The Telluride Ski Resort set a record for the number of skier visits during the 2014-15 ski season, according to Telluride Ski and Golf President and General Manager Greg Pack.
“We had an incredible winter. We had a record season skier-visit-wise, revenue-wise, the whole bit,” Pack told Telluride Town Council members during a work session Tuesday.
“We are extremely excited given that our snow pack was, I think, 47 percent [of normal] at one point,” Pack added. “Everybody always says it’s snow. This year obviously it wasn’t. Telluride is sexy right now.”
The resort saw roughly 478,000 skier visits during the winter season, an increase over the previous season’s approximately 454,000 visitors and a sizable excess over the 470,000-visitor goal the resort’s management set for themselves.
Pack said that renewed marketing efforts on several target demographics helped create the record year, including increased attention to the Australian and South American markets during the month of January.
That bump is all the more remarkable because of the nature of the season’s snowfall, with intermittent big storms punctuated by extended periods of blue skies.
“We weren’t getting snow in January. It stopped for a month and a half,” Pack said.
Dallas was also a focus this season for the resort’s management, Pack said, with a big push to increase flights out of the Texas city and an extensive marketing campaign that even included recruiting area ski shops for their advice on billboard placement in choice zip codes.
The resort also focused on marketing strategies to drum up regional visitors from within driving distance, with the biggest percentage of those visitors coming from Durango, Farmington and Phoenix. Grand Junction, Pack noted, is not a big market for Telluride.
“We worked with the Telluride Tourism Board and tried to make sure we coordinated our marketing efforts. There was friction before, in the past, and I have to admit a lot of it was caused by my company. They were dysfunctional in a lot of ways, just as a company, and we’re working on that,” Pack told council members. The TTB is partially funded by the Town of Telluride to market the area.
“The sides weren’t talking to each other,” Pack said. “We need to make sure we’re good players with everybody. We haven’t been in the past.”
Council members reacted in appreciation of the humble acknowledgement.
“We totally appreciate the fact that you’re working so well with the tourism board,” said Telluride Mayor Stu Fraser.
Pack announced at the town council meeting that the man behind much of this season’s success, Vice President of Sales and Marketing Brad Larsen, announced his resignation on Monday in order to take up a job as the Resort General Manager at Idaho’s Tamarack Resort. And while that means the company will now have to search for his replacement, Pack also announced that the resort had successfully recruited a new PR and Communications Manager, Sharron Gibbs. Gibbs was previously a vice president at Ogilvy Public Relations based in Denver. She begins this week.
In a general sketch of projects on the horizon, Pack listed working on improving beginner and intermediate mountain bike trails, a zip line and more summer activity, including destination weddings and conferences. A project to upgrade the interiors of rooms at Big Billies is also in the works, as is collaboration with private developers on more workforce housing.