Utah ski industry optimistic about upcoming ski season

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The slumping economy raises serious questions for the Utah ski and snowboard industry. People who work in the ski industry say they're optimistic, but they're realistic about the impact of the economy.

Worldwide, the ski and snowboard industry could be looking for a lift this winter. From the Rockies to the Alps, resorts brace for a skid but hope for a blizzard of business.

Utah ski industry optimistic about upcoming ski season

"There have been cancellations, as of late, due to the economic crisis we're in. But I think that when the snow falls, people get excited, they're going to ski," said Adam Barker, spokesman for the Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau.

A spokeswoman for the Park City Lodging Association says it doesn't keep specific stats, but she hears early bookings are down anywhere from 10 to 15 percent to as much as 40 percent.

Snow riders may plan four-day weekend trips rather than week-long vacations. "That's where we have an advantage over a bunch of other destinations, in that we are a legitimate three-day weekend destination. They're time crunched and money crunched," Barker said.

So, in-town lodging and creative package deals will pop up.

Snowbird says bookings are down slightly, season pass sales are up, but they are offering discount deals on rooms in the Cliff Lodge into the Christmas holiday season.

Utah ski industry optimistic about upcoming ski season

According to Ski Utah, skier days topped $4 million for the third year in a row. Last season Utah hosted a record of 4.25 million skiers.

That pumps more than $700 million into the economy through lodging, passes, transportation and related expenses.

"Most importantly, we're coming off a record from last year, so that makes us cautiously optimistic for the upcoming season," Barker said.

Utah snow riding is affordable and accessible, and that may help our resorts more than other states.

For information on Utah's ski and snowboard resorts and their offers, click the related links.

E-mail: jboal@ksl.com

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Jed Boal


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