It's Snowing...EVERYWHERE!!


Denver, CO, Jan. 25 (AP by Catherine Tsai)--A storm that swept into the central Rockies dumped a thick blanket of fresh powder on the slopes of resorts desperate for consistent snowfall.

``It's been snowing for about three or four days straight,'' said Kristin Rust, a spokeswoman for Colorado Ski Country USA. ``It's just doing worlds of good for everybody.''

From Utah to Colorado to New Mexico, ski operators delighted in snowy weather this week that lured visitors back to the slopes after a slow start to the season.

A winter storm that began in the Sierra on Sunday lingered into Tuesday, dumping up to 7 feet of snow in parts of Nevada.

Ski resorts on the East Coast, which was walloped by a significant storm Tuesday, also basked in fresh snow.

In New York's Catskill mountains, a ski resort which bills itself as the ``snowmaking capital of the world'' welcomed real snow.

``People don't believe there's snow on the mountain if there isn't any in their front yard,'' said Orville Slutzky, general manager of Hunter Mountain. ``The snow gets people psyched to go skiing.''

However, it was the West where the snow was badly needed. Just last week, Colorado Ski Country USA reported a decline in skier visits to the nation's No. 1 ski state due to a lack of snow and Y2K-related worries.

The lack of snow forced Colorado's Arapahoe Basin to miss its target opening date by a month, and Taos Ski Valley in New Mexico opened on Dec. 16 instead of its usual start on Thanksgiving weekend.

But several Colorado resorts reported double-digit snowfall since the weekend. At Loveland ski resort, plenty of office workers and students took advantage of the snow on Tuesday.

``We have a lot of people playing hooky today,'' said Scott Fortner, a resort spokesman.

Utah ski resorts got nearly a foot of snow overnight Tuesday in the Wasatch Range east of Salt Lake City. Park City Mountain Resort saw 10 inches of fresh snow at 10,000 feet by midday Tuesday. Melissa O'Brien, a spokeswoman at the resort, said there is still a lot of time left for the resorts to make up for this season's slow start.

``February is still a really strong month for snow cycles. We're definitely not writing off the season by any means,'' she said. ``Last year we were getting snow in June."

Copyright (c) 2000 The Associated Press