Janet Day: Holiday tourist traffic better than expected | SkyHiNews.com

Janet Day: Holiday tourist traffic better than expected

Tourist Time. By most accounts, it was a surprisingly good holiday season, economically speaking. Crowds were large, as traffic annoyingly indicated, and cash registers were busy.

Some shop and restaurant owners indicated that sales were much stronger than they had expected. Several also indicated, however, that credit card usage was up significantly from previous years, which may not bode well for the greater U.S. economy. Taking on more debt now means more to pay later.

Much as we rely on tourists and weekend visitors to keep our own little economy purring along, I am more than happy to see the crowds of the past two weeks go away.

I get grumpy about the crowds every year at the end of the holiday weeks. It’s time to reclaim our valley. Go to the grocery store. Go out to eat. Hit the slopes or the trails. Make a left turn onto U.S. Highway 40. Find a parking spot. All of those actions can now be done without huge waits and long lines.

That’s not to say the area will be empty of everyone but us. The large Lifestylz college group will be here, but they generally stay on the Park side of Winter Park Resort for their activities and entertainment, and don’t venture much to Mary Jane or out to the valley’s trails. I’m looking forward to some board time without long lift lines and some quiet snowshoe treks.

Where I’ll go snowshoeing remains to be decided. I’m disappointed to learn that the Dead Horse Trail in the Fraser Experimental Forest is closed for logging, along with its parking area. Spruce Creek is still open, but connecting the two for a big loop was a great day trip. Still, there are plenty of other trails out there vying for attention.

A Look Back. I’m generally not a person to bother thinking about the past, preferring instead to wonder what the future holds, but since this past year was not one of my best, I’ve been thinking about it a bit. I made some changes in my life and enjoyed the presidential election, but for the most part, 2008 ranked among the fairly crummy years in my life. I wallowed in that thought for a while the other day until I realized there actually were a lot of things going on locally that I liked or found amusing.

Among them were:

∞ The opening of the Panoramic Express chairlift at Winter Park. Love the lift, love the access to the Parsenn Bowl terrain that used to be a pain to reach.

∞ The opening of the Tabernash Tavern. Great space; great people; great food.

∞ The opening, literally, of the Verso Cellars 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon. A lovely, rich, red wine.

∞ The creation of an employee recycling program at Winter Park Resort.

∞ The return of the Fat Tire Classic fundraising bike ride.

∞ The addition of better spectator viewing at Crankworx, not to mention the addition of some really big jumps.

∞ The entertaingly appalling ” or appallingly entertaining ” vendors at the Salute to American Veterans.

∞ The fact that we had no major wildfires despite all of our dead trees.

Keep in Touch: What’s got your attention around the area? Let me know. I’ll try to find the answer or spread the news. Send it all to JDayQuilts@msn.com.

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