Rocky Mountain Resorts Pay More For Airline Seats

Posted by Andy Dennison
Andy Dennison
Andy started skiing at about three years old. His father Jim held him between hi
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on Tuesday, 20 November 2012 in News
Montrose Airport

A partnership between Crested Butte and Telluride to share the cost of jet service to Montrose Airport is one among several efforts to attract visitors despite rising airline costs.


The two western Colorado resorts have joined with Allegiant Air to bring nonstop, direct flights from Oakland, Calif., and Phoenix-Mesa airports into Montrose. Each resort is within two hours’ drive of Montrose Airport.


As an added incentive, the Colorado mountains offer a six-day pass for $399 good for three days at each resort – a 30 percent discount but must be purchased by Dec. 15. The multi-area pass joins a trend among Colorado resorts to offer skiing and snowboarding at more than one mountain.


The partnership between Telluride Tourism Board and Crested Butte Mountain Resort this fall pays out $650,000 with Allegiant Air for the twice-weekly flights from Oakland and Phoenix into Montrose all winter. 


Other airline-resort collaborations include Steamboat, which recently announced discounted flights into Yampa Valley Airport from 28 cities. Vail Resorts and area businesses in the Vail Valley have joined to subsidized 10 daily flights and additional weekend flights from nine cities into Eagle County Airport.


Rising fuel costs and seat vacancies -- plus the residue of the recession -- have forced many resorts to up the ante in order to guarantee that flights will continue to land at or near their mountains. Resort officials report that airline prices into their locales have risen around 15 percent in a year, yet the impact of direct flights from large cities like Dallas, New York and Los Angeles make increased investments in seat guarantees still cost effective for many of the larger resorts.


In Idaho, Sun Valley put its political power behind a 1 percent local option sales tax that would subsidize flights into the Wood River Valley. However, voters rejected the proposal in November’s election.


Photo: Montrose Airport (

Andy started skiing at about three years old. His father Jim held him between his legs and off they went down New England trails. Soon, Andy joined the Fourth Estate and moved to Colorado, thereupon finding work as a staff writer or editor for newspapers – including a stint as Ski Editor for the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph. In between, he designed and wrote public school curriculum, edited Concrete Pumping & Placing Magazine, and got a master’s degree in English. All the while, he skied. So, the marriage of snowsports and journalism has only been waiting for Andy to catch on. He’s glad he finally did.


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