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Who's Next For Snowboarding?

Boulder, CO, Feb. 1, 2001--Following the Aspen Ski Company's decision to allow snowboarding on Ajax Mountain only four ski areas remain with boarderless slopes; Alta and Deer Valley in Utah, Taos Ski Valley in New Mexico, and Mad River Glen in Vermont. So which resort will be next?

"(Aspen's decision) didn't effect us in any way," said Christa Graff, spokesperson for Deer Valley. "We can never say never, but our decision is based upon our guest surveys here at Deer Valley and at Park City Mountain Resort."

Deer Valley, as Aspen was with Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass, is in a unique situation with both Park City Mountain Resort and The Canyons offering snowboarding. However, Park City didn't allow snowboarding until the 1996-97 season after the resort was awarded the 2002 Olympic snowboard events. But Melissa O1Brien, spokesperson for Park City Mountain Resort, said that was only one of the many reasons for allowing boarders to schuss the slopes.

"If we were going to continue to grow and remain profitable, we had to allow snowboarding," O'Brien said. "We are a family resort, and we opted to offer all options to families." Indeed, appealing to families is every resorts goal, but it doesn't always include snowboarding.

"In our case, we feel that the layout of the mountain is not conducive to mixing skiers and snowboarders," said Chris Stagg, Vice President of Marketing for Taos Ski Valley. Taos, like Alta and Mad River Glen, is a small family oriented resort with a loyal skier following, and many want to keep it that way.

"We don't want to be like Aspen in the first place, and the fact that Aspen has changed their decision to allow snowboarding has made Taos that much more unique," Stagg said.

However, as skier number remain flat, resorts are looking at the growing sport of snowboarding to boost their bottom line. "Never say never," said Connie Marshal, spokeswomen for Alta. "We reevaluate our decision on a year-to-year basis."

"We probably talk about it on a month to month basis," Stagg said. "But we don't have any intention at this point to allow snowboarding."

As for Mad River Glen, the Coop-owned resort, they're sticking to their motto - Mad River Glenn - SKI it if you can.

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