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Colorado Ski Resorts Hoping for a Strong Year

Photo by Kirk Siegler
Winter Park was one of a dozen Colorado resorts that were open or planned to open by Thanksgiving weekend.

Thanksgiving weekend typically marks the unofficial start to the ski season, according to Colorado ski industry officials.  That's because in the days ahead of the holiday, resorts start seeing their bread and butter show up.  Think:  the out of state, package holiday crowd.Overall, resorts are starting to recover from the economic downturn with resort bookings on the up, says Melanie Mills, president of the trade group Colorado Ski Country USA.

"Skiing is unique and people who ski and snowboard are just uncommonly dedicated to what they do." Mills says. "Even during the toughest years of the recession, we found that while our numbers suffered slightly, they didn’t suffer dramatically."

Despite the still-shaky economy, Mills says her group’s member resorts have invested in more than fifty million dollars in infrastructure improvements heading into this ski season.

"Even when the economy’s down and even when visits are not as high as they were during our record years, the resorts aren’t resting on their laurels they’re continuing to improve the experience," Mills says.

This year alone, the trade group says its members have invested some $50 million in on-mountain improvements; including new lifts at Copper Mountain, Aspen and Loveland as well as numerous new restaurants. 

Kirk Siegler reports for NPR, based out of NPR West in California.