Snow, publicity boosting Utah’s ski industry

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SALT LAKE CITY - Christmas snowstorms and some unique publicity are setting the tone for a strong ski season in Utah.

Alta has received more than a foot of snow in the last 24 hours and other resorts are reporting more than 20 inches, a level of snow Utah didn't see until January or February of last year.

Three Utah resorts, all in the Cottonwood canyons, are featured on the January covers of Ski, Skiing and Powder magazines, something that Ski Utah says is a first.

The publicity and storms are helping boost reservations at Utah's resorts and lodges.

"The snow we're getting right now really helps with bookings for the rest of the season.  People really get excited and plan a trip for February, even March. It really helps with those later bookings we have," said Susie English with Ski Utah.

Before Christmas, Park City tourism officials said bookings were down by about 30 percent. Ski Utah says there were similar numbers correlated with resorts in the canyons, but ski experts believe that's simply because Christmas fell on a Tuesday.

They're confident that this year will be better than last year and the recent boost of powder is helping.

Meanwhile, sudden snowstorms has increased the number of Utahns getting snow tires.

"It's been crazy. As soon as it snows, around Christmas, everyone's off work. Lately it's people trying to get somewhere for the holidays and it throws a wrench in everything," said Nick Shields at Big O Tires. "That's why we get so busy. People wait and they can't go anywhere when it snows."

Home improvement stores are also reporting big sales on snowblowers, shovels and salt.

"Considering the snow we've had we've sold a lot of ice melt and the little snowthrowers," said Kari Avery, a Lowe's employee.