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April 10, 2007

Statistics on Utah Skier Visits

I have added a new page with detailed statistics of Utah skier visits from the state's Demographic and Economic Analysis Department. Check out the new page and info. Here is the chart:

Some interesting info, but Skier Visits have increased dramatically since 2001.

Utah still lags far behind Colorado as a national ski destination, but the state has a ton to offer. I rec'd an e-mail today that said the following:

I was lucky enough to ski Breck in January and Snowbasin in March. What are your thoughts on Snowbasin? Skiied it on a Wednesday and Thursday. No lift lines and the two gondolas were awesome. Different atmosphere than Breck.

Check the stats for Snowbasin:

  • Vertical rise: 2,959 ft (902 m)
  • Average yearly snowfall: 400 in (10 m)
  • Total lifts: 12
    • 1 Tram
    • 2 Gondolas (high speed detachable)
    • 1 Quad chair (high speed detachable)
    • 4 Triple chair
    • 1 Double chair
    • 1 Magic carpet
    • 2 Hand rope tows
  • Total lift capacity: 14,650 people per hour
  • Skiable area: 2,650 acres

Compare this to Breck that receives roughly five times the number of skier visits on the same acreage. Here are Breck's comparable stats:

  • Vertical rise: 3,398 feet (1,036 m)
  • Average Annual Snowfall: 300 in
  • Total Lifts: 29
    • 2 high-speed 6-passenger SuperChairs
    • 7 high-speed quad lifts
    • 1 triple lift
    • 6 double lifts
    • 1 8-passenger gondola
    • 4 surface lifts
    • 8 carpet lifts
  • Total lift capacity: 37,880 people per hour
  • Skiable Area: 2358 acres

Utah is nearly untouched. Colorado gets 12M + skier visits per year to Utah's 4M. Alta-Snowbird is absolutely massive and Snowbasin, Solitude, Brighton, and the West Side resorts getting half as much traffic as Park City.

Long story short--Utah has far fewer people than Colorado and the resorts are much less crowded. Down side is that the nightlife is lacking (save Park City) and the beer flows like water--but it has the same alcohol content and tastes like water too. Utah has a very different feel than Colorado, but as far as pure skiing, I prefer Utah. No, I take that back--I prefer Alta, and it happens Alta is in Utah. I have yet to try Snowbasin, but plan to early next year. Just been spending almost every day at Brian Head this season.

Posted by Justin at 03:44 PM

April 08, 2007

The Year That Was in Utah

The SLC Tribune has an article on the year that was in Utah:

"We got some good early snow," he said.

But starting in November, a high pressure ridge parked itself over the West until about February.

That weather pattern acted as a bubble, forcing snowstorms to other areas, he said.

Utah's loss was Canada's gain, as many storms shifted to the north, McInerney explained.

Meager snowpacks, which reached about 50 percent of average in northern Utah, are not only bad news for skiing, but they also spell trouble for the Salt Lake Valley's water resources in the summer.

This season sucked in a bad way for me. Early snow, but no mid season snow at all. I finally had my place done and Brian Head got 225" of snow (and a huge chunk of that came in March). Normal snowfall is over 400".

But take what you get and thank the Ski Gods for the wonderful sport. It still was a ski season and the laws of averages mean that sooner or later we will have another 600" winter like two years ago.

Posted by Justin at 11:21 PM | Comments (1)

January 30, 2007

Deer Valley Hip to Technology

I posted a couple of weeks ago about Deer Valley reaching out to promote their Freestyle FIS World Cup Event via video at Youtube.com.

I have spent the better part of the day trying to make appointments to meet with some PR departments at various resorts so that I can get details on what they are doing to make skiing affordable or to reach young, hip, technologically advanced folks. Two big projects of mine. Skiing affordability and the impact of technology on the industry. And by that I don't mean new binding or new ski designs, but radical changes in the add on products that we all use. About half the resorts totally blew me off and won't even return my calls when I try to get comments and info about these topics. "You are just a blogger, not a real journalist and therefore we don't have time to even talk to you." Of something like that.

The scoop on the recent freestyle competition is posted at their site, but Erin Grady does a video that is awesome (posted below the fold).

I called Erin to compliment her on the idea of podcasting and video podcasting that Deer Valley used. I told her that I posted the video on my site and any time she wanted to post similar stuff, to call me. She gets it. She gets the world that we live in. One where gadgets permeate everything we do. Smart Phones. iPods. GPS. Laptops. And according to GOB Bluth, "wireless crapability".

I go to a lot of resort websites and some are absolute crap. Nothing is ever updated but the ski report and even then it is simply xxx" of new snow, machine groomed, etc. Then I go to others like the ski report at Big Sky where Dax blogs about the conditions in detail as well as his exploits while out there skiing it. Dax was a major influence on me even starting a blog and TWISI is pimped.

I have been working on an article about new technology and its impact on the industry. I have a first person point of view because the advances that allow telecommuting and remote work (read--why call centers can go to India) are what allow me to work via DSL broadband from Brian Head instead of trudging 30 miles through rush hour traffic to downtown Phoenix. We take out laptops in the truck and work via telephone broadband while we are driving to multitask. I have a fat DVD in dash player in the Avy. I keep a GPS on my camelback. I have skull candy headphones for my iPod and Motorola Walkie Talkies. I occasionally send text messages from the lodge. My son Jake and brother Jackson play NCAA Football against each other on their PSP's while we are driving. In short, break into my truck and steal my stuff 'cause I have tons of gadgets that you can pawn for crack.

So Winter-X is over and ESPN promotes the crap out of it. They target that towards the iPod generation. Burton gets it and puts all kinds of stuff in their gear for it. Other manufacturers see what is happening.

Deer Valley is skier only (like Alta). Alta took out their terrain park this year and caters to an "authentic" ski experience. DV appears to be targeting a different group. The new wave of skiers. The kids that jib on twin tips and hit the superpipe. Kids with iPods and PSP's.

It was nice to speak with Erin who is making an effort to promote their resort the way my sponsor at the top VRI is promoting their Colorado Pass--via social networking sites, blogs, youtube.com, pod casts, etc.

Erin's video:

The Avalance DVD Player.

Posted by Justin at 05:09 PM | Comments (3)