Christopher Nicolson, President of TSP, said the challenge for Sun Peaks was now to target visitors in the lead up to the holiday period.
“With 99 per cent occupancy, there isn’t much room to grow more than that. In terms of growth, now we need to look at dates like December 20 to 25.”
Nicolson said the Christmas period had delivered strong benefits to Sun Peaks in terms of retail, restaurants and accommodation.
Overall, Nicolson said visitor numbers for the 2014-15 winter season were up slightly from 2013-14, and tracking well for February as well.
“Going into January and February we’re pacing ahead of where we were last year.”
Nicolson said the early season snow quality also proved beneficial in terms of visitor numbers, particularly visiting racing teams.
“The value of the race teams to Sun Peaks really showed itself this year, when you look at how many returning teams and new teams came in. There were some heroics (from Sun Peaks Resort Corporation) to prepare the mountain and attract these race teams. The mountain crews did an exceptional job,” he said.
Nicolson said training Nordic teams at mid-mountain for the first time had also proved beneficial to businesses in Sun Peaks.
“Without those race teams, the early season would have been much more difficult.”
Sun Peaks Resort Corporation (SPRC) mountain operations manager, Jamie Tattersfield, said it had been an “encouraging” start to the season: “It seems like we’ve got a solid season underway.”
Tattersfield said the number of skiers and snowboarders was similar to this time last year, and credited the long holiday period caused by Christmas falling on a weekend in creating a consistent and steady peak season.
“Sports school, retail and rentals have been doing very well,” he said.