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For the week of May 3 through May 9, 2000

Roll over Averell

Sun Valley founder Averell Harriman—and a host of other ski luminaries—will roll over in their graves if the name of their favorite resort is purloined by Utah’s Snowbasin.

The whole idea is nonsense.

Snowbasin isn’t Sun Valley. Sun Valley isn’t Snowbasin. Baldy is the world‘s best ski mountain—bar none.

Ski mountains are not Big Macs. Ski resorts are more than a hotel chain, interchangeable and unidentifiable no matter where they are located. Intentionally trying to confuse or homogenize will do nothing but make the skiing public mad and make a laughing stock of Snowbasin and Sun Valley.

Sun Valley owner Earl Holding is swimming against the new century’s marketing tide. These days "branding"—making and emphasizing the distinct benefits and characteristics of different products—is everything.

There’s nothing wrong with making sure people know that Snowbasin and Sun Valley are sister resorts, under the same ownership.

There’s nothing wrong with making sure people know that the mountain facilities at both are the best anywhere. New lodges at Snowbasin will echo the luxurious lodges in Sun Valley. Both were designed by the same architects whose trademark is a distinct alpine flair.

But replacing Snowbasin’s name with Sun Valley’s name is like attempting a brain transplant—it won’t work and the outcome could be devastating.

Besides, what’s wrong with the name Snowbasin anyway? It speaks of the deep fluffy powder snow for which Utah is famous. It’s the perfect balance for Sun Valley’s long groomed magic carpet rides and steep bump runs. Given the right marketing—with distinct names—they could be a hard act to beat.


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