Mountain News: Skier numbers point to minorities 

By Allen Best

Colorado ski areas talking about drawing minorities

DENVER, Colo. – Colorado ski areas set a record for the second straight year with 12.56 million skiers and snowboarders tallied at the state’s 26 ski areas. This represents a 0.2 per cent gain, which compares with the 6.9 per cent drop nationally during the past winter.

Colorado’s gains came among destination visitors. Visits from Texas, Florida, Illinois, New York and California — the leading states for visitors — increased 4 per cent. Altogether, visitors from those five states comprise about 40 to 41 per cent of the state’s skier visitors.

A pair of Christmas holiday blizzards in Denver dampened visits from the metropolitan area, but created the impression of snow across Colorado. Ironically, the resorts got very little snow out of those two big storms.

But despite the slowly growing numbers, the industry in Colorado has remained essentially flat. “It has been the same number of people skiing, but skiing more frequently," Dave Belin, director at RRC Associates, told the Rocky Mountain News.

For several years, the industry has talked about reaching out to the swelling number of minorities. This year, Winter Park even made snow and set up rails on a steep hillside in Denver in an area that is home to many Latinos, although the attraction seemed to attract mostly kids from the suburbs, many of them already confirmed snowboarders.

Lucy Kay, the new chief operating officer at Breckenridge, predicted visitors there will look very different within a decade. But now, there’s very little ethnic diversity, she conceded.


Fewer grizzlies than expected

CANMORE, Alberta – Environmental organizations are calling for protection of grizzly bears to be upgraded from threatened to endangered. A survey now being conducted is expected to show that the region, including Banff National Park, has only 500 grizzly bears, about half previous estimates, reports the Rocky Mountain Outlook.

Tracey Henderson, executive director of the Grizzly Bear Alliance, said provincial authorities need to reduce the density of roads and other access in grizzly bear habitat.

“It doesn’t mean we have to close down key grizzly bear habitat to people. It doesn’t necessarily mean creating new parks. What it means is better controlling access to key grizzly bear habitats,” she said.


Jail time for endangering bikers

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. – After repeated encounters with mountain bikers, skiers, and hikers, rancher Paul DeBoer has been sentenced to jail for six months.

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