Summit County ski resorts are on track to exceed last year’s record-breaking profits, putting the unexpected revenue toward summertime expansion and keeping the region’s economic growing trend on track.
County-wide, sales tax revenues for 2015 rose significantly from 2014. Taxable sales from short-term lodging, retail, and restaurants generated most of the increase. Breckenridge’s taxable sales rose by 10%, Silverthorne’s and Frisco’s each by 13%, and Dillon’s by a whopping 32%. This is a great indicator of a booming economy and the county’s influx of of residents and tourists willing to spend money.
The federal government collected a record-breaking $23 million in “rent” from 22 Colorado ski areas, which pay a revenue-based fee for operating on U.S. Forest Service Land. That groundbreaking number indicates that Colorado’s 2014-2015 season was the best season to date.
Early reports indicate that revenues for the 2015/2016 ski season are trending as strong as the 2014/2015 season. Vail Resorts, the largest player in our state’s ski industry, closed its second quarter on January 31, 2016 with a 27% increase over the previous year. The company exceeded Wall Street expectations by more than $12 million. This may be attributed to a 10% increase in the number of visitors to the company’s resorts as well as its recent acquisition of Park City Mountain Resort.
The success of the ski resort affects the success of our mountain towns— and neither seem likely to wane anytime soon. Copper Mountain, Vail, and Breckenridge are upping the ante for summertime, creating and expanding on available activities in what used to be considered “off-season.” Don Dressler, who oversees the ski resorts for the Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region, told the Summit Daily that he expects utilization of Breckenridge and Vail to increase significantly this summer.
This expected increase in summer traffic is due to the improvements Vail Resorts plans to make. Vail will get a Fun Park similar to Breckenridge’s, complete with an alpine coaster, zip line canopy tour, and environmental education programs. Breckenridge will be adding a new 500-seat restaurant at the top of Peak 7 and expanding its summer Epic Discovery Center.
These improvements benefit more than the ski resorts. The spillover impacts local business, particularly the lodging, retail, and restaurant businesses. Ultimately, the whole country benefits as Summit County becomes known as a year-round destination – and a great place to call home!