Another Strong Winter by Daily Planet

Posted: Wednesday, May 17, 2017 9:08 am

With March taxes finalized by both Telluride and Mountain Village, the winter season proved to be yet another record for the resort destinations, according to the Telluride Tourism Board.

For the December through March time frame, the Town of Telluride saw a sales tax increase of approximately 4.8 percent, while Mountain Village experienced an increase of 7.5 percent, producing a combined destination year-over-year jump of approximately 6.1 percent, a news release from the board said.

This equates to an increase of $6.9 million in gross taxable sales from the 2015-16 winter period to the same four months in 2016-17.

“December and January showed strong year-over-year increases for the destination, with double-digit growth in both months for Mountain Village and in January for Telluride,” said Michael Martelon, president and CEO of the Telluride Tourism Board. “February and March showed single-digit growth for both towns.”

Meanwhile, Colorado Flights Alliance reported year-over-year passenger growth of 6 percent on all flights and a 14 percent growth on all alliance-developed flights (excluding the Denver/Montrose flights).

“Economic development is our core mission, and we are glad to deliver to the community and region through continued air service growth and marketing support,” said Colorado Flights COO Matt Skinner. “The return of service to the Telluride airport and additions to Dallas and Phoenix routes were the key drivers to winter growth.

“We look forward to continued rounding of economic development with three year-round flights, including Dallas, and Denver to both Montrose and Telluride.”

In the news release, Telluride Ski Resort CEO Bill Jensen said that Telski saw a favorable increase in destination skier days for the 2016-17 season. Ski resorts typically don’t release specific data on skier visits.

“There was a small decline in season-pass visits primarily due to the delayed opening and below-average snowfall to mid-December. Overall it was the second-highest seasonal snowfall total in Telluride’s history,” he said in a prepared statement.

Here are some other winter economic trends as noted in the tourism board’s news release:

LODGING

Destination-wide lodging was up 9 percent, with a total tax revenue split of 72 percent in Mountain Village and 28 percent in Telluride. Mountain Village showed growth of 12.3 percent, while Telluride’s growth was 1.2 percent for the season.

Local lodging company Telluride Rentals saw a record season this past winter.

“There was a high number of repeat guests as well as a very noticeable amount of families who were discovering Telluride for the first time,” said Natalie Binder, general manager of Telluride Rentals. “Definitely an international clientele — from Europe and as far away as Singapore.”

RETAIL

In the retail segment, the destination saw a year-over-year increase for the season of 5.8 percent, with a total tax revenue split of 34 percent for Mountain Village and 66 percent for Telluride.

During the four-month period, Mountain Village posted an increase of 3.4 percent while Telluride’s was 7.1 percent.

“When I found out the ski area was going to open late I was concerned; but, our sales over the Thanksgiving week were actually better than last year,” said Wendy Basham, co-owner of Telluride Trappings & Toggery. “The locals and visitors that were in town during that week had time to walk around and shop so the beginning of our winter season got off to a strong start.”

“The rest of the winter season was very strong as well — and our sales continued to be right on track with last ski season,” Basham said. “What I noticed about the end of the season this year was that it continued to be very busy through closing day. For 29 years, we had always done inventory the last week of ski season. This season it was just too busy, so we waited until after spring break.”

RESTAURANTS

This segment saw one of the more interesting shifts, according to the news release, and much more parity among the two towns, with year-over-year growth of 4.3 percent and a total tax revenue split of 44 percent for Mountain Village and 56 percent for Telluride. Mountain Village posted an increase of 6 percent while Telluride saw a 2.9 percent increase for the winter.

Although guests chose to dine in Mountain Village more often this year during the second half of the season, Telluride saw some bright spots as well.

“Our food and beverage numbers over this past season set records,” said New Sheridan Hotel General Manager Ray Farnsworth. “From my perspective, we had excellent snow (however late), a growing average daily rate and happy guests. It’s a great combination.”

According to Mountain Village and Telluride town tax records, the 2016-17 season represents the fifth consecutive ski season for record sales taxes. “We are in a fortunate position in that if we can improve year-over-year tax revenue, we achieve another ‘personal best’ if you will,” Martelon said in the news release.