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festival feedback

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While endorsement of the first World Ski and Snowboard Festival was virtually unanimous among competitors, instructors and industry representatives, local merchants are taking a little longer to evaluate the festival. Some retailers and restaurateurs noticed a definite increase in business over previous years for the week following Easter; others are waiting to break down their sales figures. Doug Perry, executive director of the festival, said the first edition of the festival achieved its two main objectives: drive resort business at a time when business is slowing down, and attract more media attention to Whistler. "Bed sales were up and dual mountain ticket sales shattered the record for this week," Perry said Tuesday. He expects to have precise figures from hotels and lodges in the next few weeks. Perry said they were expecting representatives from about 20 media to cover the festival, but more than 100 media groups attended. "We made strong inroads in different types of media," Perry noted, pointing specifically to ISKI’s cybercast of the World Technical Skiing Championships. One media outlet that wasn’t expected was Discovery Channel, which sent a crew to Whistler to do a story on parabolic skis during Industry Week. Perry said he has also had requests for footage of the festival from Bob Beattie’s Ski World and RSN Travel Transactions Profile. Two video packages are being prepared for television networks around the world to broadcast in November. One package will highlight activities during the whole 10-day festival, the other will focus solely on the World Technical Skiing Championships. Another video of the World Technicals will be prepared exclusively for the Japanese market. All the major North American ski and snowboard magazines sent writers. Their stories will begin appearing in the early-season issues in late August and September. Among the participants, most of the ski instructors were extremely enthusiastic about the festival. Industry representatives were also excited. Perry said Lynn Worrall of the Ski Base television show paid one of the best complements to the festival when declared: "You can’t afford not to be here for this."

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