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(Steve Griffin | Tribune file photo) Alta ski area
Ski resort visitation down 1.3 percent nationally
Weather woes » Rockies’ resorts do OK, but drought along West Coast hurts the industry.
First Published May 06 2014 02:40 pm • Last Updated Aug 01 2014 08:20 pm

A good winter in the Rockies helped rescue the ski industry nationally from a variety of weather challenges in the 2013-14 season, according to the industry publication Ski Area Management magazine.

Citing preliminary figures from the Kottke National End of Season Survey, the publication noted that resorts from the Rockies through the Atlantic Coast "collectively enjoyed their third-best season of the past 36," attracting 5.3 percent more visitors than the previous winter.

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“Green” honors

Maura Olivos, director of Alta Ski Area’s environmental center, recently was named Ski magazine’s inaugural “Hero of Sustainability.”

“Through her persistent efforts,” said Alta General Manager Onno Wieringa, “Maura has raised the bar on bringing environmental care into Alta’s operations and serving as a valuable model for all departments of the ski area.”

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But limited snow in California and the Pacific Northwest reduced skier visits almost 28 percent in those heavily visited regions — making it the second worst winter there over those same 36 years.

As a result, the overall national visitation number slipped to 56.2 million, 1.3 percent below the 2012-13 season.

The national number also was 2 percent below the 10-year average of 57.3 million ski visits, the Kottke report said.

But it was markedly better than the 51 million visits recorded in 2011-12, another winter with bleak weather. This winter’s performance was hurt by the drought along the West Coast, freeze/thaw cycles in the Northeast and extreme cold in the Midwest.

Specific breakdowns for the Rockies, and its Utah component, were not released. Final numbers are disclosed in August by Kottke, whose annual survey is the industry’s source of visitation data.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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