SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) – Utah Tourism Day kicked off at the state capitol Tuesday, one of the major participants being Utah’s popular ski resorts; but has a dry start to the season hurt business?
The answer is complex, according to officials with several local resorts.
On one hand, very little snowfall at the start of the season means snow machines need to be used to create a manmade product for visitors to enjoy. On the other hand, on at least one occasion, low snow totals have already shut down Snowbird for nearly a week this season. The cost, though, isn’t all that clear.
“We have years like last year where we couldn’t shut the snow down, and this year we are praying for snow and doing the ‘snow dance,’ said Kim Mayhew, general manager of Solitude Mountain Resort.
Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons saw nearly two feet of snow accumulation this weekend, sending skiers flocking to the slopes. It was a reprieve from a tough few weeks of little to no snow in the mountains.
While visitors to Utah don’t always notice the hurt from low snow totals, locals do.
“It’s more the local folks who are used to the good product out there [that are deterred],” said Mayhew. “It’s been tough for our local business.”
Nevertheless, Mayhew said she doesn’t expect less business this year. Manmade snow does just fine, even for avid skiers like Doug Gregory.
“We should all be concerned about that,” said Gregory of the lack of winter weather. “[That] has not deterred me from comin gup. Even when it was manmade snow, it was still fun.”
For the latest snow totals, you can go to Ski Utah’s website.
Officials with Ski Utah said their success is based primarily on Mother Nature’s mood. It’s unpredictable, but they don’t think this year’s lower snow totals will hurt them too badly.
“There’s always a concern when Mother Nature doesn’t deliver like she has in the past, but I think our ski resorts are going to do just fine,” said Nathan Rafferty, President of Ski Utah.