May 17, 2012 - By Bob Moen, The Associated PressCHEYENNE -- Unlike many other ski resort areas in the Rocky Mountain West, Wyoming's premier ski area of Jackson Hole enjoyed better snow conditions, which translated into slopes staying busy this past winter, industry officials said.
Compared to 2011, when Jackson Hole and most other ski areas received huge amounts of snow, lodging rates, skier numbers and airport traffic essentially kept pace or were up this past winter, which was stingy on snowfall in most places.
"We had a lot of really good snow and not all of the Rocky Mountain West did," Kate Foster, spokeswoman for the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce, said. "We were very pleased with some of the big snows we had and the good quality of skiing that it provided."
According to statistics provided by the chamber, lodging occupancy rates for December and January were down slightly from a year earlier but rebounded in February and March. In February, the Jackson Hole area recorded a 61 percent occupancy compared to 57 percent in February 2011. In March, the rate was 48 percent, compared to 45 percent in March 2011.
Foster credited a marketing campaign that targeted skiers in other Rocky Mountain states where the snow wasn't as plentiful as in Jackson Hole.
"They specifically targeted snow chasers, people who keep their eye on the weather conditions and are able to make a weekend trip ... to take advantage of better ski conditions," she said.
Grand Targhee Resort, for instance, reported about 420 inches of snow this past season. Some major resorts in other states had less than half that amount.
"We're pretty happy with the season," resort spokesman Ken Rider said. "We had a really strong March, which was great."
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, which reported 373 inches of snow over the season, ended the ski season with about 479,000 skier visits -- second highest in its history.
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