Wednesday, March 15, 2006

National ski events boost our economy

Guest opinion by Carol Waller

Carol Waller is the executive director of the Sun Valley/Ketchum Chamber and Visitors Bureau.


The Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation and Sun Valley Co. just finished hosting the J2 National Ski Championships here in Sun Valley, and it provided a significant economic boost to our community.

This national ski race brought in 108 of the top high school ski racers in the country, as well as their families and coaches to our town, which totaled an estimated 400 attendees. Most of these folks stayed an entire week, equating to an estimated $560,000 being spent in our local economy on lodging, lift tickets, dining, shopping and other purchases.

The additional residual impact is that about 85 percent of the attendees had never been to Sun Valley before and left very impressed and excited to share their experiences with others in their ski circles. And nothing beats good old "word of mouth" advertising, especially among the younger generation of ski enthusiasts, a key market we really need to grow for our future.

The Sun Valley/Ketchum Chamber and Visitors Bureau was a sponsor of this event because we recognize the tremendous return on investment it brings to our community, and we support the efforts of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation and Sun Valley Co. to work to continue to bring national and international ski and snowboarding competitions and events to our area.

In fact, the SVSEF currently brings in six to 10 competitions per year (alpine, freestyle, snowboard and Nordic), which bring in 100-250 attendees and an average economic impact of $100,000 per event. In addition, our signature winter Nordic competition, the Wells Fargo Boulder Mountain Tour, brings in over 800 out-of-town attendees in early February, for an estimated $300,000 economic boost. And let's not forget the SVSEF Bill Janss ProAm ski classic, coming up this weekend, as another event that brings in visitors and public relations benefits to the valley. The Hawaiian National Telemark Races, held annually in April, attract regional skiers, and this year has also attracted the attention of ski media star Glen Plake and Resort Sports Network (RSN) who will be here to film for national TV.

We appreciate all the work that is put in by so many in our community, including the Sun Valley Co.'s mountain staff and race department crews, as well as all of the staff and volunteers with the SVSEF and other local organizations, to put on these kinds of successful events that help our winter economy.

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