The slopes at Durango Mountain Resort in Durango, Colo., saw more action as the season progressed after a slow start.
The slopes at Durango Mountain Resort in Durango, Colo., saw more action as the season progressed after a slow start. (John Livingston/The Daily Times)
FARMINGTON — Ski areas across the nation saw strong business during the 2012-13 season, according to a report from the National Ski Industry Association.

Skier visits rose 11 percent in the United States, but only 1.9 percent in the Rocky Mountain region.

The season started slowly in southwest Colorado, but picked up after the holidays.

"Despite the slow start to the season, overall Durango Mountain Resort was about on par with last season," said Kim Oyler, spokeswoman for the southwest Colorado resort.

"Thanks to help from Mother Nature and our mountain operations crew, Durango Mountain Resort was able to extend the season one additional weekend and closed on April 7," she said.

U.S. resorts experienced slow starts followed by strong snowfall in mid-December.

Snowfall for December nearly tripled that of the same month a year earlier. Snowfall was weaker in January, strong in February and about even in March, compared to 2012.

"It started real late," said Richard Bodiford, co-owner of End Industries, an Aztec shop that rents ski equipment. "We missed a lot of Christmas break business, but the middle picked up all right."

In a final insult, the Four Corners was blanketed with snow soon after Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort closed on April 7.

"We got some in early March and after the season closed it's been snowing left and right all over Colorado," Bodiford said.

The winter was the eighth-best for the Rocky Mountain region in the past 34 years, the report said. The association did not release data for individual resorts.

The national survey of resorts spotted other trends:

 

  • Snowboarding was down for the third straight winter. In 2012-13, snowboarders made up 29.6 percent of total visits.

     

  • Season pass sales dropped as more skiers bought daily tickets. Average season pass sales fell 4.3 percent.

     

  • Ticket prices rose. The average adult weekend ticket cost $86.17, up 4.3 percent.

    Snow sports remain popular, but resorts face a variety of challenges, the report said.

    "The popularity of skiing and snowboarding remains high, but weather conditions, economic headwinds, competition from other leisure activities, and other factors are contributing to the challenges ski areas face," the report said.

    Chuck Slothower can be reached at cslothower@daily-times.com; 505-564-4638. Follow him on Twitter www.twitter.com/DTChuck