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Interior ski resorts bullish on 2010-2011 season

Skier numbers expected to rise as economy recovers



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"Right now growth can only come from stealing marketshare from some other place, that's the business of skiing until we can start teaching more people to ski, and more of our visible minorities to ski. The sport is not going to grow until we do that," he said. "For example, resorts are offering a Hispanic learn-to-ski program in California. In Ontario, there's a program that tries to get kids from different cultures where their parents didn't grow up skiing into the sport... and what they're finding is that the kids come back so enthusiastic that they're getting their parents to try it as well."

Ballingall believes the transition is already happening for second and third generation immigrants, although it's a slow process.

"I've been at the parking lots at Seymour, Grouse, Cypress and seen the second and third generation immigrants carrying their snowboards. Right now that's not my customer, but they will be in five years - and in 10 I hope they will be teaching their own kids to snowboard at our resort."

Opening day for Silver Star is scheduled for Nov. 27 and Big White for Dec. 4.



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