Snowmass Village ponies up to support USA Pro Challenge |

Snowmass Village ponies up to support USA Pro Challenge

Jill Beathard
Snowmass Sun

Snowmass Village will dedicate $112,700 from its marketing fund to help support the USA Pro Challenge.

Aspen and Snowmass are the host cities for the start of the weeklong cycling competition on Aug. 19. Most of the athletes and other people associated with the race will be staying in Snowmass Village hotels, and the teams will be parking their trailers in the upper village lots.

The Marketing, Special Events & Group Sales Board on Thursday approved the funding request, much of which fulfilled a request from the city of Aspen for $38,000 dedicated to team sleeping rooms and $12,000 in additional sponsorship funding.

A total of $22,700 has been set aside for expenses related to the trailer-parking area, including signage, Dumpsters, security, portable toilets, power, water and cleanup. The parking area will be open to fans to visit with athletes, so that also benefits the spectator experience, said group sales director Fred Brodsky.

Some team members will be staying in Snowmass for the entirety of the event, which lasts through Aug. 25. Some of that $22,700 is intended to provide them transportation to the Thursday night concert that week. Ten thousand dollars are budgeted for events to be planned for the mall and Fanny Hill.

“It really is a whole week of great activities in Snowmass,” Brodsky told the board.

Another $25,000 will be dedicated to marketing and $5,000 for something that would ensure television coverage of Snowmass on race day. Snowmass Tourism also will incur costs for extra ambulance and firetruck staging.

The marketing-fund budget currently has $120,000 unappropriated, Brodsky said.

Bill Tomcich, president of reservations agency Stay Aspen Snowmass, said there was no way Aspen’s lodging properties could have hosted all the teams for the start this year, especially because the dates overlap with the end of the Aspen Music Festival.

“It fits really nicely into the lodging bed base in Snowmass Village,” Tomcich said.

The Tour of Utah race also wraps up just before the USA Pro Challenge, so many teams might be coming directly from there and arriving in Snowmass ahead of the start date, he said.

One board member asked Nancy Lesley, the city of Aspen’s special events director, what the likelihood of Snowmass being included as a host city again was. Lesley said she didn’t think it was likely that the Pro Challenge would award Aspen/Snowmass with an overall start again next year.

“I think geographically, I think just the simple name ‘Aspen/Snowmass,’ … it’s a pretty important place on the map for them,” Lesley said. “The more we can hit it out of the ballpark, we can say, ‘Why would you go anywhere else?’”

The city of Aspen has budgeted $450,000 for the entire event, $210,000 of which comes from the city, according to Lesley. Fundraising and sponsorship efforts are expected to cover the remainder.

Chairman Robert Sinko commended Lesley and other race organizers, saying that when he watched last year’s race, he thought the start in Durango looked sparse and that what they were doing would be “a lot better” for Aspen and Snowmass.

“I support this,” he said.

A motion to approve the funding passed unanimously.

The Aspen/Snowmass start is a 66-mile circuit race on a route that starts on Main Street in Aspen and goes up Owl Creek Road into Snowmass Village and then Brush Creek Village before looping back toward the city through Aspen’s West End. Stage 2 on Aug. 20 begins in Aspen and takes the 120 athletes to Breckenridge.