Snow Sculpture Championships – a ‘wow’ for Breckenridge
Now that the snow sculptures have come down, it is a chance to reflect on what an incredible event this is for Breckenridge. It succeeds on all three levels that we use to evaluate the events that we produce at the Breckenridge Resort Chamber. It brings people to town, garners terrific media coverage for Breckenridge and provides a sense of community.The 15th annual Budweiser International Snow Sculpture Championships (ISSC) certainly brought people to town and drove spending.Estimates are that in excess of 30,000 people visited Breckenridge to see the blocks being built, the artists sculpting and the final pieces on display. Many of our visitors plan their trip specifically around the event and it helps drive business during late January, which is typically a lull between the Martin Luther King weekend and Presidents weekend.
Lodging companies in Breckenridge indicate that business levels exceeded their expectations and demand for lodging was quite strong. Several restaurants hit new records of business levels on the Saturday of ISSC. Breckenridge was covered quite extensively by media around the nation and in Europe. Advance media coverage of ISSC included United Hemispheres Magazine (several times), Frontier’s in-flight magazine, AAA Magazine, Travel Agent Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the Dallas Morning News and the Austin American Statesman. Regional coverage included The Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News and the Colorado Springs Gazette. USA Today named ISSC one of the top 10 winter festivals in the country.As for television coverage, more than 65 television stations around the country ran stories on ISSC. Writers from Mexico and the wire service (like the Associated Press in the U.S.) from the UK were on-site during the event. Also during the event, four of five Denver TV stations broadcast live and Colorado Springs TV, CNN Radio, the AP and Outdoor Life Network covered ISSC.
More placements are anticipated as stories are collected from around the nation. Exposure like this is tremendously valuable for Breckenridge.The success of ISSC underscores what can be achieved when we work together as a community. The staff at the BRC and the Town Events Department work on planning and promoting this event year-round.While these efforts are critical, the event still could not come to fruition without the contributions of the community. More than 100 volunteers contributed their time to make the event come to life, doing everything from hosting teams to stomping snow to selling merchandise to handing out programs. More than 45 businesses supported the event through sponsorships and lodging and feeding the teams.
The Breckenridge Ski Resort makes about 400 tons of snow for the event and the town’s Public Works Department moves the snow and keeps the site safe and inviting. Overhearing the wonderment of children and adults who visit the amazing works of art brings home the sense of what we accomplish each year with this true community effort. Artists, media and sponsors alike sincerely appreciate the hospitality of our community. They have said that they are treated better here than anywhere else in the world and that is something we should all be very proud of. Congratulations Breckenridge! Corry Mihm is executive director of the Breckenridge Resort Chamber. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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