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'It's definitely changed the mood': Heavy snow in the mountains helps some community businesses

Friday's snowfall in the mountains helped out with the customer experience in various businesses and areas in Colorado's mountain communities.

ROUTT COUNTY, Colo. — Christmas Eve's snowstorm that hit Colorado's mountains may come as a headache for some having to clean their driveways, but it's an early present for those enjoying the outdoors, and for some business owners. 

"It was a slow start to the season. We were kind of hurting for snow for a long time. So now that it's finally here, it's definitely changed the mood and made some happy people out there," said Kris Allen, the owner of the longtime store Allen's Clothing in Steamboat Springs. 

The store has been around for more than 70 years, and Allen is the fourth generation of the family to own it. And he notices what the snowfall does for customers when they visit the town.

"Oh it's huge, yeah. Give people a good experience when they're out skiing and sledding – everything that Steamboat has to offer keeps them coming back to Steamboat," he said. "This is our busiest time of the year. It's kind of go time for us really turns the crank, so it's a good way to end the year."

Credit: Shannon Lukens
Snowblowing a sidewalk in Steamboat Springs Friday.

Some businesses may not have welcomed the heavy snow more than ski resorts like Winter Park Resort

"Yes, we have about a foot of snow in the last 24 hours, and we are excited and all of our guests are excited. Makes for a very nice early Christmas present," said the resort's communications manager, Jen Miller. "We we've been waiting. We've been very patient, so it's really nice to have new snow and have this much of it. And I think again, it's a welcome sight for the holidays."

She says so far this season they've had a decent crowd, but when it comes to people seeing the heavy snowfall, it makes an impact in some last second bookings. 

"There is there is a subtle message that goes out when people see snow. People want to get away and go on a winter vacation and go skiing or do other adventures in the snow. So it does have an impact on getting people to book when they see it," she said. 

She added that there is still a long season ahead. 

"I think people forget that winter really doesn't kick into gear, to high gear, until right around Christmas anyways. So I always say, you know, come back during the thick of winter, which is mid-December through through March," said Miller.

Credit: Winter Park Resort
A skiier at Winter Park Resort Friday

Chris Romer, the CEO of Vail Valley Partnership, said that the snowfall historically has had an impact on businesses because of last-minute bookings.

"Snowfall is our single biggest indicator for bookings within about a two week period of prior to arrival. Our booking volume has looked very, very strong going into the holidays and through the entire ski season, and that that last minute snowfall will and does make a big difference in the guest experience and makes a big difference in the quality of product we're able to do," he said. 

In November, the state shared the findings of the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis' annual 2020 report. It found that several traditional outdoor activities, including snow activities, saw a $410 million decrease in value added to the state's economy. 

Meanwhile, other outdoor recreation activities increased their impact on Colorado's GDP.

2021 at least saw snowfall just in time for the holidays, leaving business owners optimistic for 2022. 

Meanwhile, Romer asks those visiting the mountains to continue to show patience with businesses. 

Romer said, "Understand that there are a guest service challenges with workforce availability, and everyone needs to be patient and kind to each other."

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