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It's been a big year for California ski resorts

May 14, 2010 |  2:13 pm

Mammoth Thanks to abundant snowfall this winter and spring, California ski resorts have drawn about 7.5 million visitors this season, up from 6.7 million last season, according to the California Ski Industry Assn.

Ski resort operators credit the higher number of visitors to snowfall that reached the highest May 1 levels since 2006.

A snow survey conducted this month by the California Department of Water Resources found that the snow pack in the Sierra Nevada was 143% of normal.

"Winter storms and deep snow are critical for a great snow season," said Caroline Beteta, president of the California Travel & Tourism Commission.

This season, ski resorts generated about $700 million in direct visitor spending, according to the state's ski industry association. That resulted in about $3 billion in total economic impact to the state's economy, the association said.

-- Hugo Martin

Photo: Skiers get ready to descend Mammoth Mountain. Credit: Los Angeles Times