Utah's 14 ski and snowboard resorts announced last week they broke their all-time record for skier visits this past season with 3,349,498, an increase of 11 percent from the 199-2000 season total of 2,976,796.
The new record is also a 6 per cent increase over the previous record of 3,144,332 skier visits in 1998-1999.
"We're thrilled with the numbers, of course," said Kip Pitou, Ski Utah president in a prepared statement. "The season started strong with the early snow and finished in the spring with some of the best powder days in recent memory."
Pitou also credited nearly $200 million dollars of continued development over the past five years at Utah resorts for the increases. "It puts us in good shape heading into the Olympic year," he added.
Mountain Creek downsizes
Mountain Creek, Intrawests resort in Vernon, New Jersey, last week laid off 35 of its 85 full-time, year-round employees.
All have been "invited" to apply for some of the 700 summer jobs available at Mountain Creek Water World, slated to open June 16 and close Labor Day, and will receive severance pay and "transition assistance."
Mountain Creek also entered into a management agreement with N-Ovation to run the summer water park. Charles Blier, vice-president and general manager of Mountain Creek, said this will allow Mountain Creek personnel to concentrate of winter activities, while a specialist in summer runs Water World.
Blier said he expects the new arrangement to increase the summer operation to a point when it will need 800 to 900 seasonal employees within the next several years.
Blier also said every aspect of Mountain Creek's winter operation was up last winter, and the number of summer season passes sold at this point is double what it was at this time last year, from 750 to 1,500.