Taxable retail sales from January 2008 to January 2009 are down across the board, according to the Utah State Tax Commission, with Hurricane, which is near Zion National Park, declining the most by $4 million or 32 percent. Sales in Salt Lake City fell by $32 million, or 8 percent. Clearfield sales declined the least.

The snow fell -- and so did business.

Receipts were off as much as 23 percent for the winter season throughout Utah's premier ski and snowboarding town.

January sales-tax receipts, compared with January 2008, were down by a higher percentage in Park City than in any other Utah city, save Hurricane in Washington County, according to a report by Salt Lake City-based consulting firm Bonneville Research.

That analysis, which does not include food and beverage sales, is based on data provided by the State Tax Commission, according to the firm's vice president, Jonathan Springmeyer.

When food and beverage sales are rolled in, overall retail business in Utah's premier ski town was down 18.8 percent, according to Bret Howser, Park City's budget officer.

Although the numbers for February and March aren't yet in, they are expected to be similar to January's decline, Howser said.

That's a big drop --- about $23 million in taxable sales for January, alone.

But it could have been a lot worse, coming as it did on the heels of the global financial crisis. At least that's the refrain heard around town from merchants, restaurateurs and hoteliers who hope the recession has bottomed out.