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A tale of two winters in Colorado

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WOLF CREEK, Colo. — As is so often the case, it’s shaping up as a tale of two winters in Colorado.

Along the I-70 corridor and north at Steamboat Springs, the stories have been about the abundance of snow. Snow shovelers and plowers are making a good living, although some places are running out of places to dump it.

This snow, along with everything else, has produced what was described in several resort locations as a banner holiday period. At Beaver Creek, the manager of Charter Sports told the Vail Daily that more skis were rented during Christmas week than had ever been rented before there – or any other Charter Sports store. Somewhat similarly, the number of cars parked along the frontage road in Vail was up substantially.

A similar story comes from Aspen, where the Buttermilk ski area set a "modern-day record" for users, some 3,163. But all four of the local ski areas at Aspen were reporting gains, none more significantly than at Highlands, where a new double-black-diamond area is drawing visitors. Again, the biggest story seems to be good snow.

In Southern Colorado, the story is an all-too-familiar one of recent years. Wolf Creek Ski Area, which often leads the state’s ski areas with an average snowfall of 435 inches, had received only 82 inches by early January. Snowpacks in that part of the state are reported to be 35 to 50 per cent of normal, echoing readings of the early part of the 21 st century.

No more Sustainable Slopes Day

LAKEWOOD, Colo. — After three years, the Sustainable Slopes Day that has been held at ski areas across the U.S. in February has ended. The sponsoring group, the National Ski Areas Association, did not explain why the event was pulled. However, the group’s Geraldine Link said the organizations will continue with its "Keep Winter Cool" campaign. That campaign aims to direct attention at global warming and how people can incorporate energy-saving methods into their lives.

The Summit Daily News says that one ski area, Arapahoe Basin, plans a special Climate Awareness Day in February, with activities similar to those in the past. The newspaper reports that 2005 is expected to be the second-warmest year on record by the Switzerland-based World Meteorological Organization.

Aspen wants Front Range skiers

ASPEN, Colo. — While 20 per cent of Aspen’s skiers come from foreign countries, and most of the rest come from New York and Los Angeles and other high-rent districts, the Aspen Skiing Co. isn’t above scrapping for the low-hanging fruit of the Colorado Front Range.

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