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Ski Utah Trumps Colorado Ski Country

Published: 01/05/2009

The ski industry has undergone a subtle shift in the last 5-7 years. Certain regions and/or states have always banded together to market their areas as a whole, typically by way of a central nonprofit organization whose charter is to grow business for all involved.

The most visible entities now are Ski Utah and Colorado Ski Country (which Vail just quit last spring). This week, Ski Utah launched yet another groundbreaking program to promote state resorts. In a partnership with Southwest Airlines, site visitors can submit their Utah travel tips and enter to win a huge ski vacation. This comes at a critical time, when saving money is on the mind of every traveler.

The real story here is Ski Utah. Over the past two years, it started a popular blog that features video cut right from the resorts. It sponsored a cycling team. It found a dozen corporate sponsorships for their November Fat Flake Festival. Its central booking site does equal traffic to Colorado's, even though Colorado's ski industry is four-times Utah's size. It does all this by putting Utah ski resorts in the news day in and day out.

Ski Utah continues to launch groundbreaking ideas that other states can only copy. It seems to be paying off; Utah enjoys record numbers each year, while Colorado's actually shrank last season (in the face of a record season nationwide).

No matter what the environment now, the shift is to the west, and the leaders at many resorts are watching Utah very closely.