Aspen, valley businesses come out in force for World Cup
Aspen Times Staff Writer
Organizers of the 2002 World Cup ski races in Aspen haven’t had much trouble finding community sponsors for the Thanksgiving weekend events.
Seventy businesses contributed money to this year’s event, organizers say, the most in Aspen’s World Cup history. Even in a not-so-bright economy, businesses from around the valley have pitched in this year.
“I think they understand how we’ve been positioning the World Cup as a marketing vehicle,” said Jane Poss, chairwoman of the World Cup organizing committee. “I do think they look at it as contributing for the marketing of the resort, because they know that a good winter season benefits everyone.”
Poss said she found a “very generous valley in challenging times” when she began asking businesses for support in August and September.
Local shop Kemo Sabe contributed funds that placed it in the “Community Gold” category for the first time. Owner Tom Yoder said he and wife Nancy felt donating money was “the right thing to do.”
“We just love being involved in stuff like this,” he said. “This is Aspen, and we’re Kemo Sabe, and we’re part of the team. It’s very easy to go unnoticed. What if all of the sponsors were national sponsors ? what would that say about our town?”
Aspen businesses came forward in force to support the events, but so did businesses from around the valley, Poss noted.
“Our goal was to have a cross section of businesses, and we’re most pleased that with World Cup our community sponsors cover construction, real estate, the professionals, the service businesses and even the high-end boutiques,” Poss said. “We even have the property management companies and the landlords.”
A long list of local hotels and inns are also contributing around 1,800 free stays for the ski teams and their support staff. World Cup staff, from those who handle setting up the stadium seating to vendors for Friday afternoon’s White Carnival at the gondola plaza, also benefit from the contributions.
Steve Degouveia, owner of Footloose and Fancy Things in Aspen, said his business contributed what it could because this is the event that kicks off the ski season.
“I wanted to support it in anticipation and hopes of a good season ? it’s a good way to get things started,” he said. “I’m a small business, and [contributing] was a bit of a stretch for us, but I’m going with an attitude that the only way to have a good season is to put out this attitude that it’s going to be a good season.”
The donated funds go toward what Poss calls the “icing on the cake” for World Cup: enhancing all of the weekend’s social events. Contributions fund banners and flags that decorate the town, the White Carnival event, an apres-ski party and a fireworks display.
Free cups of cocoa and servings of kettle corn at the White Carnival will be courtesy of the donors, she said.
“We’ve supported things like World Cup and the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club for years,” said Rick Stevens, a local ski instructor who works at Carbondale-based Aspen Earthmoving, a contributor again this year. “We try to be good community members as well as good dirt guys.”
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