Utah expecting new skier attendance mark | VailDaily.com

Utah expecting new skier attendance mark

Allen Best

PARK CITY Ð Utah’s 13 ski resorts may top their three-year-old record of 3.3 million skiers.

Kip Pitou, president of Ski Utah, projects 3.4 million skier visits. This compares with about 11 million skiers visits in Colorado, where resort officials reported only a top-three finish as of late February, before a surge of warm weather.

Pitou credited good snow – and the absence of either the Olympics or a poor economy, which bogged numbers the last two years.

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Farm Bureau argues against new wilderness

SUN VALLEY, Idaho Ð In lobbying for a 5,000-acre designation of wilderness, a group of Wood River Valley business owners organized a letter-writing campaign arguing that wilderness brings more commerce. That, says a representative of the Idaho Farm Bureau, is a hasty conclusion.

John Thompson, the group’s director of information, says that less than 3 percent of people who recreate on National Forest land use wilderness areas, and even most wilderness users spend less than a day. Even so, they have 4.6 acres close at hand to Sun Valley to choose from.

“If there was some evidence to suggest that our existing wilderness areas are helping generate more commerce than other public lands, there might be an argument here,” he concluded. There is no such evidence, he said, nor evidence that will change with designation of additional wilderness.

Ski town Realtors swap notes

PARK CITY, Utah Ð The Rocky Mountain Resort Alliance recently met in Park City. The group was formed in 1996, after real-estate agents from ski towns of the West realized they had more in common with one another than they usually did with their state and regional organizations.

The focus, Park City real estate agent Dennis Hanlon explained to the Park Record, is to provide more relevant information. For example, Sun Valley agent Jed Gray reported near-record year in sales in 2003. Strongest was the $500,000 and under segment, a common theme in the resort towns (and also elsewhere).

At Jackson Hole, there is speculation that the new Four Seasons Resort, which opened in November, will bring a more well-heeled visitor to Jackson Hole than would ordinarily be willing to make an extra fight from Salt Lake City or Denver. That goes a ways, as Jackson Hole is already very well-heeled.

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