By Correspondent Bob Goligoski
During a break from skiing the Park City resorts recently, I had a chat with Susie English about the proposed major expansion at Deer Valley that will add a half dozen new chairlifts and about a thousand acres of new ski terrain. English is communications director at Ski Utah, the marketing arm of the 14 ski resorts in the Utah Ski and Snowboard
Why, I asked, does Park City need more chairlifts and runs when the three major resorts there already are teeming with dozens of lifts and a maze of some 400 trails and runs. Well, said English, “we are still a long ways behind Colorado and this expansion will bring more skiers and snowboarders to Utah.”
Utah ski resorts keep a close eye on their Colorado rivals. Last season, Colorado recorded about 14 million skier and snowboarder day visits while Utah counted about four million such visits. It was a good year for Utah as the skier and rider traffic was up some five percent from the previous season.
California, by comparison, had seven million visits Los Angeles is proving to be a hot market for the Utah resorts. Looking at major cities in the U.S., 5.7 percent of Utah ski visitors come from New York with 4 percent dropping in from LA and the rest of the out-of-state traffic mostly arriving from Boston, Atlanta and San Diego.
English said, “There are over 35 non-stop flights from the Southern California area so the accessibility to Salt Lake City is great. Once here, skiers have the option of 11 resorts within an hour of the airport. It would be easy in LA to see that it is snowing in Utah and be on the slopes the same day.”
Utah is getting good snow this year. At the end of February, seasonal snowfall at the resorts was about 92 percent of normal.