Plenty of info for everybody
It has been said that a crisis is really just opportunity bowling you over. You just don’t know it until you’ve stopped reeling and gather a recovery plan.We thought that was just the case earlier this year when the news broke that the Frisco Visitors Information Center (VIC) had to close for lack of funds and the Silverthorne Visitors Information Center needed serious help.The financial crisis was long overdue and that it took so long to appear was testament to the tenacity of a number of chamber and VIC people staving off the inevitable.We don’t want to overlook local government and ski area support for the centers. Still, when the recession-struck county commissioners cut funding in 2001 from $30,000 to $10,000, the death warrant was signed.In the last week, we’ve seen the crisis become opportunity with a Frisco-Copper Mountain effort saving one center and the Silverthorne Factory Stores and the Summit Chamber striking a deal to sustain the other.The most intriguing is the teaming of Frisco and Copper Mountain interests to open a new Frisco center, now called the Frisco/Copper Mountain Information Center, located in the Old Town Hall at 3rd and Main.Frisco town manager Michael Penny described the relationship perfectly.”It’s more than just marketing,” he said. “It’s a cultural shift – the idea that Frisco is Copper’s ski town and Copper is Frisco’s ski resort.”As Copper Resort general manager Steve Paccagnan added, “It’s the beginning of a strong partnership for the betterment of promoting recreation and tourism between the two communities.”As we might add, “It’s Experience the Summit lite.”Experience the Summit is the 3-year-old Summit Chamber idea, actually planted by Copper über chief David Barry, that Summit County, and all its moving parts, stand to benefit from marketing the county as a destination with something for everybody to do.While the logic is overpowering, it’s been a hard road for Experience the Summit because Vail Resorts, the owner of Breckenridge and Keystone, and Intrawest, owner of Copper Mountain, compete so hard for marketshare and cooperation. But if arch Cold War warrior Richard Nixon can make friends with Communist China, anything can happen, one has to believe.What about little Arapahoe Basin? It already does joint ticket sales with Vail Resorts so it undoubtedly would not have to be convinced of the bigger idea. But A-Basin is not the 800-pound gorilla around here.Before leaving the topic, we also salute the Silverthorne Factory Stores and the Summit Chamber for hammering out their deal. The Factory Stores owners already provided a building for the center, now they will operate it. The chamber will provide financial assistance, but still needs to lean on local governments and the ski areas for donations.
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