COLORADO SPRINGS, Co. – Weeks after a busy ski season wrapped up for most mountains, camping reservations are outpacing 2018 numbers at state parks.
According to Colorado Ski Country USA, a trade association representing 23 resorts across the state, visits to its member resorts were up 13% from the previous year, and nearly 12% above the five-year average.
Although the season is still active for a few resorts, CSCUAS predicted the 2018-2019 season would set a new statewide record of 13.8 million visits.
“The 2018-19 season was one for the history books,” Colorado Ski Country USA President and CEO Melanie Mills said in a statement released last week. “Not only did the industry set a new statewide record for skier visits, but there were substantial investments in capital improvements across our member resorts and snowfall was plentiful across the entire state.”
And as the last of the snow outside the highest elevation fades, Colorado Parks and Wildlife reports an increase in camping reservations at state parks.
CPW spokesperson Travis Duncan says there are nearly 8,000 more overnight stays reserved, compared to the same time last year.
Through May of 2018, CPW had 57,033 camping reservations and 173,945 overnight stays reserved.
Through May of 2019, CPW had 62,679 camping reservations and 181,939 overnight stays reserved.
Drought conditions and fire restrictions doused any hopes of recreational campfires at all but a few locations across the state last year, but Duncan points out that the wet start to 2019 may not be the only factor driving more people to hit the road with their tents and trailers.
“It’s tough to say if that’s attributable to campfires or last year’s drought conditions. We suspect a majority of our parks switching to the ‘reservation-only’ system during that time has had a beneficial effect on our camping rates,” said Duncan.
15 additional parks switched to reservation-only camping in January of this year.
A total of 20 state parks now use that system, including several southern Colorado parks like Cheyenne Mountain SP, Mueller SP, Eleven Mile SP, and Lake Pueblo SP.