Austrian Invasion

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SAM Magazine - Vail, Co, December 10, 2006 - If you want a piece of the growing international market, you could do worse than learn German. Austrians are leading the charge when it comes to international visitors to North American ski areas. Aspen's international guests account for 20 percent of the Aspen ski company's on-hill business and at Jackson Hole, 12 percent of the resort's ticket sales.

With the dollar continuing to weaken, and a poor snow year shaping up in the Alps, western ski resorts are in a good position to appeal to European skiers. Austrians, in particular, are willing to travel and spend money doing so. Vail's experience is comparable to Aspen's. The hosting of World Cup races by Beaver Creek as well as deep rooted connections to that country (former Austrian ski racer Pepi Gramshammer was one of the early investors in the resort and still runs a hotel and restaurant in the heart of Vail Village), makes the resort a popular destination for Austrian and German skiers. \