Vancouver, Canada-based Intrawest Corporation says it will lay off hundreds of employees at its three Colorado ski and snowboard resorts: [507R, Winter Park], [R113R, Copper Mountain], and [R425R, Steamboat].

They issued a statement in November saying, "Like many companies in North America, Intrawest is not immune in this current economic environment. As such, we are taking the necessary steps to preserve our ability to be competitive and ensure our future success. As part of this process we have taken the difficult step of reducing and realigning our work force. Impacted employees have been offered access to outplacement services to help in their transition. Although these are difficult decisions for us, our vision remains consistent and we are committed to delivering exceptional experiences for our guests, homeowners and employees."

The news put a damper on Winter Park's opening day, Nov. 19, but the show went on. The official number of employees and managers affected has not been announced. Intrawest employs 22,000 full- and part-time workers in the U.S. and Canada during the peak winter season in a good year.

Pre-season bookings are down at many Colorado ski resorts, and places like Steamboat are the ones most vulnerable to a struggling economy. When vacationers decide to forego extras like rentals, restaurants, ski lessons, and longer stays, it hurts Intrawest's business. Many industry analysts are murmuring about the fall of the destination resort this season as they clunk heads with negative cash flow.

The drive-to ski areas may see the positive to this negative as skiers and snowboarders bail on expensive destination vacations, opting instead to staycate with more frequent day trips to neighborhood resorts. Intrawest told the employees effected would be from business units, not mountain operations.