Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.'s Vice President of Sales and Marketing Andy Wirth explains what led to another record-breaking year.
Steamboat Springs Steamboat Ski Area had its second consecutive year of record-breaking skier visits, officials said Thursday.
Ski resorts statewide saw a boom in skier visits as well. At the annual meeting of Colorado Ski Country U.S.A., held at Copper Mountain in Summit County, Colorado Ski Country President and Chief Executive Officer Ron Perlman said the organization's 26 member resorts recorded a total of 12.56 million skier visits during the 2006-07 winter, an increase of about 30,000 skier visits from a year ago.
"We are extremely pleased with our results this year," Perlman said. "It was our goal to sustain last year's growth and surpass the 12 million mark to set a new benchmark for the state."
Andy Wirth, vice president of marketing for Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., was all smiles Thursday. While Wirth said Steamboat's specific visit numbers are not yet ready for release, he said 2006-07 was the "the best financial year in Steamboat's history, by far," topping the visitor record set in 2005-06 and continuing a boom-time trend at the resort.
"We were able to complete our fourth (consecutive) year of really substantial growth," Wirth said. "There is an undeniable, irrefutable momentum for Steamboat in the marketplace right now."
Wirth said despite a comparatively light snowfall - "it was one of the variables that wasn't working for us" - a record number of passengers traveled in and out of Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden during the ski season. International visits to Steamboat, particularly from the United Kingdom and Australia, "were off the charts," he added.
Intrawest Colorado announced its purchase of Steamboat Ski Area in March.
"Our new ownership group is extremely pleased with our performance on all fronts," Wirth said.
Intrawest is investing $16 million in improvements to the ski area this summer and also has announced the "Rocky Mountain Ultimate Pass" that will allow Steamboat season pass holders unlimited access to Copper Mountain and Winter Park for about $60 more.
Perlman said Thursday that while visits to Colorado ski resorts from Denver and Front Range residents dipped about 6 percent this year, out-of-state and international visits rose by about 5 percent, giving Colorado a record number of visitors and a nearly 23 percent share of the ski market in the U.S.
"It's been an absolutely stellar performance this season," Perlman told a banquet hall filled with ski area executives and employees.
Also at the annual meeting, Colorado Ski Country named Steamboat Springs and Winter Sports Club athlete Abe Maynard its Male All-Star Athlete of the Year.
Maynard credited his family and coaches for the honor.
"This award means so much to me," he said. "Thank you all so much."
Colorado Ski Country also announced a Lifetime Achievement Award for longtime Routt County resident John Fetcher, 95, who served as president of the Mount Werner Ski Company from 1962-1971 and has engineered the development of Steamboat Ski Area and Howelsen Hill throughout his life.
Fetcher was not present to receive the award.