Gearing up for the season |

Gearing up for the season

Jack Taylor

As Thanksgiving approaches, everyone is gearing up for that breakthrough season we’ve been hoping for. We’ve been hearing that economic recovery started months ago and we’re now looking for the proof!

The coming Thanksgiving holiday will offer the first signs of the season to come, but it’s just a forecast.

That said, let’s look at what we have going for us at the moment. As I write this, the snow is flying and every ski area in the county is open for business.

We are emerging in good shape from what was a beautiful fall season. The holidays are not falling on Wednesdays, giving people more reasons to spend multiple days here in the High Country this holiday season.

Lodging reservations for the Christmas holidays are up compared to last year. An increase in destination visitors should mean an increase in retail spending as well as more lodging and restaurant revenue.

Combining this news with the fact consumer confidence measures are increasing and unemployment is flattening out or modestly decreasing in many of the markets we serve, the table is set for a good start to the coming season.

Even with this improved news, challenges remain if we are to take full advantage of the opportunities that present themselves.

We can’t say enough about the importance of great customer service, especially when our goal is making certain that our visitors return.

I’m still amazed that 85 percent of first-time skiers and boarders don’t return to the sport. I wonder how many of those folks are making that decision based on experiences off the mountain. Return customers are critical to our survival and it’s an easy sell if folks are serviced well.

We are fortunate to have so much world-class skiing and riding here in Summit County. We are also fortunate to have so much other winter activity. It’s important to let our visitors know the variety of activities that await them – an opportunity to “Experience the Summit” and all it has to offer.

Hopefully, it’ not just our visitors that are taking advantage of this amazing place. Most of us had our first exposure to the Summit by playing. If we’re too busy to enjoy what drew us here to begin with, it’s time to re-examine our priorities.

We have an awful lot to be thankful for as we enter this Thanksgiving weekend. The fact that we’re here in God’s country is a great start.

Jack Taylor is executive director of the Summit County Chamber of Commerce. He can be reached at (970) 668-2051 or

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