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June 22, 2009

Utah Resorts See Drop of 6.5% Year Over Year in Skier Visits (h/t First Tracks)

From First Tracks Online:

Salt Lake City, UT - Ski Utah reported today that skier visits at its 13 member resorts were down 6.5% year over year in 2008-09. A record season in 2007-08, however, meant that 2008-09 was nonetheless the state's fourth best ski and snowboard season on record.

A total of 3,972,984 skier days made business during the 2008-09 ski season busier than any in Utah prior to 2005. The 2008-09 winter breaks a string of five consecutive record ski seasons in Utah, and in fact nine of the busiest ski seasons in the state's history have occurred within the past decade. A skier day is generated by one person visiting a ski area for all or any part of a day or night for the purpose of skiing.

Nationally, total skier visits were down 5.5 percent to just over 57 million skier days from the previous year’s all time record of 60.1 million skier days, according to a preliminary survey conducted by RRC Associates for the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA). The survey also suggested that the Rocky Mountain Range (Colo., Idaho, Mont., N.M., Utah and Wyo.) experienced a 7.2 percent decline down to 19.8 million visits from 21.3 million visits during the 2007-08 winter season. The region’s decline could be attributed to a strong and early snow season on the East Coast, causing many snow riders to choose resorts closer to home in an effort to cut back on travel expenses.

5.5% for the country and 6.5% for Utah is not that bad all things considered. I keep expecting it to be worse than it really was. Still close to pre-2005 record numbers for the country as a whole.

Posted by Justin at 07:37 PM | Comments (2)

June 08, 2009

Snowbowl Finally Prevails - Snowmaking Will Not Start This Season

The Snowbowl Ordeal is finally over once and for all:

The United States Supreme Court on Monday turned down a request by several Arizona Indian tribes to stop a Flagstaff ski area from making artificial snow from treated wastewater on the San Francisco Peaks.

The case has bounced through federal court for several years, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals considered the case twice, first siding with the Native Americans, who revere the mountains as sacred sites. Last August, the Appeals Court reconsidered in favor of the management of Arizona Snowbowl.

At issue is whether religious groups can trump the mandated multiple uses of federal land by the general public. Snowbowl sits in the Coconino National Forest, not on Indian land.

Several Native American tribes, including the Navajo, who were the lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit, the Hopi, Hualapai, Havasupai, and Apaches, believe using reclaimed wastewater there was tantamount to dumping sewage on their sacred sites.

The Indians and supporting environmental groups took the case to the Supreme Court, which discussed the case in closed conference last Thursday. On Monday the news was posted that the court had turned down the case, letting the lower court decision stand.

The decision essentially clears the way for Snowbowl to make artificial snow, although it won't happen this season.

The only real surprise in the whole thing was the first 9th Circuit ruling that likened snowmaking with treated wastewater to using sewer water at a Christian baptism. It makes you wonder what crack that judge was smoking.

Congrats to Snowbowl and cannot wait for them to get snowmaking installed and open the new terrain.

Posted by Justin at 12:23 PM | Comments (1)

June 07, 2009

Summer Getting Started - Awaiting Camp Trip to Wyoming

Not a lot going on as you can tell by the complete lack of posting. I am working to sell the condo, we are selling our house, and we are moving to a little more comfortable digs on the outskirts of Phoenix (not that we weren't already in the outskirts).

I am officially out of work as of probably next week and am living off of severance while looking for a new job. It isn't a bad deal and has given me some time to think about and prioritize my life some. Gone is the condo and the overpriced house. Casualties of the housing collapse in Phoenix and Brian Head as well as of my downsizing.

One real plus of the developments has been that I have been able to cut my fixed monthly expenses significantly and this will make it easier for me to travel. I am also unloading the place at Brian Head which will make it more likely that I will be able to ski more at Wolf Creek and in Utah at other resorts.

The economy ain't great my friends. But as will most addicts, I will find a way to get to the slopes as often as time and money permit. The plus side is that I can focus on deals even more... if that is a plus side.

Not much else is new. Just preparing for our annual camp trip to Shell Lake, Wyoming, and watching the snowpack sensors drop every day. Leaving in three weeks.

Posted by Justin at 10:13 PM | Comments (1)