Vail Daily editorial: Making it look easy
Just as the valley is catching its breath from the two-week whirlwind of the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, it’s time for another go-round of attention-grabbing athletics.
The Burton U.S. Open Snowboard Championships are in Vail March 2-7. Like the World Championships, the best people in the sport will come to town, along with an entourage of team members, sponsors and others.
The Burton event comes during an already-busy period for the valley — between Presidents weekend and roughly the end of March, somebody, somewhere, is on spring break and many of those people come to the Vail Valley. In addition, March often brings Semana Santa. That Christian Holy Week celebration usually brings a good number of visitors from Latin America.
The fact that the valley is already in peak-season mode has led some to question why the Burton event receives six figures worth of town of Vail funding. The Burton event is the very definition of “incremental” business, so the skeptics ask a valid question.
In our view, though, while the Burton event comes during high season, this is a good example of investing for the future.
Supporters say Burton brings the families of snowboarding youngsters. Giving those youngsters a glimpse of what the valley has to offer, from terrain to events and more, is a great chance to attract those youngsters back to the valley in years to come.
Given that ski resort visits worldwide have been largely static for some time, that leaves the industry competing, and competing hard, for slices of the sport’s economic pie.
Show families a good time — in addition to great action — and there’s a good chance they’ll be back for other weeks or weekends, too.
Vail has been at the forefront of building business through the use of public funds to build up events. Overall, the strategy has been quite successful and is being emulated by resorts and towns — including Avon — elsewhere in the High Country.
And the fact is, Vail is a good home for Burton, with a winning combination of terrain, facilities and easy access. Beyond that, the Vail Valley has over and over proven capable of handling big, splashy events.
By the time the Burton event leaves, our valley will have spent three out of five weeks playing host to big-time sporting events and will still handle the biggest tourist surge of the season.
It’s a credit to everyone involved that our community makes it look easy.