Having now been in the pandemic lifestyle for just over one year in the United States, many resorts are reflecting in agony over what the past year has brought them. Across the board, ski resorts have suffered, whether that be because of a decrease in tourism, reduced resort capacities, a bad start to the season, or all of the above.
Aspen Ski Co. would fall under all of the above in terms of how they have suffered this season, and it was much worse than expected. At the start of the season, it was estimated that Aspen would see a decrease of 20% in the use of paid lift tickets or season passes.
Jeff Hanle, vice president of communications for Skico, said, “We’re down more than that.”
Being a luxury destination resort, Aspen attracts many international tourists from across the world, especially when compared to resorts closer to big cities that can rely on locals for skiing. This entire clientele has been eliminated this season, and even tourists from outside the state have seen a dramatic decline as even though people can travel, many are choosing not to.
For people who have been fortunate enough to have skied this season, it may be hard to believe this news: parking lots still seem to be packed, and lift lines are just as big as ever. Still, it is important to keep in mind that resorts are having to decrease lift capacity and overnight tourists spend a lot more money at resorts than locals and day-trippers.
When speaking with The Aspen Times, Hanle went on further to say that even though Aspen Ski Co. expected a drop in business, they still needed to hire just as many workers and instructors this season, even though instructors are not in nearly as high of a demand.
Aspen also got unlucky at that start of the season and struggled with getting enough snowfall to open all of their terrain. This additional problem further limited Aspen resort’s capacities in the meantime.
As the Covid-19 vaccine continues to roll out at a steady pace in the United States, many resorts are hopeful that by this summer, people will be confident enough to book trips for the coming winter as we hope to finally see life return back to normal, and with that skiing.