Aspen Skiing Co. expects to lose most international business this winter – Aspen Times

From left, Simone Gately, Archie Kennedy and Dennis Gately, all from Australia, ride the Exhibition Chairlift at Highlands in February 2008. Australia has been Aspen’s top international market for several years.

Aspen Skiing Co. officials are acknowledging that one of their bread-and-butter markets could be reduced to crumbs this winter.

International travelers comprise between 10 and 20 percent of Skico’s annual skier visits, typically fluctuating due to the strength of the U.S. dollar relative to other currencies and the condition of the world economy. But international travel has been highly restricted by governments around the globe and airlines have drastically cut back on international flights in response to the coronavirus crisis. No change in conditions is anticipated soon.

“January is going to be significantly impacted by our lack of international,” Rich Burkley, Skico senior vice president of strategic planning, said at a community teleconference meeting last week in Aspen. “We’re expecting international business to be about zero.”

The loss of international business is particularly tough because overseas visitors tend to stay longer and ski more days during their vacations.

Skico hasn’t released exact international business numbers publicly for several years for competitive reasons. In the winter of 2006-07, international business accounted for 18% of 1.44 million skier visits, company officials said at the time.

Aspen and Vail are among resorts