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Shelley Osterloh ReportingThe weather today was perfect for a day on the slopes, and local ski resorts were busy. This holiday weekend --- and with the Christmas holiday --- is helping make this a great winter for the ski industry.
The 2003-2004 winter season is turning out to be good one for Utah resorts, primarily because of one key ingredient.
Colby Cooley, Salt Lake City: "Lots of snow probably."
The snow came early in December; cold temperatures kept it on the slopes. And those temperature inversions in the valley often drive folks to the mountains.
Barbara Holley, Sandy: “Oh it’s awesome today. The sun’s been great. The weather it’s warm. The snow is perfect. Come on up!"
The parking lot at Brighton was packed. Resort operators expect good numbers for the whole weekend.
Carol Garner, Spokesperson Brighton Ski Resort: "With weather like this and the snow like we've been having, I think its going to be a real nice season for us, and hopefully for the whole industry."
Deer Valley says its numbers are up from last year. It sold out yesterday and today, and stopped selling lift tickets at 5500 skiers.
While it’s important to get skiers on the hill, at resorts like The Canyons it’s also important to fill the hotels, and this weekend they are booked. The Canyons says its skier numbers are up substantially thanks to great snow, increased advertising and exposure due to the Olympics.
Katie Eldridge, Public Relations, The Canyons: "People have heard how great the snow is in Utah this year. So they are booking they are coming out in March they are coming out in April. So we are expecting to finish strong here in The Canyons."
Nathan Rafferty, Ski Utah: "We are seeing very positive numbers. Over Christmas break a lot of people broke records, and obviously the snow has been fantastic. So we should see a record year this year."
After last season's dismal snow conditions and the Olympics the year before, this winter's skier numbers seem to be back on track. Utah's best season ever was in 2000 -- 2001 with 3.2 million skier days. Ski Utah predicts this season will be slightly better.