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For the week of Jan. 5 through Jan. 11, 2000

Businesses prosper over holidays

Express Staff Writer

Though skier counts on Bald and Dollar mountains were down 25 percent from last year, area businesses called this Christmas-New Year’s holiday period a booming success.

Williams Market posted its biggest day of sales ever and Smokey Mountain Pizza and Pasta broke week-long and individual day records.

"It’s a combination of things," Smokey Mountain general manager Eric Rake said in an interview. "Obviously if there aren’t people in town, you’re not going to see those kind of numbers."

"There were a lot of people in town," agreed Backwoods owner Andy Munter in a separate interview. His business also did "really well," he said.

According to Sun Valley Co. spokesman Jack Sibbach, Sun Valley’s lodging accommodations were nearly 100 percent full for the entire holiday period.

Sibbach said this holiday season’s skier numbers, from Dec. 25 through Jan. 1, totaled 31,886. Last year, for the same days, 42,196 skiers and snowboarders hit Bald and Dollar mountains.

"We were very happy with the Christmas week," Sibbach said. "But we don’t always measure the success of our business with skier days. We measure it with our guests’ smiles.

"We had great weather, and I think the economy of the whole valley, from what I’m hearing, was pretty good over the holidays."

Sibbach said he wonders where Sun Valley Co. would have been this holiday if it weren’t for snowmaking.

The poor snow coverage on Baldy didn’t harm Warm Springs business, either, according to John Arnold, Paul Kenny’s Ski and Sports rental shop manager.

"We really did pretty good," he said. "It was only slightly less crowded than in past years."

With snow falling steadily yesterday afternoon, and more snow predicted through the weekend, perhaps Sun Valley’s winter is turning an about face, which is important, Sibbach said.

"Reservations are still looking good for the winter," he said. "Right now we need snow or it will affect our reservations for the entire year, but right now we’re holding strong."


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