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Expect early start to the 2018 summer tourism season

June is way up and everything else looking solid

By Cayla Vidmar

Based on information from the Gunnison-Crested Butte Tourism Association, the Crested Butte-Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce and Crested Butte Mountain Resort, June lodging and tourism numbers are looking up from last summer, meaning the busy season will start a little earlier in our neck of the woods.

“We’re really psyched for June, which is not that big a month historically,” said John Norton, executive director at the Tourism Association, with June hotel occupancies up 24 percent across Crested Butte over last year. Ashley UpChurch, executive director at the chamber of commerce, echoed those sentiments, saying, “Early June looks like it’s going to be quite busy.”

Three large groups are coming into town June 2-10, and will be staying at CBMR-owned properties. These groups range from 135 to 400 people, bringing June lodging for CBMR up 86 percent over last summer. “A stellar June combined with July and August pacing on par to last year, with ample booking time for summer reservations, means we expect another strong summer season at CBMR,” said senior marketing manager Erica Rasmussen of CBMR.

According to Rasmussen, these groups will have free time in the evenings, meaning they will likely be cruising around town shopping, dining and enjoying spring in the Rockies.

CBMR will also host the Rocky Mountain Corvair Society of America June 8-10, complete with a Corvair car show on Elk Avenue June 9, marking the first time the event has been to Crested Butte.

Crested Butte Bike Week ticket sales are on par with previous years according to UpChurch. CB Bike week is June 20-24 this year. One big addition to the already popular event is a Big Mountain Enduro leg on June 23-24. They will share Bike Week’s vendor garden, but their event will not affect any of the Bike Week races.

Looking ahead to the rest of the summer, CBMR is up 15 percent in lodging bookings overall, and up 37 percent in wedding groups and wedding lodging compared to last summer’s total numbers, according to Rasmussen.

The TA is showing that we’re ahead 14 percent over last year in July bookings, meaning more people are booking earlier. Norton noted that the upper valley can’t actually grow 14 percent in July because of the already high bookings, but this number reflects 14 percent more bookings for July ahead of this time last year. “We might grow 5 percent in July at the end of the day,” says Norton. These numbers do not reflect VRBO bookings, as the TA doesn’t have a way to track those numbers yet.

Due to the dry conditions in the Crested Butte valley, UpChurch is predicting that town will be busier compared to last season because the wildfire conditions might deter would-be campers, bringing them into town lodging instead.

According to DestiMetrics, a business intelligence platform that tracks lodging in resort destinations, summer occupancy rates for Colorado resort towns are up 4.2 percent with an increase of 7.1 percent in summer revenue, both compared to this time last year. It will be a busy summer season in the Rockies.

CBMR will open for the summer season on June 9; stay tuned for specifics on Evolution Bike Park trail openings, and hiking.

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