Web Cameras Boost Business at Utah's Ski Resorts

Web Cameras Boost Business at Utah's Ski Resorts

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John Hollenhorst reportingChristmas is coming. And there are lots of happy faces at Utah's ski resorts.

What's not to like? It's the best early snow we've had in years!

Snowbird woke up to a bunch of fresh snow. The third Monday morning in a row with at least a foot of new snow.

Aimee Toomey/ Centerville resident: "It's awesome. Lots of powder."

Jeff Nilsen/ Sandy resident: "It's definitely the best day of the year."

Matt Toomey/ Centerville resident: "Lots of new powder from yesterday. It's fun skiing."

It's the kind of early season people in the ski business dream about but haven't seen for years. It snows, and snows and snows again. 190 inches so far at Snowbird.

Laura Schaffer/ Snowbird Communications: "You know the season is making itself out to be as good as it's ever been. Bookings are really solid right now."

In the highly competitive ski industry, it's a big advantage to be able to not only brag about fresh snow, but to show it to people in their offices in, say, Chicago.

Almost every ski resort now has an internet website. They feature weather reports and, often, a live web-cam. Snowbird's camera is perched on the roof of the Cliff Lodge, feeding live real-time views to the Internet.

Liz McDonald/ Snowbird Web Manager: "I've heard from people who, they see the camera and they're like, 'Wow, I saw the snow and I saw that it was snowing and I jumped on the plane.'"

That's the new trend. People book ski trips at the last minute or on the spur of the moment.

Laura Schaffer: "Maybe people are just learning to be more spontaneous."

When he's back in Chicago, Bob Holman checks Snowbird's website daily. Seeing the place makes him eager to come here.

Bob Holman/ Chicago resident: "Very eager. We'd be out here all the time if we could."

It's like an Internet postcard from Utah. "Having Fun. Wish you were here."

Snowbird says the website is widely used in Utah, too. Many local skiers routinely check it for snow conditions before heading to the slopes.

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