Friday, February 6, 2009

The skiiing was great. The economy? Not so much!

Went to Copper Mountain to ski yesterday on a day that was just perfect. Sunny, warm and beautiful, but not so hot as to be melting the snow. In fact, it was so gorgeous that I felt compelled to call a few of my friends back in Buffalo to tell them about it. Honestly, I didn't realize it was -7 back home while I was sitting with my jacket off, in the sun, enjoying lunch and the fantastic view. This, it appears, is not a good way to endear yourself to the folks in western New York.

I was skiing with my neighbor Kathy, and since most of the chair lifts are "quads", that meant we rode the lift with a bunch of different people during the day. I like to talk to strangers, and I learned a long time ago that "where you from?" is a great conversation starter. In years past when I'd ski on a weekday, about half of those people would be from outside Colorado. And at the end of the day, while enjoying the apre-ski brewski, I would see many groups of people on the patio who were obviously here on a ski vacation.

Yesterday, all of our fellow lift-riders were Coloradans. And there were only 2 tables of folks having a beer who appeared to be vacationers. And today in the mail I got a mailing from Breckinridge offering 70% off rooms during Spring Break, usually the busiest time of the year in ski country. Now, none of this is hard data that the economy is killing the ski industry this year, but it sure doesn't feel good. And a real problem for the ski resorts is that those of us who live in state and ski there are not much of a source of revenue. Sure, there are a lot of us, but we have already bought our passes, and we don't stay over night or stay for dinner. Lunch and a beer is about the best they can expect to get out of us.

So, if you can afford a ski trip this year, it looks like a hell of a good time to go. Deals will be many, and lift lines short, and we need your money!

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