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'Fiscal cliff' pushing Colorado ski industry over the edge

8:52 PM, Nov 14, 2012   |    comments
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At the Fireside Bed and Breakfast in Breckenridge, surrounded by her British memorabilia, Niki Harris business is being affected by American politics back in Washington.

"Every year is different," Harris said. "So, it's hard to predict how it's going to go."

While her rooms are being booked on her reservations grid, there are a lot of blank squares showing a big empty block in mid-December.

"That little square is a bed, an empty bed," Harris said. "[I'm] hoping that it fills up."

According to Ralf Garrison and the Mountain Travel Research Group (MTRiP), the slowing trend at ski area's nationwide is in part due to bipartisan D.C. gridlock. Bookings are down 4 percent.

"Ski vacations in particular are based on two variables: snow and economy," Garrison said. "Those are both in play this season."

Ski tourists are holding on tight to their money, worried that Republicans and Democrats won't get along and send our economy tumbling.

"The conversation has now moved to this fiscal cliff at the end of the year, and that gives consumers pause about spending discretionary dollars," Garrison said.

If that trend continues, it could mean better room deals around the holidays.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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