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SAM Magazine—Denver, July 16, 2012—Momentum for vacations at mountain destinations throughout the western U.S. showed increasing strength in both occupancy and daily rate in June, according to the latest data released by the Mountain Travel Research Program (MTRiP). The average occupancy for the month was up 17 percent compared to the same month last year while the average daily rate climbed 3.9 percent.

MTRiP data are drawn from property management companies in 16 different resorts in Colorado, Utah, California, and Oregon.

The remainder of the summer and fall look equally promising. As of June 30, July advanced reservations were up 9.6 percent compared to last July.

For the six-month period July to December, year-over-year reservations are up 10.6 percent. Reservations show strength for July through October, but are down for November and December—which were strong months for advance reservations in 2011, following the superb 2010-11 ski season. The lackluster 2011-12 season may have dampened enthusiasm for November and December 2012.

“Just like in the winter months, weather is a wild card that shapes the plans of destination visitors,” said Ralf Garrison, director of MTRiP. "In this case, it appears that record-breaking heat across most of the country is providing additional incentive for people to head to the cooler temperatures in mountain resorts, and that activity is serving to offset the negative impact of early season wildfires, particularly in Colorado.”

Despite all the positive news this month, MTRiP’s team still cautions destinations to be attentive and proactive. “As an industry, we’ve learned our lessons well in the past few years,” Garrison noted. He encouraged destinations “to pay close attention to their individual numbers, the economy, and Mother Nature, because everyone understands now that even positive trends can change quickly.”