
2004/2005 season at Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk.
A new high-speed quad chair will offer access to West Buttermilk
for children and novices, and Aspen Mountain will replace its
oldest lift with a new double chair.
Also at Aspen
Mountain, the St. Regis Aspen will unveil its 15,000-square-foot
spa and a new wing of the St. Regis Residence Club. Also on tap are
20 new guest rooms and suites and a renovation of existing guest
which opened its Highland Bowl in 2003, is planning continued
expansions into Deep Temerity on its northeast-facing slopes. The
expansion is slated to include 270 acres and should be completed
for the 2005-06 season, pending approvals.
The Snowmass Base
Village, a joint venture between Aspen Skiing Co. and Intrawest, is
in its final planning stages and is expected to include
restaurants, shops, a childrens center and a host of year-round
The Residences at
Little Nell, a fractional ownership complex at the base of Aspen
Mountain, is slated to open in the winter of 2006. In addition to
24 ski in-ski out apartments, it will include shops, a restaurant
and a rooftop pool and spa. Visit www.stayaspensnowmass.com.
" Renovations and
expansions abound at a number of Colorado resorts, including
beginner terrain slated to debut this season at Winter Park Resort.
The new runs are part of a $4 million investment in
learn-to-ski/snowboard and mountain projects. Other improvements
include terrain park upgrades and a snowskate park at the base of
Purgatory Village at the base village of Durango Mountain Resort
are set to begin in 2005. Highlights of the project include
Purgatory Lodge, a base lodge offering skier services and
residential units, as well as new accommodations, facilities and
Resort, known for its expert trails, is targeting intermediates
with the addition of 733 acres of primarily midlevel terrain served
by three quad lifts.
reporter Felicity Long, send e-mail to [email protected].