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For the week of January 3 through January 9, 2001

Skiers blanket valley

Holiday posts promising numbers

Express Staff Writer

Though snowfall has subsided in recent weeks, Sun Valley Co.ís early-season skier numbers are accumulating better than they did during the previous two years.

As of Dec. 31, the season skier count was at 95,623, a 30 percent increase over 1999ís Dec. 31 count of 66,640. This yearís count is also an 11 percent increase over 1998ís Dec. 31 count of 84,981.

The holiday week posted increased numbers, too.

From Dec. 25 through Dec. 31, 37,548 skier visits were logged on Bald and Dollar mountains. Last year the number for the same dates was 29,066, and in 1998, 36,801 holiday skiers took to the local mountains.

"We had much better skiing conditions earlier this year than we did last year," Sun Valley spokesman Jack Sibbach said. "I think thatís important."

Bookings for the coming months are up over the past two years, too, Sibbach said.

"Weíve had a lot of comments from our guests that theyíve had a great experience," he said. "Everybody Iíve talked to said they had a great time."

Several area businesses also reported that the holiday period was strong.

"For a period of five or six days, we probably had the busiest holiday period weíve seen," Rob Santa, owner of Sturtevants Ski and Sports, said.

He characterized early- and mid- Dec., however, as "weird."

"Up until the twentieth, it was pretty bleak."

Pioneer Saloon manager John Craig said it was a good week, though not record-setting.

"It was a good, busy week, probably not quite as busy as last year, but pretty close," he said.

Though Decemberís local option tax collections arenít in at the cities of Sun Valley or Ketchum, Novemberís figures, including the Thanksgiving holiday, show a slight increase over last year.

Ketchumís receipts for the month were up 7 percent, from $98,664 to $105,489. Sun Valleyís were up from $21,415 last November to $27,116 this year.

To keep the momentum going, Sibbach said, some added snow will help.

"Obviously, we need help from Mother Nature to keep those numbers up," he said.


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