VAIL, Colorado - There are less than three weeks to go until the Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships in Vail, and the excitement around town is already building.
"It's really neat to start seeing it flush out," Vail Councilwoman Kerry Donovan told Peggy Wolfe, of Highline Sports and Entertainment, who presented an update to the town council Tuesday. "It's nice to finally see it come to life."
The event will celebrate its 31st year when it kicks off this month, but it's the first time that one of freestyle snowboarding's biggest competitions will take place in Vail. Wolfe said the event's website (link available via www.vail.com) recently went live and there has been a lot of Web traffic.
Wolfe said the marketing plan is on track and is getting good reception.
"Everything is where it was intended to be," Wolfe said.
With 19 days to go, the TV and radio marketing is now ramping up. Social media is already buzzing and Wolfe said "we've got this state canvassed with posters."
The marketing presence was also heavy at the X Games in Aspen just over a week ago, she added.
The Vail Town Council allocated $400,000 to the event, but Vail Economic Development Manager Kelli McDonald assured members Tuesday night that the contract is air tight. She said there are various milestones the event promoter must meet before they receive a payment, including marketing milestones.
"All payments are given out after reaching those milestones," McDonald said, adding that a final payment isn't given until a final presentation of the event production. "The contract (with event producers) is more extensive than it's been in the past."
Wolfe assured the town that while this is a major national event, the local community is involved and supportive. She said Highline has been surprised at how much a deal card program has taken off.
The card, called a Miracle Card, offers various deals at participating retailers, bars and restaurants throughout Vail. Spectators and participants can pick up the cards at the U.S. Open information booth or at the Vail and Lionshead Welcome Centers and use the card for deals throughout town. Wolfe said Highline's phones have been practically ringing off the hook with interest from local businesses.
And while businesses are looking to cash in on all the people who come to town for the event, so is the town of Vail. Highline estimates that Vail's $400,000 contribution will have a healthy return on investment including 30,000 hotel room nights, $18.5 million in incremental spending, $740,000 in sales and lodging tax receipts and $75,000 in parking revenue.
Assistant Managing Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.