A private investment group led by California businessman Howard Katkovs announced June 1 it had purchased Red Mountain Resort near Rossland.
Katkov, who believes the resort has enormous potential, has ambitious development plans for Red Mountain: In the next 15 years he plans to build an additional 1,300 accommodation units, add 70,000 square feet of commercial space, and more than triple the mountains skiable terrain to 4,200 acres.
The major focus of the next two years will be expanding beginner and intermediate terrain by installing new lifts and reinvigorating the base area through the construction of a new skier services centre and at least two multi-unit lodges. This summer there are plans to add a magic carpet, develop a terrain park and remodel Paradise Lodge.
Whistler resident Brent Harley, of Brent Harley and Associates Inc., was involved in designing the mountain and village master plans. He is enthusiastic about the change in ownership: "I think its great. The money was a long time coming for the resort."
The purchase of the resort was contingent upon the approval of the official community plan, a guide to the resorts future development.
Colorado reports over 11.2 million skier visits
Colorado ski areas are reporting 11.2 million skier visits for the 2003-04 season.
Though a 3.4 per cent decrease from last year, Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) President and CEO Rob Perlman was enthusiastic about a number of positive trends: "For the first time in seven years, Colorado posted a slight increase in out-of-state skier visits, which represent more than 60 per cent of the total skier visits for the state. Colorado remains the market share leader, annually capturing approximately 20 per cent of the total skier visits nation-wide."
According to Perlman, Colorado experienced strong demand from traditional domestic core markets, for example Texas and California, as well as an increase in visits from non-traditional markets such as Alabama and Wyoming.
Colorado also enjoyed a resurgence from core international markets, with Australia and New Zealand both increasing by 41 per cent and Germany increasing by 38 per cent over the 2002-03 season.
Perlman attributed the slight decline in total skier visits to a slower season start and to an unusually warm spring. "March is typically the snowiest month of the season and even with awesome spring skiing and riding conditions throughout the state, it is challenging to keep Coloradoans skiing when the temperatures are 80 degrees in Denver."
The CSCUSA also announced the results of a study outlining the economic impact of the states ski industry: The results indicated that skiers in Colorado spend $2 billion-$2.5 billion annually, with up to two-thirds of those expenditures being captured by local businesses within the resort communities.
British Columbia and Yukon ski areas and heli-ski operations counted approximately 5.5 million skier visits in the winter of 2002-03.