Two Sun Valleys?
Theres a reason each McDonalds has the same name
By TRAVIS PURSER
Express Staff Writer
If it works for Starbucks, GAP and Barnes and Noble, why shouldnt it
work for ski resorts?
The world might get the answer to that question, if Utah billionaire Earl
Holding, owner of Snowbasin, Utah, decides to change that resorts name to "Sun
Yes, Sun Valley.
Holding also owns the Sun Valley resortin Idaho, that is, in
case youre already confused.
According to Holdings receptionist in Salt Lake City, he was
"on another line" for seven hours straight on Thursday. Notorious for shunning
the press, he didnt return a reporters telephone messages.
The resorts managers said Holding has been considering the idea for
years. They agreed Holdings plan aims at a two-way benefit: A little of Sun
Valleys rich history rubs off on the nascent Snowbasin; and the name "Sun
Valley" gets mentioned 101 million times during the internationally televised 2002
Winter Olympic events being held in Snowbasin.
Still, if the two managers guarded comments during telephone
conversations are any indication, the plan has questionable appeal.
The Sun Valley Co. manager, Wally Huffman, said the idea has "some
charm," but he refused to say whether he endorses the idea.
When asked if he thought tourists might be confused by two resorts with
the same name, Snowbasin manager Gray Reynolds said, "I havent really thought
about it. I really havent."
For his part, Jack Sibbach, Sun Valley Co.s chief of marketing,
wasnt shy about responding during a telephone conversation on Monday. He made a plea
"We have a community here," he said. "Maybe thats
selfish. Personally, I hope he doesnt do it."
Meanwhile, Carl Wilgus, Idahos administrator of tourism development
and a former Sun Valley marketing assistant, wasnt at a loss for words.
"Cool!" he said. "It has more than charm. It has consumer
impact and viability. Theres a reason each McDonalds has the same name."
Wilgus said a ski resort is an operation just like a restaurant. Then,
anticipating the obvious next question, he declared: "But how do you distinguish
between the two?"
"It would certainly have the potential of causing some
confusion," Sun Valleys Huffman said, "and therein lies the
Translation: Let people in Utah think theyre skiing with the ghost
of Hemingway and everybodys happy.