EpicMix Guide allows guests to ski Vail Resorts

Vail Resorts announced that EpicMix™ Guide, the fifth generation of its award-winning, free, multi-channel app which will re-imagine how skiers and snowboarders will maximize their time on the mountain this winter, is now available for download for iPhone or Android operating systems.

EpicMix™ Guide uses guest input to generate a customized, step-by-step navigational guide to experience Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge or Keystone in Colorado, Canyons in Park City, Utah, or Heavenly, Northstar or Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe like a long-time local.

“With EpicMix Guide, skiers and riders are able to input what kind of skiing they like to do, what kind of terrain they want to explore and how much time they have available, and the app provides a custom itinerary to help them navigate the mountain in a care-free way, maximizing the fun they’ll have that day,” said Kirsten Lynch, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Vail Resorts.

Guests need only download the EpicMix app from the iTunes Store or Google Play for the Android Market, then activate their free account via the app or at www.epicmix.com using their pass or lift ticket number.

They then log into any one of the various EpicMix channels (app, mobile web, desktop) and answer a variety of questions including: desired resort, starting location at the resort, terrain difficulty desired, and length of time available.

EpicMix Guide then automatically generates the optimal route for that guest on that day. The online version is perfect for those who want to plan their trip in advance, while the app is the best way to track real-time progress.

“EpicMix Guide is like handing you 20 years of experience at that resort on your first visit there,” said Lynch. “We’re putting this power at the fingertips of every one of our guests.”

The EpicMix development team sought the insider knowledge of each resort’s most experienced Ski and Ride School instructors to build itineraries which would let guests explore each mountain in a unique way that is appropriate for the corresponding skill level.

Guests can experience beginner routes such as “Schoolmarm Cruiser” at Keystone or intermediate routes like “Dipper Explorer” at Heavenly, or challenge themselves with advanced routes like “Ricky’s Ridge Adventurer” at Vail.

These are just a few examples of the 350 possible routes spread across the eight mountain resorts (excluding Park City Mountain Resort).

Once an itinerary is completed, skiers and riders can share their itinerary, along with photos and other stats about their day, on social media through Facebook and Twitter.

“We’ll give you all the assets you need to share the story about your epic day,” said Lynch.

Twelve days of Christmas at Keystone Resort

With nearly five feet of natural snow falling in November, Keystone Resort enters December with a plethora of great snow, open terrain, exciting events and Holiday cheer. Here are twelve good reasons to visit Keystone this month:

Twelve Santas Smiling
Santa Claus visits Keystone twelve times during December, providing plenty of time to get those Christmas lists submitted and say “Hi” to the big guy. Various dates and locations throughout December.

Eleven Children Climbing
Keystone’s season-long Kidtopia programming begins with the grand opening of the Kidtopia Snow Fort, the world’s largest snow fort. Ribbon cutting at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 13 atop Dercum Mountain.

Ten Noses a Knowing
Keystone Executive Pastry Chef Ned Archibald utilizes 8,000 pounds of imported chocolate for the Keystone Chocolate Village, complete with various winter scenes. Free to attend, located in the Keystone Lodge and Spa from Dec. 19, 2014-Jan. 4, 2015.

Nine Trails a Glowing
Delay the après with Colorado’s longest ski day as Keystone provides 11.5-hours of skiing and snowboarding fun. Dec. 5-6, 12-13, and 19-31 Keystone is open from 8:30 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Eight Cooks a Cooking
Skip the cooking, cleaning and preparation needed for hosting a Christmas dinner and enjoy a delicious meal at one of Keystone’s signature restaurants. On Thursday, Dec. 25, the Alpenglow Stube, Der Fondue Chessel, Dinner Sleigh Ride, Keystone Ranch, Ski Tip Lodge and Bighorn Bistro & Bar all offer a Christmas menu. Reservations are required, 800-354-4386.

Seven Revelers Ringing
Live music, dining specials and fireworks are some of the great ways families can celebrate New Year’s Eve at Keystone. There is skiing and riding to be had too of course, guests can enjoy the slopes until 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and begin New Year’s Day with first chair at 8:30 a.m.

Six Families Brunching
Bighorn Bistro’s new family brunch provides kids and adults their very own buffets. Children will enjoy games, entertainment and a fun atmosphere with free supervision provided, while next door adults will enjoy a classic brunch including mimosas and a bloody-mary bar. Located in the Keystone Lodge and Spa on Dec. 7, 14, 21 and 28 from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Five Golden Rings
Okay, not really. But during the 12 Days of Keystone guests can win prizes such as a season pass, snow cat tour, lift tickets and Keystone swag by posting ‘countdown’ photos to Instagram and tagging @Keystone_resort. Winners will be chosen daily from Dec. 1-12.

Four Free Clinics
Keystone’s Ski and Ride School will provide complimentary one hour clinics for first-timers or guests looking to hone their skiing or riding skills. Two-days, two-clinics – skiing or snowboarding, offered Dec. 13-14 at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. atop Dercum Mountain during Get to Know Keystone Days.

Three Peaks Open
December provides excellent early-season skiing and riding conditions, with access from all three of Keystone’s mountains; Dercum, North Peak and The Outback.

Two Nights Only
“Keller & His Compadres” will be performing at Warren Station Dec. 19-20; doors open at 8 p.m. Keller Williams will also perform a solo set each evening. More information and tickets available at warrenstation.com.

And; many a Kidtopia Activities
Ripperoo’s Village parades, Starquest and Fireworks round out an eventful December at Keystone.

Ripperoo’s Village Parade – featuring Keystone mascot Ripperoo and friends at 4 p.m. in River Run Village on Dec. 13, 20 and 27.

Starquest – Keystone Science School provides a unique exploration of the universe. Free to attend, meets at Kidtopia Headquarters in River Run at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 5, 12, 19 and 26.

Fireworks – free firework display visible from River Run and Lakeside Villages at 7 p.m. on Dec. 13, 20 and 27.

Bigfoot Adventure Walks – A free adventure-filled nature walk. Meets at 6 p.m. on Dec. 13, 16, 20, 23, 27 and 30 at Kidtopia Headquarters.

Vail Mountain offers 2,700 skiable acres this Thanksgiving

Skiers and snowboarders have even more to be thankful for this Thanksgiving holiday at Vail Mountain, one of the largest ski resorts in the world, as the resort opened the High Noon Express Lift (#5) today, providing access to the terrain of its legendary Sun Up and Sun Down bowls.

Vail received more than 30 inches of snow since Saturday, and more than six feet in the past three weeks, making for fantastic conditions across the mountain.

“We have a lot to be thankful for every year in Vail, but this year is extraordinary. It’s rare to have conditions this good, this early in the season,” said Chris Jarnot, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Vail Mountain.

“We’ll be talking about Thanksgiving 2014 for years to come. Our crews have been working incredibly hard literally around the clock to open terrain as quickly as possible. With Chair 5 now open, we hope to open China Bowl next, possibly yet this weekend.”

With the addition of Vail’s Legendary Back Bowls, guests now have access to more than 2,700 developed skiable acres of terrain accessible by the following lifts:

  • Gondola One
  • Avanti Express Lift (#2)
  • Wildwood Express Lift (#3)
  • Mountain Top Express Lift (#4)
  • High Noon Express Lift (#5)
  • Riva Bahn Express Lift (#6)
  • Game Creek Express Lift (#7)
  • Born Free Express Lift (#8)
  • Highline Express Lift (#10)
  • Northwoods Express Lift (#11)
  • Gopher Hill Lift (#12)
  • Little Eagle Lift (#15)
  • Eagle Bahn Gondola (#19)
  • Cascade Village Lift (#20)

The resort anticipates opening the remainder of Vail’s lifts and terrain, including Blue Sky Basin in early December.

All guests are reminded that they must observe all posted signs and closures, especially during the early season. Closed trails may contain hazards due to early snow coverage. Accessing closed terrain is a violation of the Colorado Ski Safety Act and will result in the loss of skiing privileges and could involve prosecution and a fine.

Breckenridge opening 500 acres of ski trails

Thanks to recent storms which dropped temperatures for snowmaking and left behind generous amounts of early-season snowfall, Breckenridge Ski Resort will expand its operating footprint to over 500 acres of skiable terrain accessed via eight lifts and select learning carpets by Saturday.

Among the new terrain, the resort plans to open runs across Peaks 8 & 9 allowing guests to access both base areas as well as a triple jump line with a handful of features in Park Lane. Additionally, the Rocky Mountain SuperChair and portions of expert, upper mountain terrain off the 6-Chair open today.

“We’re pleased to have over 500 acres of skiable terrain ready for guests this weekend,” Breckenridge Vice President of Mountain Operations, Gary Shimanowitz said. “With over 54 inches of new snow in our opening week alone and extremely favorable temperatures for snowmaking, we’re having one of the better early seasons in years.”

Peak 9 trail openings will be Silverthorne and King’s Way via the Quicksilver SuperChair as well as Crosscut and lower Sawmill. The Peak 8 SuperConnect will be open to allow back and forth skiable access between Peak 8 and Peak 9 and the Snowflake lift will operate to offer mountain access from that bed base. The Peak 9 base area will operate with full services, including ski & ride school and on-mountain dining at Ten Mile Station and The Maggie.

Associated runs surrounding 6-Chair give skiers and riders access to approximately 197 acres of expert terrain on the upper mountain of Peak 8. At this time there will be no access out from the bottom of the lift and guests need to ride the 6-Chair and then ski or ride down Upper Four O’clock in order to return to Peak 8.

Guests who wish to access the Peak 7 base area including Sevens restaurant can do so via Fort Mary B from Claimjumper. At this time no additional terrain is open for skiing or riding on Peak 7.

Breckenridge Ski Resort requires all skiers and riders to observe all posted signs and warnings. Closed trails may contain hazards due to limited natural snow coverage and snowmaking operations. Please keep off closed trails and out of closed areas for safety reasons.

Breck for a Buck
Buy 3 days of lift tickets and lodging and get the fourth night for only $1.00! Breck for a Buck offers the savvy traveler a lift ticket and lodging package with unbeatable savings. Rules and Restrictions may apply. Discounts may vary. Blackout dates may apply. Based on availability. Visit Breckenridge.com to book.

Breckenridge Thanksgiving Dinners
Enjoy Thanksgiving at Sevens restaurant – the only on-mountain dining option in Breck for the holiday. Sevens is located at the base of Peak 7, with a stunning patio and gorgeous views of the resort and the town. The special Thanksgiving Prix Fixe menu includes all the fixings of a home cooked meal without the hassle. Reservations are recommended; please call 970-496-8910.

Breck’s Cyber Monday Deal
Take Advantage of “First Tracks Fridays” and Up to 50 Percent Off at Breckenridge
Guests who book during the Cyber Monday Sale can save up to 50 percent off at the DoubleTree by Hilton Breckenridge, the Village Hotel and the Studio Suites at the Village at Breckenridge, all located by the base of Peak 9 and within walking distance from historic downtown Breckenridge.

Also this winter, guests staying at official lodging properties of Breckenridge Ski Resort, including these properties in the Cyber Monday Sale can take part in “First Tracks Fridays” and receive access to the mountain one hour before it opens to the general public on Friday mornings from mid-December through March.

Check out the deals below or log on to http://www.snow.com/cybermonday for more information. These deals cannot be booked until 12:01 a.m. MDT on Dec. 1, 2014.

Vail Mountain to open on Friday at 9 a.m.

Vail Mountain, one of the largest ski resorts in the world, will open for the 2014-2015 season on Friday, Nov. 21, 2014 with access out of both Vail Village and Lionshead as well as return routes to both base areas.

“We know that we’ll be opening both base areas, but we’re going to give our snowmakers, groomers and patrollers one more night to confirm exactly what we’ll be able to open on Friday morning for Vail’s opening day,” said Chris Jarnot, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Vail Mountain. “Stay tuned for an update tomorrow.”

Vail Mountain lifts will open at 9 a.m. throughout the early season to accommodate early-morning operations. Skiers and snowboarders are asked to observe all posted signs and closures, especially during the early season.

Warm temps delay Breckenridge Ski Resort opening

Breckenridge Ski Resort announced that unseasonably warm weather experienced throughout the region this past month will cause a delay to the resort’s opening day, originally scheduled for today. The resort plans to announce a revised opening day early next week in order to provide skiers and riders as much information as possible.“While we have been very optimistic about snowmaking efforts for Friday, warmer temperatures this week have slowed our efforts. As with all our resorts, our top priority is to provide our guests with a superior early season product,” said Breckenridge Vice President of Mountain Operations, Gary Shimanowitz. “Breck has one of the longest ski seasons in the country, and we want to make sure the experience is fun and safe from the start.”

The resort will provide daily updates at Breckenridge.com/2014OpeningDay and will announce a revised opening early next week.

WAKE UP BRECK DETAILS FOR NOV. 6
On Thursday, Nov. 6, Breckenridge Ski Resort hosts the 12th annual “Wake up Breck” community thank you event throughout Breck, with town and ski area management staff on hand to provide complimentary coffee and exclusive commemorative Breck mugs at local coffee shops throughout town. The giveaway begins at 7a.m. and continues only while supplies last! Find the list of participating coffee shops at Breckenridge.com/Wake-Up-Breck.

New this year, Wake Up Breck is being sponsored by EpicPromise, the Company’s new sustainability brand to engage Summit County locals and guests in one of its core values, “Do Good.” To celebrate the launch of EpicPromise locally, Breckenridge Ski Resort is making a donation – $1 for every mug – to Trout Unlimited for the work the organization is doing to restore Illinois Gulch, a special place near Breckenridge that is contaminated with mine waste and pollution. Learn more at www.epicpromise.com

STAY CONNECTED
Visit Breckenridge.com for terrain updates, snow reports, lodging deals, event details and the lowest priced lift tickets guaranteed. Stay connected all season long and learn more about Breckenridge Ski Resort at www.facebook.com/Breckenridge watch official resort videos at www.YouTube.com/Breckenridge, and follow @Breckenridgemtn on Instagram and Twitter.

Vail Resorts create new programs for women

Despite making up over half the population of the United States, women only make up 40 percent of alpine skiers and only 32 percent of snowboarders according to participation data from SnowSports Industries America (SIA).

Vail Resorts, the world’s leading mountain resort operator, announced a new company initiative to increase women’s participation in skiing and snowboarding.  Vail Resorts created a number of new programs and products, available for the 2014-15 winter ski and ride season.

  • Vail Resorts’ Ski & Ride Schools will offer the Women’s Ultimate 4, a lesson for women where they can join fellow women and a female coach to learn or brush up on skiing in a small-group setting, from the foundation-building basics of a “first-timer” class (open to all), to navigating the easiest greens, to sharing tactics and camaraderie on mountain green and blue runs. Women’s Ultimate 4 lessons will be offered at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado, Park City and Canyons in Utah, and Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe.
  • Select resort Ski & Ride Schools will also offer four-hour lessons for women, providing ample time for the drop-off and pick-up times of their kids’ lessons, as well as “Mommy & Me” lessons, where instructors spend time with the mother and the child, reviewing what the child is working on and providing tips on how to continue to develop the child’s skills.
  • The comments also spurred Vail Resorts to create Prima, a personalized concierge service to assist with every aspect of the vacation experience for the company’s most loyal Brazilian guests of Vail and Beaver Creek.

10 reasons Breckenridge is one of best ski resorts

The changing leaves and colder temperatures can only mean one thing: Breckenridge Ski Resort’s opening is just around the corner.  With opening day set for Nov. 7, Breck is sharing the top ten reasons to get excited for the 2014-15 winter ski season at one of the most popular ski resorts in North America.

10. One of Colorado’s Best Ski Towns Breckenridge is world-renowned for its welcoming spirit and friendly locals.  With over 200 restaurants, bars, and shops and numerous year-round activities and events, Breck embodies more than just a destination; it inspires a way of life. And by the way, this 155-year-old historic hamlet and its famous Main Street are just steps from the ski resort – a location unmatched in the ski industry.

9. A New Colorado SuperChair. New this year, the Colorado SuperChair is getting an upgrade from a quad express to a six-passenger express to provide a 28 percent increase in capacity for Peak 8’s primary lift. This will help disperse skiers to the surrounding peaks and provide a faster route for skiers and riders traversing the resort.

8. This Season Marks 30 Years of Snowboarding at Breckenridge Ski Resort.  Beginning with the 1984-85 season, Breck became one of the first major ski resorts to allow snowboarding. This embrace of a wild new sport resulted in hosting one of the initial major snowboard competitions in the industry, one year later. Breck solidified its place at the very pinnacle of freestyle snowboarding and skiing with the addition of an Olympic-sized 22-foot superpipe, which anchors the resort’s award-winning Freeway Terrain Park. With four terrain parks creating a park progression system for beginners and intermediates, including the top-ranked Freeway Terrain Park and SuperPipe and the Park Lane Terrain Park, Breckenridge remains on the forefront of the industry.

7. World-renowned Ski SchoolThere are a variety of options for riders of all abilities at Breckenridge Ski and Ride School, including new camps this year. Private Lessons: The ultimate customized experience. Our pros will take up to six students and cater to the needs/wants of the participants.  A private lesson is a sure way to accelerate skills and progress with as much individual feedback as requested. Camps: This season guests can choose from four specialized camps: two women’s camps, Jan. 23-25 and Feb. 20-22, 2015; a ‘steeps’ camp, Feb. 27-Mar. 1, 2015; and the Kid’s Park and Pipe Camp, Feb. 20-22, 2015.

6. DoubleTree from A to Zzzz: A New All-Inclusive Package. Guests can enjoy the convenience of an all-inclusive resort from arrival to late night and receive lodging, food and drinks all for one low price when they book The Double Tree by Hilton Breckenridge’s All Inclusive Package. Grab a quick breakfast or lunch at the Made Market, enjoy house drinks, wine and draft beer for Après, or treat the family to a gourmet farm to table dinner at the 9600 Kitchen – all without having to get out your wallet!

5. Peak 6. Last season, Breckenridge Ski Resort added over 540 acres with its Peak 6 expansion just north of Peak 7. Peak 6 includes 400 acres of lift-served terrain and 143 acres of hike-to terrain, representing a 23 percent increase in resort’s skiable acres. Peak 6 features high-alpine, intermediate bowl skiing – a rare find in North America.

4. New on-mountain dining. The Peak 9 Restaurant will reopen as The Overlook with a renovated interior, including a new kitchen that will provide a warm, welcoming guest experience. In addition to The Overlook, the resort is introducing a mobile dining option, the Snowdrifter, which will change its location throughout the season.

3. Epic Pass. Breckenridge is part of the ski industry’s most valuable ski pass program. Vail Resorts offers multiple pass options for the 2014-15 season that include unlimited skiing or riding at Breck.

2. Exclusive special events. Breckenridge Ski Resort will feature signature events throughout the season – the Winter Dew Tour Championships, Dec. 11-14, 2014; the iconic Ullr Fest celebration of snow, Jan. 11-17, 2015; and the Spring Fever festival from March 21-April 19 (closing day). Returning Spring Fever Events include the Bud Light concert series (featuring acts such as Blues Traveler and The Dirty Heads in the past); the Throwback Throwdown snowboarding halfpipe competition with snowboarding legends (past and present); and the Breck Big Mountain Challenge.

1. Powder Days! Breckenridge received over 36 feet of snow during the 2013-14 season – including more January snow than any other U.S. resort – resulting in one of the longest ski seasons in its history.

Stay Connected
Visit Breckenridge.com for terrain updates, snow reports, lodging deals, event details and the lowest priced lift tickets guaranteed. Stay connected all season long and learn more about Breckenridge Ski Resort at www.facebook.com/Breckenridge watch official resort videos atwww.YouTube.com/Breckenridge, and follow @Breckenridgemtn on Instagram and Twitter

Vail Resorts offer Epic Pass discounts this Labor Day

Labor Day weekend in Colorado marks the official start of school and the unofficial start of ski season. Vail Resorts is celebrating this milestone with the last chance to purchase a 2014-15 season pass – including the Epic Local Pass – before prices go up on September 2, 2014.

“With unlimited, unrestricted access to Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin, three of Colorado’s most iconic mountains, and with 10 holiday-restricted days at Vail and Beaver Creek, there is no better value in Colorado skiing or snowboarding,” said Kirsten Lynch, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Vail Resorts.

  • The Epic Local Pass™: Enjoy unlimited, unrestricted skiing or riding at Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado, Afton Alps in Minnesota, and Mt. Brighton in Michigan. Access also includes Canyons in Park City, Utah; Heavenly, Northstar, and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe, with limited restrictions. The Epic Local Pass also includes ten days at Vail and Beaver Creek, with holiday restrictions. At $549 for adults and $279 for children, the Epic Local Pass pays for itself in just under four days.
  • The Summit Value Pass™Unlimited skiing or riding at Keystone and Arapahoe Basin all winter for $469 for adults. This pass also includes limited restrictions at Breckenridge. The Summit Value Pass pays for itself in just under four days.
  • Keystone A-Basin Pass™: Unlimited skiing at Keystone and A-basin with limited holiday restrictions. This is the best deal for unlimited skiing in Colorado and, at just $289 for adults, pays for itself in just under three days.
  • The Epic Pass™: Unlimited skiing all winter for $729. Enjoy unlimited skiing or riding at 11 resorts including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado; Canyons in Park City, Utah; Heavenly, Northstar, and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe; Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan.  No blackout days or restrictions apply.  Pass holders can also enjoy up to five consecutive free days each at Les 3 Vallées, France (Courchevel, La Tania, Méribel, Brides-les-Bains, Les Menuires, Saint Martin de Belleville, Val Thorens and Orelle) and Verbier, Switzerland when booking in-resort lodging. New for winter 2014-15, Epic Pass purchasers will have access to five complimentary consecutive days at Niseko, Japan–known as one of the snowiest and most celebrated powder skiing resorts in the world.  The Epic Pass pays for itself in just over five days.

#Winter2014: Colorado skier visits surge to 12.6 million, a new record

During the past winter, Vail and other Colorado resorts welcomed more skiers and snowboarders than ever, thanks, in part, to disappointing snowfall at resorts in California. (Photo By Andy Cross/The Denver Post)

During the past winter, Vail and other Colorado resorts welcomed more skiers and snowboarders than ever, at least in part due to disappointing snowfall at resorts in California. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post)

By Jason Blevins
The Denver Post

Colorado ski resorts broke a visitation record in 2013-14, thanks to an early start, a late finish, a drought in California and, of course, steady snowfall all season.

The state’s 25 ski areas logged 12.6 million visits, up 10 percent from last year — the strongest year-over-year surge in recent history and an 8 percent increase over the five-year average. The 2013-14 season is now the benchmark, unseating the 12.56 million high set in 2006-07.

“It’s been eight years and a Great Recession since the last new visitation record, and that feels great,” said Melanie Mills, president of resort trade group Colorado Ski County USA, which announced the season’s visitation at its 51st annual meeting at Copper Mountain.

Visitation was up across all categories, with the number of out-of-state skiers growing alongside international visitors and pass-wielding locals.

While California skiers have long ranked as a top market for Colorado resorts, the snow-gobbling drought there fueled a double-digit percentage increase in Californians on Colorado ski slopes this season.

Colorado resort leaders never wish a decimating season on their peers from other states, but there’s hope the 2013-14 season might turn some California skiers on to Colorado.

“We think that all those visitors that came to Colorado had a great experience,” Mills said, “and we think that gives us an opportunity to get them back.”

Colorado Ski Country’s 21 member resorts saw 7.1 million visits in 2013-14. Vail Resorts’ Vail, Breckenridge, Beaver Creek and Keystone ski areas drew 5.5 million visits.

Vail, the nation’s largest resort operator, last month reported solid growth in the 2013-14 season, despite poor performance at its California resorts, with visitor spending reaching near-records on increases in lessons, lift tickets, dining and retail.

Colorado’s ski communities reported strong spending during the season as well, with many resorts — like Vail, Aspen, Breckenridge and Telluride — posting record sales-tax revenues for the ski season.

Mills said member ski resorts enjoyed similar boosts in spending.

“A number of member resorts had a record year (for revenues), and everybody had a strong year,” she said. “It was the perfect snowstorm this year, with a snow message that started early and it was authentic … we just had snow every month.”

Monarch ski area saw a record 190,000 visits, up from 168,000 the previous year, spokesman Greg Ralph said. The Chaffee County hill harvested record revenues too, Ralph said.

Aspen Skiing Co.’s four Roaring Fork Valley ski areas posted the highest visitation since 1997-98, company spokesman Jeff Hanle said. Lodges in both Aspen and Snowmass saw highest-ever occupancy in March, with the season falling just shy of the all-time occupancy record set in 2006-07, said Bill Tomcich, president of Stay Aspen Snowmass, the reservation hub that books lodging across the valley.

“We had a really good start and an incredible finish,” Tomcich said.

Colorado’s skier visitation growth bested the 6.4 percent annual increase for the Rocky Mountain region, which includes resorts in Utah, Montana and New Mexico.

The snow was a blessing, and the international media’s sensationalized focus on Colorado when the state legalized recreational marijuana in January certainly helped.

Mills called legalized marijuana “the PR event of the year and the operational nonevent of the year,” meaning resorts barely noticed the new laws but welcomed the attention.

“From a PR perspective,” Mills said, “we did not view it as a negative that everyone was talking about Colorado as of January first.”

Jason Blevins: 303-954-1374, jblevins@denverpost.com or twitter.com/jasonblevins