Crux of season now under way
"I would say we’re seeing an
average or slightly
— MICHAEL BERRY, National
Ski Areas Association president
By GREGORY FOLEY
Express Staff Writer
Having just made a turn into the
crux of the 2003-2004 ski season, Sun Valley Resort’s skier numbers are
up slightly over last year.
Sun Valley Resort recorded
177,929 "skier days" through the end of January, up from 169,743
skier days recorded at the same point last season. Express photo by
Jack Sibbach, Sun Valley director
of sales and marketing, said Monday the resort has recorded 177,929
"skier days" through the end of January, up from 169,743 skier days
recorded at the same point last season.
"I would say, overall, we’re doing
fair," Sibbach said. "Last year was not a terrific year in terms of
Skier day counts at the close of
January during the 2001-2002 season and 2000-2001 season were
approximately 176,000 and 181,000, respectively.
A skier day is defined as one
person visiting a ski area for all or part of a day, including use of
paid and complimentary tickets.
The final count of skier days for
the 146-day 2002-2003 ski season was 367,631—about 9.5 percent fewer
skiers than the previous year’s 405,700 skiers in a 143-day season.
Despite the feeling among resort
officials that this season’s totals are mediocre so far, Sibbach said
the overall outlook is optimistic.
"We’re not breaking any records by
any means, but we’re not losing any market share either," he said. "If
the snow continues to come, I think we’ll do fine."
Sibbach noted that bookings for
lodging in Sun Valley "look good" through the month of February.
Advance bookings for March can be
difficult to analyze because many destination skiers are reserving
vacations shortly in advance of their anticipated travel dates.
Skier-day counts in February and
March will ultimately determine the success of the ski season, Sibbach
said. A "normal" February will attract 100,000 skiers to Sun Valley,
with a typical March also bringing large counts of visitors, he said.
"In the last couple of years,
March has been down," Sibbach said, noting that exceedingly warm weather
and deteriorating ski conditions can wreak havoc on the latter part of
Michael Berry, president of the
Colorado-based National Ski Areas Association, said Monday that Sun
Valley’s mid-season status is generally similar to that of other ski
resorts in the West.
"The destination business seems to
be returning to pre-2001 levels," he said. "I would say we’re seeing an
average or slightly above-average year."
Berry said ski resorts in Utah,
Wyoming "and to some extent Idaho" have benefited from an abundance of
However, he noted, it is too early
to determine if the national ski industry will match or exceed its
record count last season of 57.6 million skiers and snowboarders.