2008 Annual Ski Area COO Breakfast

Date: Oct. 27th, 2008

On October 22, 2008 area resort operators hosted their annual COO Breakfast.  The breakfast is an extremely popular event for locals as each resort gives a glimpse of what to expect for the upcoming season.  Highlights from this meeting include the following:

Ralf Garrison – Advisory Group
Ralf opened the 2008 Annual Ski Area COO Breakfast with an update on mountain travel as it relates to “Joe” the skier for the 2009 ski/ride season. Highlights from his presentation include:

  • Current market leaves the average consumer with a lack of confidence. As history demonstrates, consumer confidence is key when forecasting future buying patterns related to discretionary buying habits.
  • Vacation and travel could be viewed as a discretionary purchase.
  • Last winter we had a record 60.5 million visits to the Colorado high country during the downturn of the economy…so why were visits up during this downtime?
  • Ralf believes the “core” skier/rider needs their annual ski trip and is not view as “discretionary”. He went on to show a variety of graphs to prove his point. His stats support the locals opinion that good snow trumps a bad economy; and if the farmer’s almanac is correct we are looking at an above average snow fall!
  • This year we will see the “core” return, the less committed drop off, advance reservations will be down with increased last minute stays with shorter stays expected in 2009.

Gary Rodgers – Copper Mountain
Gary was extremely excited from last year’s season and looks forward to another great year of snow in 2009. Gary gave us a glimpse of what to expect for the upcoming season in Copper:

  • Upcoming events: US Free Skier Open, USASA Nationals, Snowboard Grand Prix, Special Olympics Colorado.
  • Focused on recruiting word wide talent “play makers” to work the mountain this season as they continue to focus on creating a word class experience on their mountain.
  • Carpooling: go to for details on close in parking for carloads of four or more.
  • Increased their grooming capabilities for 2009
  • Added Black Bear Glades for increased tree skiing
  • On August 12th the county approved the Copper PUD. This allows Copper to move forward with future projects
  • The Barn – Woodward Action Sports Facility is under construction. The facility will feature 19,000 square feet of indoor training equipment for terrain and pipe riders. Scheduled to open January 15, 2009.

Patricia Campbell – Keystone Resort
Patricia gave us a glimpse of all the new additions at Keystone:

  • New River Run Gondola: this new gondola will be ready for opening date on November 7th 2008. This new gondola will be 100 yards closer to the parking lots and eliminate the “trail of tears” visitors experienced as they crossed the bridge and headed up the hill for the final push to the old gondola.
  • The new gondola features: 32 Towers, 119 eight person cabins, will be able to move 2400 people per hour, and now has a mid mountain access point. In addition, skiers and riders can download and thus reduce the traffic during the last run of the day.
  • As a result of the new gondola; the Green Light has turned into a customer relations building and the rental office has been moved to a temporary location.
  • The 36 hours of Keystone will be replaced by an early season concert series featuring 3 concerts in the new parking lot.
  • The Keystone terrain park; A-51, was awarded sty the #4 best park in the US by Trans World.
  • Ski School: Vail resorts are offering Front Range skiers the Family Freedom Pack. This includes 4 lessons to anyone in the family for $225 during the year and includes “close” in parking passes
  • Carpool to Keystone: with four or more in your car receive preferred parking in the Montezuma lot.
  • What to look for in the future: Phase II of the new Gondola will include a new skier bridge over the river and into the village

Lucy Kay – Breckenridge Resort
Lucy was very excited to announce the upcoming events at Breckenridge along with the new activity centered around Peaks 7&8:

  • New for Developments for Peaks 7&8 – Grand Lodge, One Ski Hill Place, and the recently completed Crystal Peak Lodge.
  • Added two new trails and snowmaking to Peak 7
  • Peak 8 – started construction on One Ski Hill Place. This will be a signature develop for Vail resorts. However, they have a huge hole in the ground for the upcoming season. This has eliminated the parking on Peak 8.
  • AST DEW TOUR (Dec 18-21): This is the single largest event Breckenridge has ever hosted. This event will take place on Peak 8. Therefore, for the first time in 20 years opening date will take place on Peak 8 as opposed to the traditional opening of Peak 9. They are looking to have Peak 9 open by Thanksgiving.
  • Future Expansion: Peak 6 – this is the last piece of the puzzle. Peak 6 will give Breckenridge 450 acres of much needed intermediate terrain. This expansion will be very comparable to Peak 10. Breckenridge is currently assembling a “public” task force to address the social and local impacts of Peak 6.

Alan Henceroth – A-Basin Ski Resort
Alan gave us a brief overview of last year along with “What’s New” for the upcoming season:

  • Record year last year as A-Basin grew by 80% in size.
  • With record numbers came growing pains; therefore the upcoming season will be focused on increasing customer services
  • Added snowmaking to Sundance, this will give more snow to a “green” run and accommodate beginning skiers
  • New Deck on Black Mountain Lodge. Great views and popular wedding venue this past summer
  • Added 300 new parking spots, a new pedestrian tunnel under HWY 6, and two new shuttles to transport skiers and riders from the upper parking lots
  • Upcoming Events: Opened October 15th, The Grind, May Concert Series, Closing June 8th
  • What to look for in the future: replace the Exhibition Lift and add the new “Grizzly” parking lot