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Dramatic decrease in skiers for 2011-12



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SALT LAKE CITY — It's no surprise that the numbers from Utah's ski season are dismal, but the lack of snow made for one of the worst years in the last decade.

Ski Utah reports that 10 percent fewer skiers took to the slopes this past season because of the lack of snowfall, at least one a ski rentals manager believes the attendance was far worse than that.

He sells day passes for nine resorts, and based on that information, Kevin Rogers at Canyon Sports said the decline is 23 percent compared to last season.

"It's these kinds of years - if we were to string another one like this together it could be really bad for the economy," Rogers said.

2011-12 ranked eighth in the past ten years, and Rogers said lack of local skiers is to blame. They knew all too well about the mild winter and chose not to hit the slopes.

"If it's been a bad year, and there's been a lot of buzz of low snow totals and warm weather, people are ready to move on. They don't want to ski in the spring," he said.

Total skier days over ten years

YearSkier DaysRank
2011-123,802,5368
2010-114,223,0642
2009-104,048,1535
2008-093,972,9846
2007-084,249,1901
2006-074,082,0943
2005-064,062,1884
2004-053,895,5787
2003-043,429,1909
2002-033,141,21211

Rogers said resorts struggled to sell lift tickets at regular price.

"If they can't do that until the middle or later of December, then right there you just lost 45 days-worth of revenue," he said.

Rogers says his two stores turned profits, but only after closing three others and reducing employees from 80 to 30. Ski Utah estimates 3.8 million people skied this winter, the third-worst total in the past ten years.

"It just needs to be affordable, knowing that the product—the snow—is subpar. If you to any other place and ask for a diminished product, you want to be able to pay respective of what you're getting."

Rogers also reminds us that last year's ski season was much longer than this year's, so the number of skier days could be inflated.

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Peter Samore

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