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For the week of January 31 through February 6, 2001

Survey garners favorable marks

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."

·  "Atmosphere."

·  "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."


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