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Skier visits to Utah down 6.5 percent this year

Skier visits to Utah down 6.5 percent this year

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Despite great snowfall, Utah's ski industry took a hit this past season.

Ski days, a measure of individual skiers visiting resorts, were down 6.5 percent from the year before. They were at their lowest level since the 2004-2005 season.

"This year was just a tricky year in so many different ways," Ski Utah President Nathan Rafferty said.

Still, he says it's hard to even call this an average year; it was still the fourth busiest all-time.

"All things being equal, I think we're pretty excited about how things turned out," he said.

Rafferty says early snow in the northeast didn't help, and the economy kept people closer to home. He's optimistic about next year.

The only region of the country to experience an increase in skier visits was the Southeast, which has the smallest share of the ski industry market. By contrast, resorts in the Rockies, the Pacific West and the Midwest saw declines in the 7 to 8 percent range. The Northeast was down about 2 percent.

Nationally, resorts near major cities such as Salt Lake City tended to fare better than destination resorts because of strong season pass sales.


Story compiled with information from Andrew Adams and the Associated Press.

(Copyright 2009 Bonneville International Corporation. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or distributed. AP contributed to this report.) AP Rights & Restrictions

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