Survey garners favorable marks
By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer
A survey of Sun Valley’s winter visitors is producing
favorable marks for the area, the Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber of Commerce
reported last week.
The survey, which will be ongoing through March, was
prepared and will be analyzed by Leisure Trends Group, a Boulder, Colo.,
consulting firm specializing in recreation and ski industry research.
In response to the question, "What do you like best
about Sun Valley compared to other ski resorts you’ve visited?"
visitors have so far acclaimed Sun Valley’s small-town atmosphere and
on-mountain facilities as the area’s best assets.
Following are some of the responses to the question:
· "Friendly atmosphere, old fashioned western
hospitality, uncrowded, remote location, dry snow, excellent ski
instructors, love the Sun Valley Lodge, too."
· "The lodges are the nicest. The town is nice
and the restaurants are good, too."
· "It feels like family."
· "Less crowded, ski town is great, visitors
and staff seem friendly, lodges are outstanding with great real wood
fireplaces, skiing conditions have been superb."
To collect guests’ opinions, two employees of the
chamber are randomly surveying Sun Valley’s winter guests to supply
statistics for Leisure Trends Group’s report about the area’s current
slice of the skier and snowboarder market.
Sun Valley’s information will be compared to similar
survey results from other Rocky Mountain resorts participating this year.
Those include Aspen, Steamboat, Crested Butte, Purgatory and Winter Park,
all in Colorado.
According to a chamber press release, the results are
helpful in understanding how Sun Valley compares to other resorts. It also
helps identify potential new customers.
The last time the chamber conducted the survey was in the
winter of 1997/1998, and the resulting report overwhelmingly showed Sun
Valley is failing to please the younger skiing market, despite rave
reviews like those already mentioned.
Chamber marketing director Carrie Schiller-Wesergard said
she doesn’t expect this year’s survey to show much of a trend toward
the younger market, but it would be a pleasant surprise if it did.
In response to the 1997-98 survey, the chamber instituted
Sol Fest, a week-long, spring event targeting younger customers. The event
will return for the second time during the spring ski season.
"If we want to maximize skier days, then we need to
attract several different types of customers," Schiller-Wesergard
said. "We do that by providing them with services and programs that
fit their needs—and then telling them."