WHAT'S NEW Resorts in western ski country continue to morph into all-season destinations, adding guest rooms, retail stores, and meeting space, plus amenities such as spas and golf courses. Nowhere has the expansion been more pronounced than in Utah, which is in an all-out push to be ready for the 2002 Winter Olympics. More than 1,000 hotel rooms and about 100,000 feet of conference and exhibit space have been added to the downtown Salt Lake City inventory within the past two years, and a light rail transit system has been added as well. The Salt Palace Convention Center added 114,000 square feet of exhibit space for a total of 370,00 square feet, and expanded its main ballroom to 45,000 square feet. A smaller meeting venue, with 8,000 square feet, opened at historic Gardner Village. To keep everybody entertained after hours, the Union Pacific rail station is being converted into a hotel-restaurant-arcade-cinema complex, due to open in spring.

Expansion elsewhere includes a projected $750 million of infrastructure in Lake Tahoe South Shore that includes 37 acres of redevelopment, a pedestrian plaza with a multiplex movie theater, ice rink, restaurants, and shops, luxury slope-side condominiums and beachfront resorts, and expanded convention facilities.

I WAS THERE Jack Kelly, vice president of marketing at Liberty National Life Insurance in Birmingham, Ala., has brought many small incentive groups to Breckenridge, Colo., Lake Tahoe, and Park City, Utah. One favorite activity in all locations, he notes, is ski school. “Some of the first-time skiers became real fans, and have returned to the resorts on their own,” he says. He also cites outdoor activities such as snowmobiling and snowshoeing. In Breckenridge, horse-drawn sleighs took blanket-covered attendees to dinner in a century-old miners' cabin.

CONTACT THE CVB

California/Nevada

Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority (800) 288-2463, (530) 544-5050
Fax: (530) 544-2386
www.virtualtahoe.com

North Lake Tahoe Resort Association (888) 434-1262, (530) 583-3494
Fax: (530) 581-8774 •
www.tahoefun.org

Colorado

Aspen Chamber Resort Association (800) 262-7736
Fax: (970) 925-9008
www.aspen.com

Vail Valley Tourism & Convention Bureau (800) 525-3875, (970) 476-1000 Fax: (970) 476-6008
www.visitvailvalley.com

Montana

Travel Montana (800) 548-3390, (406) 444-2654
Fax: (406) 444-1800
www.montanameetings.com

Utah

Salt Lake City CVB (800) 825-2822 • Fax: (801) 355-9323 • www.saltlake.org

Park City CVB (800) 453-1360 Fax: (435) 649-4132
www.ParkCityinfo.com

People who have never been on skis or snowboards before are called “never-evers.” Want a change from skiing? Try the midmountain ice-skating rinks in Squaw Valley, Calif., or Vail, Colo.

Fast-growing numbers of snowboarders are welcome everywhere in Western ski country except at Alta and Deer Valley, Utah, and at Alpine Meadows in North Lake Tahoe.