Posted inNews, Outdoors, Outsider

Colorado’s independent ski areas are thriving in the shadow of dueling, consolidating resort giants

In the shadow of battling behemoths, smaller, independent ski areas are thriving.  “It’s not just that the big areas are crowded and skiers want to escape crowds,” said Bob Nicolls, the owner of Monarch ski area, which saw record visitation in 2021-22, with income for the ski area climbing 20% above the previous season. “I […]

Posted inBusiness, News, Outdoors

Vail Resorts promises $175 million more for employees, bumps starting pay to $20 an hour

Vail Resorts will spend $175 million more a year on employees, increasing pay by more than 30% after a grueling season that saw North America’s largest resort operator vilified as it struggled to open chairs and handle crowds.  Kirsten Lynch celebrated her 100th day as CEO of Vail Resorts this week, marking what was likely […]

Posted inNews, Outdoors

Vail Resorts sold 2.1 million Epic Passes for 2021-22 season after cutting prices by 20%

Vail Resorts’ decision to cut the price of its Epic Passes by 20% spurred 2.1 million skiers to buy the passes, which range from early purchased day tickets to unrestricted, season-long access. That’s a 700,000 bump in passes from 2020-21 and 900,000 more than than the 2019-20 season.  The company on Thursday reported its earnings […]

Posted inBusiness, News, Outdoors, Outsider

Snow may not be piling up at Colorado ski resorts this season, but anxiety sure is

It wasn’t that long ago that ski resort operators lost sleep over snowfall. Then they had to fret over once-in-a-lifetime protocols to limit the spread of contagion at their ski areas.  Now, the worries are stacked even deeper, with affordable housing, dwindling numbers of workers and ever-lengthening lift lines joining the perennial fretting over snow […]

Posted inBusiness, News, Outdoors

Colorado ski resort operators turbo-charged technology last season, and many of the upgrades are here to stay

For many years, resort captains have been slow and steady with investment in technology. The behind-the-scenes stuff — wireless networks, point-of-sale and lodging reservation systems, online ticket sales — typically was overshadowed by flashy projects involving new chairlifts and terrain.  The coronavirus turbo-charged ski resort interest in decidedly unsexy technology, which is now a top […]

Posted inBusiness, COVID, Economy, News, Outdoors

Colorado resorts expect next ski season to be pretty normal, but some coronavirus changes may stick around

A year ago this week, lift-served skiing was broken.  Ski areas around the planet ground to a sudden halt in a desperate effort to slow the spread of contagion. Operators were distributing food from spring-break-stocked coolers and figuring out what to do with jobless workers in employee housing, all while slashing budgets and planning for […]