Despite what you might think thanks to viral photos of lift lines across the country, Aspen Skiing Co. says they are only matching last year’s number of skier visits, and are “maybe a little bit up”.
Last season was a record-breaking year for skier visits, with the resort reporting 1.55-million skier visits. Vice president of communications Jeff Hanle put that mind-boggling figure down to the number of big powder Saturdays, as well as Ikon Pass holders. Snowpack this year is about 120% of average, but they haven’t seen those big dumps that get people out and excited.
“Very steady is what it’s been,” Hanle said Wednesday of this year’s business. “I think we’ve seen fewer peaks and valleys than we did in previous seasons.”
The less frequent powder days could be the reason that local pass holders aren’t skiing Aspen as frequently as last year, with their numbers down. Which means that it must be tourists, and/or Ikon Pass holders making up the difference.
“We’re seeing a significant increase in Ikon Pass use,” he told Vail Daily.
There was an outcry at resorts across the country last year as locals blamed the Ikon Pass for lift lines, busier slopes, and parking issues at their resorts. Many resorts spoke out in defense of the Ikon Pass, claiming that allying with a multi-resort pass was a no-brainer. At Aspen, the Ikon Pass accounted for about 9% of all skier days.
It is estimated that Alterra sold 250,000 Ikon Passes last year, and although no official figures for this season have been released yet, a spokesman said: “…we sold considerably more passes.”