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Summer Tourism in Squaw Valley Means Discounts

I'm staying at the Squaw Valley Lodge in Olympic Valley, Calif. (part of Squaw Valley and once home to the 1960 Winter Olympics) which is in the midst of a discount dilemma.

In an effort to draw dollars to the primarily winter retreat, it's offering wine festivals, markdowns and pet-friendly events. Rates are low as part of the tourism industry's strategy for attracting short-term tourists.

My room, which is actually part of a condo complex, is selling about 30 percent off its usual rate to fill its rooms.

After talking to a few locals and employees, summer is usually considered "dead," by most of the hospitality workers, but is a haven for college and high school students looking for summer work and cheap condo sublets.

The scores of guests I see seem intent on spending money (think $35 for a pizza and $5 for a smoothie) as well as hiking and biking along mountain trails. Perhaps it has lured Californians eager for a cool August day rather than Central Valley heat.

Deep discounting seems to have worked to lure short-term and local tourists, and may continue to do so through the fall. However, once ski season reigns in the region, we'll see if the once-luxury resorts will still embrace discounts. (Don't count them out yet, the $300 million, 170-room Ritz-Carlton Highlands is scheduled to open Dec. 9.)

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