Local business pours money into World Cup sponsorships
By Jeremy Heiman Aspen Times Staff Writer
It takes a lot of money to throw a party like the upcoming World Cup ski races in Aspen.
International sponsors like Caf de Colombia provide a good bit of the money required for the race itself. But this year’s World Cup celebration includes social events, public entertainment and trappings to enhance the festive nature of the weekend.
The money to expand and enhance the activities for this year’s World Cup weekend largely came from local business donors. The local business sponsorships are new to this year’s World Cup event.
Jayne Poss, event manager for the World Cup Organizing Committee, rounded up most of these business donations, and she enthusiastically praised all the businesses that contributed.
“These community sponsors are one of the keys to this celebration,” Poss said.
The sponsorship money will make possible such things as a huge fireworks display, the White Circus, a performance by a nine-piece Latin band on Saturday night and the international banners which will line Main Street, Poss said.
Local sponsors for World Cup events participated on four levels. Community Gold sponsors gave $5,000 each, Community Silver sponsors $2,500 and Community Bronze sponsors $1,500. A fourth sponsorship category, called Contributors, mostly gave around $500, Poss said.
A wide cross section of Aspen businesses, 68 in all, supported the many components of the event. Lodges, real estate companies, construction firms, attorneys, architects, banks, retail shops and property management services, as well as the Aspen Chamber Resort Association, the city of Aspen and others, donated money.
This is the first year World Cup organizers have formally used community sponsorship, Poss said, though ski races have always been community events.
In 1998, when World Cup racing returned to Aspen after a long hiatus, the events budget was a little short, Poss said, so she went to a few local business people for additional support.
“It was really from that response that I felt there would be even greater support throughout the community,” she said.
The response from Aspen businesses was so good, Poss said, because businesses recognize the benefit the World Cup brings to the town. Worldwide media attention is focused on Aspen, and a lot of tourist business comes to town during Thanksgiving weekend, which has generally been a quiet time in Aspen.
A successful World Cup event at Thanksgiving can be a rousing start to the ski season, Poss said.
“It kicks off our winter season with high spirits and high morale,” she said. “When it’s televised, it says Snowmass and Aspen are open for business. It just re-emphasizes that we’re a ski town.”
The sponsors get some perks in return for their contributions, Poss said. The Community Gold, Silver and Bronze sponsors receive World Cup jackets and hats and are invited to be the guests of Aspen Skiing Company in the hospitality tent. The names of contributors will be displayed on a huge banner at the Silver Queen Gondola Plaza, Poss said, and in a full-page ad in Aspen Magazine.
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A ski season surrounded with uncertainty kicks off on Wednesday. The six inches of new snowfall Tuesday will allow opening of an additional 62 acres on Aspen Mountain, bringing opening-day total to about 160 acres.