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Despite sparse snow, tourists creating big business for ski areas

5:47 PM, Dec 29, 2011   |    comments
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"They spend more money, they are buying clothes, they are buying goggles, hats, you name it," Abernathy said.

They have been renting and buying everything from helmets to gloves and employee Nick Grasso says it's left the shelves bare.

"We ran out of poles a few days ago. We had to dig around in the back to find a bunch more," Grasso said.

It's helped crank up business despite a snow shortage on the slopes this season, with sales matching those seen during that big snow season last year.

"Business has been surprisingly good. I'm not complaining," Abernathy said.

At the Beaver Run Resort and Lodge near Breck's Peak 9, restaurants are so busy even Director of Sales and Marketing Bruce Horii has been called in to help bus tables.

"It's all hands on deck. We have a good sense of teamwork here," Horii said.

It's been so busy that last week reservations exceeded the same time last year when ski areas had the benefit of record snow. This December will be a stronger month overall than last December.

"Last week was up over our historic average," Horii said.

In Aspen, tourism officials say Thursday is expected to be the busiest day for holiday crowds in Aspen and Snowmass since 2008 and the airport has sold out every inbound flight through Thursday.

Back at Lone Star, Abernathy says it's all a clear sign that out of state tourist are traveling in big numbers to Colorado.

"We are getting a lot of destination-resort people is what we are doing," Abernathy said.

It makes the job of stocking his equipment racks tough, but Abernathy says it's a good problem to have.

"It's OK. I like it when we have to do that," Abernathy said.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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