Ski Utah projects another strong ski season
The snow arrived late this year, but it played catch up by dumping continuously this past week.
According to Ski Utah, Park City snow depths are 16 percent above average for this time of year and the Cottonwood Canyons are 21 percent above average. Hilary Reiter, director of communications for Ski Utah, said the snow base in many areas is only a couple inches below last year’s beginning of December counts.
"The bottom line is that we have the same amount of snow as we did this time last year, regardless of when it decided to arrive," Reiter said. Reiter said even though last year was an exceptional ski season that will be hard to beat, bookings are on pace with last year.
"People are really going off the 700 inches we had last year," she said. "Utah is getting known as a destination that has really fantastic, consistent snow." Utah set a record of 3.9 million skier days last ski season, a 12 percent increase over the previous year. Bill Malone, executive director of the Park City Chamber/Bureau, said Park City’s three area resorts experienced 1.6 million skier days, an 11.8 percent over the previous year. In a "state of the ski industry" update earlier this week, Nathan Rafferty, president of Ski Utah, said statewide resort bookings are up 10 to 30 percent over last year. He said lodging bookings at The Canyons Resort are up 12 percent, 13 percent for Deer Valley and 27 percent for Park City Mountain Resort.
Reiter said according to nationwide tracking by the National Ski Areas Association, skier days across the country have remained steady, leveling off at about 57 million for the past eight to 10 years. "Utah is bucking that trend," Rafferty said, based on Utah’s past two consecutive record-breaking ski seasons. Reiter added that the Utah Office of Tourism recently awarded Ski Utah $94,271 as part of the Cooperative Marketing program. The grant is a chunk of the $2 million appropriated by the Utah Legislature this year to promote tourism from out-of-state. Reiter said Ski Utah will use most of the funds to pay for nationwide print advertising.
Ski Utah also offers new services for Utahns who want to receive snow report updates. Reiter said customers can sign up on the Ski Utah website, at http://www.skiutah.com, to receive customized emails and text messages. She said people can request specific resorts and can set the minimum amount of inches needed for them to be alerted.
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Park City Fire District Chief Paul Hewitt died Friday from injuries sustained in an off-duty accident earlier in the week, the agency announced.