Snowfall draws large crowds to high country businesses

LOVELAND, Colo. — A slow start to the 2013 ski season is picking up speed thanks to nearly a week of continuous snowfall, and that means larger crowds on the slopes and at high country businesses.

At Virgin Islands Ski Rental, profits are starting to rise due to increased snowfall. Business is up 10 to 15 percent this month.

Eli Robertson, the owner of Virgin Islands Ski Rental is optimistic about the rest of the year. “When it snows now, people plan their March vacation and as a result we have a busy March,” Robertson said.

The company has been in business for 37 years, and knows all too well that bare slopes mean slim coffers and extra work for ski repairers.

“People go across a lot of trees, a lot of rocks, so on the bottoms you have chunks taken out. The edges have to be redone,” said ski repairer Aaron White.

The winter snow also means more business at the Blue Moon Bakery in Silverthorne. The bakery gets between a 10 and 20 percent boost when it snows on the weekends.

“We open up at 7 a.m., and we’ve got people waiting outside to come in. They get up super early from Denver to drive up here,” said Matt Meehan, Blue Moon Bakery’s manager.

The recent snow is also giving people a real lift at Loveland Ski Area.

Last Saturday, 25 inches of snow fell, leading to 150 more acres of terrain and 13 more trails opening.

“The season started off on a slow start, but its picked up. Mother Nature has pulled through,” said Loveland spokesperson Duncan Maxwell. “We’ve had almost two feet of snow in the past week and we couldn’t be happier.”

It’s something skiers have been waiting for all season.

“What a gorgeous day. It’s like spring skiing here. I’m overdressed,” said skier Brian Bullock of Lone Tree.

It was Bullock’s first time skiing this year. Normally, he’d be swooshing down the slopes before Christmas.

“This was the first week where I saw enough snow falling, and I thought this is going to be a great day,” he said.

Skiers say the snow is wonderful, has mostly good cover and just has a few thin spots.

However, the drive back to the Metro area was not so wonderful this weekend. Electronic highway signs expected a one-hour delay on Saturday.