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SAM Magazine—Denver, Oct. 15, 2012—Reservations for the fall and winter season through March 2013 are up .5 percent from year-ago levels, with future customers reluctant to book far in advance, according to the Mountain Travel Research Program (MTRiP). In addition, the pace of bookings during September was below the level of a year ago.

Reservations taken during September for arrival in October, November, and February posted gains, while reservations for December, January, and March were down. “It seems that both prospective guests and the resort suppliers are having reservations about booking reservations for the coming season,” quipped Ralf Garrison, director of MTRiP.

The data reflect business conditions at 260 property management companies in 16 mountain destination communities in Colorado, Utah, California, and Oregon.

Garrison speculated that last year’s disappointing snowfall in most of the country is contributing to the reluctance of skiers and boarders to book mountain vacations until winter weather trends become more apparent. He estimated that reservations to date represent about 40 percent of the anticipated season total.

Other signs are more positive. Actual occupancy for the month of September finished up 3.2 percent compared to last year, and booked occupancy for October, as of Sept. 30, was up 16.9 percent. The average daily rate for October was up by 4.6 percent.

“Weather, economic trends, and political events will all have an influence on this year’s results, so we are advising our lodging properties to stick to their current plans but be ready to react quickly if any of these influences start shifting the vacation and travel plans of skiers and snowboarders,” Garrison added.