Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Fun, wasn’t it?

Presidents Day weekend was a whole lot of fun in the Sun Valley area.

Bald Mountain and Dollar Mountain were full of more skiers and boarders than the area’s seen since the Christmas holiday. Ski and snowshoe trails were busy with happy groups sliding along with everyone from Grandma and Grandpa to racers. People enjoyed Dollar Mountain at night for the first time ever. Shops were busy and restaurants were full of happy diners. Entertainment venues drew happy holiday visitors.

It was as if January’s cold-weather chill had lifted and a ton of winter fun suddenly emerged. It wasn’t that the fun hadn’t been there all along, but it had been a lot less evident than it was last weekend.

The Sun Valley Marketing Alliance estimated occupancy rates in hotels and private rentals at high levels, in the neighborhood of 80 percent. That’s what drove the abundance of fun and made it clear that 80 percent is the level of occupancy that the area needs on an ongoing basis to be successful.

How can the area produce consistently high occupancy rates upon which our lively communities may be rebuilt?  That’s the question that should be emblazoned on the wall of every government board chamber and of every business group in the valley.

When discussions turn difficult, when local leaders disagree, when policies become lost in the weeds, someone should point to the question on the wall and ask leaders to recall how great it was to have towns full of happy visitors and hardworking locals all soaking up the joys of visiting, living and working in a valley where recreation is king.

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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.