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SAM Magazine--Denver, Colo., March 12, 2004--Visits to resorts in Colorado were up 3.5 percent over year-ago levels in January and February, according to Colorado Ski Country USA. Areas recorded 4,982,652 visits during the period.

Destination visits led the rise. Destination resorts hosted 1,582,555 visits (a 6.1 percent increase over 2002-03) in January and February. Front Range destination resorts hosted 2,933,646 visits (a 2.6 percent increase) and the Gems/Front Range resorts, 466,451 visits (a 1.3 percent increase).

Year to date, visits totaled 7,652,257, just 1.2 percent behind the year-ago pace, but 8 percent better than the five-year average. Barring any unforeseen developments, Colorado is poised to surpass last year's visit total, when the war with Iraq depressed business, especially destination travel, during the last third of the season.