Snow secondary concern for ski country

Allen Best

PARK CITY – With Utah closing in on 3.4 million skiers, a record season, The Park Record began asking who and what deserves credit. Oddly, snow conditions did not top the list.Kip Pitou, president of Ski Utah, said the message about snow is more important than the actual snow. Ski Utah doubled its purchase of national advertising to 65 pages during this winter, he said. Individual resorts now occupy spaces where the equipment manufactures peddled their goods. Despite what the National Ski Areas Association is saying, Pitou says that the ski industry remains flat, and the business plan is all about stealing market share away from other ski resorts.If quoted correctly, Pitou takes some odd routes through recent history in advancing his argument that advertising trumps snow. If snow conditions actually matter all that much, he says, then the 2002-2003 season would have been a sluggish one in times of skier visits. It wasn’t – instead, it was the third best ever for Utah resorts in Utah, and tops for the county in which Park City is located.And, if snow trumps advertising, then this past winter should have been far and away the best. It was, but not far and away. Snow in November and December was very good.Not addressed in any of this analysis is the role of the Olympics in stimulating skier visits in later years. But the story in Utah, and seemingly in Colorado as well, is that the state government doesn’t provide heaps of marketing money to the tourism industry. New signs of pollution found in RockiesESTES PARK – The word “pristine” gets used with monotonous regularity when describing Rocky Mountain National Park. But new evidence suggests it’s a relative word.New studies, reports The Denver Post, reveal air currents swirling around the peaks are delivering a rain of mercury, pesticides, insecticides and other long-lasting chemicals that slowly build up in the park’s forests, lakes, soils, and fish. For example, one study shows mercury accumulating in the trout of high lakes and streams. Another study suggests pollutants coming from even other continents. Some of the chemicals found in the park’s snow and lake sediments show pesticides and herbicides. Among the chemicals found were PCBs, which have been banned for decades in the United States. That suggests that the chemicals are coming from Asia. “The reason we’re looking at parks is basically they are indicators of what might be occurring in other places,” said Donald Campbell, a researcher with the U.S. Geological Survey in Denver.

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