‘Ski-tail’ economy expected to be strong, despite a dry start to the season

SALT LAKE CITY - Utah's ski industry will weather the lack of winter weather just fine, according to representatives of various stakeholders of Utah's winter sports economy.

Charlie Butler co-owns long standing local retailer Wasatch Touring. Started in 1972, they specialize in backcountry skiing, biking and kayaking.

"We're having a great fall/winter season," Butler said at a press conference in his shop on 100 South in Salt Lake City. "I think cold weather has taken the place of good snow."

The press conference revealed the latest numbers from the Zions Bank Consumer Attitude Index, a monthly measure of Utahns' feelings about the state of the economy and their own finances.

Chad Berbert, a principal with local polling firm The Cicero Group, said Utah's index has been at a high level for months, reflecting optimism about the direction of the Utah economy.

"Our expectation is job growth in Utah will continue and with it income growth and also some continued price increases driven in part by housing sector demand," Berbert said.

For the ski industry, a strong economy allows for resilience in the face of a somewhat weak winter thus far.

"The Utah Ski Industry is super healthy," Ski Utah CEO Nathan Rafferty said. "We've had two record years, the last two years."

Rafferty told Fox 13 Utah has developed reliable tourist traffic which accounts for about half of the total ski days spent at Utah resorts.