By Allen Best
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. – Look out Aspen and Vail; Steamboat is gunning for your skiers.
The resort is adding a substantial number of airplane seats next winter, and will have 490 potential passengers every Saturday from the three major airports in and near New York City.
“Accompanying the fact that New York is the single most lucrative ski market is the fact that it’s the single most expensive media market,” said Andy Wirth, vice president of sales and marketing for the Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp, “but in this case, we felt the financial reward is there.”
Unlike flights from Atlanta, in which case about 40 per cent of passengers actually come from Atlanta, about 98 per cent of passengers on the Saturday flights from New York will come from New York.
Wirth told the Steamboat Pilot & Today that this is the “single biggest undertaking of total capacity and new markets the resort has ever seen.” Following the 2001 lull, Steamboat had 128,000 passenger seats, which increased to 154,000 last winter. Wirth says he is “highly confident” the air program will reach 175,000 next winter.
Ketchum considers future
KETCHUM, Idaho – The Idaho Mountain Express reports that a standing-room-only crowd turned out for a presentation that would have done Einstein proud. As it has for five years, the town is talking about adding hotels. Three of them are proposed, and the task was to give an idea of how the height and bulk of what is being proposed would change the town.
It doesn’t matter, said a real-estate agent, Pam Colesworth. “We are withering as a tourist town. We need to infuse this town with tourists again… I ask you not to be afraid. Go forward and get it done.”
But a city councilwoman, Terry Trace, said the trick is to get visitors to stay in these future hotels, the larger issue that Ketchum is facing as it seeks to strengthen its air connections.
Despite being North America’s first destination ski resort, Ketchum and neighboring Sun Valley have flattened and now declined as ski resorts.
Developers have said they need to include real estate in a hotel offering, similar to what has been done at most other resorts. The city now allows such condo-hotels. For its part, says the Express, the council wants a firm commitment from developers, experience in hotel development, evidence that the hotels will add to a tourism economy, and affordable housing.