Despite the glare of attention, mobs of visitors, and the endless corporate smoozing set to sweep over Salt Lake City this February because of the Olympics, many resorts are worried the games will actually lead to one of the quietest seasons in years.
“It’s like the guy who said, ‘My restaurant is so popular nobody ever comes here,'” says Ski Utah’s Nathan Rafferty. “The amount of publicity the games generate is literally scaring off people who think the whole area is going to be mobbed all winter long. Advanced booking indicates a strong risk that January through March is going to be very slow in numbers of people actually boarding or skiing.”
Hotels and resorts are so concerned that Ski Utah is announcing an offer that anyone staying in any of 100 or so participating hotels will also receive a discount voucher worth $20.02 off any Ski Utah resort lift ticket for every night they stay, equivalent to around a 50 percent discount.
Rafferty points out that even during the games, although accommodations in town is booked solid, there will still be rooms available in the South Valley and anyone making the journey can expect some of the least crowded slopes ever.
Snowbird’s Fred Rawlings confirms that other than a small handful of rooms set aside for groups, the resort’s accommodations, such as the Cliff Lodge, is all booked out by large corporations. Every morning buses will arrive and take everyone off an event. Few visitors staying slopeside at any of the resorts will actually be on the slopes. Even at the venues themselves, such as Park City, only a tiny percentage of the mountain is being used and boarders will have the rest to themselves.
Brighton’s Marketing Director Dan Malstrom adds, “I think it will be pretty funny if during what is supposed to be the world’s biggest winter sports event we have waist deep powder everywhere and no one around to rip it up.”