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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of October 2 - 8, 2002


Sun Valley predicts average winter season

Express Staff Writer

Despite the ailing national economy, Sun Valley Co. is expecting good fall and average winter tourist seasons, and itís coming on the heels of a season that, surprisingly, ranked third industry-wide for the total number of people who strapped on skis and snowboards at U.S. resorts last year.

"We have good business now through most of November," Sun Valley resortís marketing and public relations manager Jack Sibbach said. "Weíre looking better than we did last year at this time."

Sibbach said the companyís advance winter bookings are even for December, down for January, up for February and down for March.

"And, of course, the big word for the winter is snow," he said.

Sun Valley posted fair skier numbers last winter, while the U.S. ski industry recorded its third largest season ever, with 54.4 million skier and snowboarder visits.

The Pacific West region as a whole recorded its best season, with 12.1 million visits. Above-average Sierra Nevada snows and a travel market seeking domestic options contributed to the regionís success, said Stacy Stoutenberg, National Ski Areas Association communications director

"The 2001-2002 ski season began under circumstances that were very complex," said NSAA president Michael Berry. "The enthusiasm generated by the prior seasonís all-time record came to a halt, following Sept. 11. In addition, travel safety concerns and the slowing economy had the potential to seriously impact ski areas across the country.

"Despite these intense challenges, the U.S. ski resort industry performed superbly. I think it is due, in part, to the comfort that the mountain environment provides, along with some of the industryís key programs and strategic initiatives that are in playósuch as pricing innovations, an increased outreach to newcomers and many resort improvements."

Sibbach said he doesnít believe travel worries and the potential for terrorism attacks will impact this winterís tourism as much as the ever-slipping U.S economy.

He pointed out, however, that Sun Valley was very consistent throughout the 1990s, and that consistency should continue.

"I think thatís a testament to the snowmaking system, of course, but if we get great snow, it helps," he said.

Sibbach said Sun Valleyís mountain personnel are preparing to begin making snow at the end of October or the beginning of November, weather permitting.



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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.