Resort Report: Convention time, Sun Valley, royals, Cannon & more

SNEWS is heading to the National Ski Areas Convention in Carlsbad, Calif., in the hope of hearing that it was a record season for skier visits. Plus: how skiing saved a royal wedding, Sun Valley got free advertising, and Loveland's last chance to break a standing snowfall record. This and more in the Resort Report.
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The National Ski Areas Association Convention & Tradeshow kicks off in Carlsbad, Calif., on May 4. Expected highlights include possible news of a record-breaking ski season, seminars on youth marketing, industry economics and mid-sized resort acquisitions, as well as an NSAA Industry Impact Award for two-time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White. Last presented in 2009 to the Winter X Games, the award recognizes significant contributions made to the ski and snowboard industry by an individual or business.

Other scheduled events include a closer look at challenges facing the U.S. economy, with keynote lectures from Dr. Tyler Cowen, a renowned economics professor at George Mason University, and Todd Buchholz, a former White House director of economic policy. Aron Ralston, subject of the film 127 Hours, will also provide a keynote. SNEWS WinterSports will be providing regular coverage from the event.

Sun (Life) Valley nets resort exposure

The Sun Life Guys paid a visit to Sun Valley, Utah, as part of their quirky national television ad campaign, and the resort picked up valuable exposure at no cost. The storyline calls for the Guys to encourage iconic “Sun” brands to add “Life” to their names to promote the insurance company. It didn’t work with K.C. and the Sunshine Band, and it didn’t work at the historic Idaho ski resort, which celebrated its 75th anniversary this winter. “We said we wouldn’t leave until we got a yes, and we got a yes to riding a bus out of Sun Valley,” concluded the Sun Life Guys at the end of the spot. “Their ad agency contacted us and we were able make it work for both parties,” reported Jack Sibbach, Sun Valley’s director of marketing and PR. “They visited us in October, so the ski shoot we had in mind never materialized. We did enjoy the national attention.” View the commercial at www.sunvalleyonline.com/2010/02/09/sun-life-valley-national-ad-campaign-released.

How skiing saved the Royal Couple

Here’s the backstory to those Westminster Abbey nuptials April 30 that drew billions of TV viewers: When Prince William was in the doghouse with Kate Middleton for having dissed her at his 21st birthday party at Buckingham Palace, he wooed her back with a romantic ski getaway to the Swiss Alps. The prince even serenaded her with song at a hot Klosters après ski spot, and later they picked the Alps as the background for their official “coming out” as a couple before the international press.

Skiers tell legislators to keep Cannon public

New Hampshire legislators are hearing it from skiers who want the lawmakers to reject efforts to privatize the state-run Cannon Mountain Ski Area. Among the chief reasons being given are that the area is turning a profit, and offering affordable tickets for families to boot. “Cannon Mountain is not only healthy, we are thriving,” John DeVito, the ski area manager testified at a committee hearing, according to the Associated Press. DeVito said Cannon has wiped out its nearly $1.5 million operating deficit and will finish with nearly $1 million in profit for fiscal year 2011. Privatization is being touted as a way to help the state balance its budget.

Loveland running out of time to break snowfall record

Colorado’s Loveland Ski Area ends its season on May 8, which means the area is running out of time to break its all-time snowfall record. During the 1995-96 ski season, 574 inches of snow fell at the area, and as of May 3, 2011, Loveland had received a total of 567 inches. Sunny days are in the forecast, but that could change in an instant.

Ski Utah, Rossignol and Eider pony up for Japan relief

Alta Ski Area closed out its 2010-11 winter season May 1 with 723.5 inches of snow. As a result Ski Utah, Eider and Rossignol will each donate $723.50 to the American Red Cross Japan Relief Fund for a grand total of $2,170.50. Salt Lake City, Utah local Brian Rowe came closest to correctly guessing the end of season snow total on the Ski Utah Yeti Facebook page and will have his name added to the donation as well.

--Peter Kray

Send your WinterSports news to Peter Kray at pkray@snewsnet.com. Subscribers can also post WinterSports news releases directly to the SNEWS website. Email us at snewsbox@snewsnet.com to learn about posting your own news releases, getting your WinterSports headlines, or with any other questions or comments.

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