X Games banners fly with council | AspenTimes.com

X Games banners fly with council

Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Though special requests to fly banners and flags on Main Street have given the Aspen City Council pause in the past, members quickly agreed Monday to a two-week display of banners to signal the second coming of the X Games.

ESPN’s Winter X Games VII will take place Jan. 30-Feb. 2 at Buttermilk, but vertical banners to mark the event will hang from downtown light poles from Jan. 20 through Feb. 3.

After wrestling with a policy on the display of banners and flags last year, the council agreed to let city staffers approve banners to celebrate the significant anniversaries of local nonprofit groups.

Other special requests go to the council, which only narrowly approved banners for last year’s Olympic torch relay in Aspen. Those banners depicted corporate logos, which troubled some members.

Deric Gunshor, marketing and communications manager for ESPN, showed the council potential designs for the X Games banners, which featured a snowflake motif and X’s or the words “X Games,” but no ESPN logo.

“We recognize sensitivity on advertising,” he said.

“I find these designs great,” said Mayor Helen Klanderud.

City zoning officer Sarah Oates recommended approval of the banner request from ESPN and the Aspen Skiing Co.

“This is a significant international event and something that deserves to be recognized,” she said.

Oates received no argument from the council, which approved the request unanimously. Last year’s X Games at Buttermilk drew thousands of spectators, filled up virtually every hotel room in town and resulted in plenty of television exposure for Aspen.

“I can’t think of a more successful new event,” said Councilman Tony Hershey. “I was joking with Deric ? if ESPN came forward and said, ‘Can we knock down Red Mountain so our cameras get a better view of Buttermilk?’ I think I’d consider doing it.”

While ESPN didn’t ask the city to be that accommodating, one resort official has suggested the council consider relaxing its policy on banners and signs, especially now that Aspen is putting some of its marketing dollars toward promoting new special events.

“When we talk to sponsors for special events, one of the big issues is what do they get for their money,” said Hana Pevny, Aspen Chamber Resort Association president. “Limitations on signage and banners limits our ability to give sponsors benefits and exposure for their dollars.”

As for the X Games, resort officials have made no secret of their desire to lure the event back for an unprecedented third run at Buttermilk. The X Games typically move on to a new venue after two years at one place.

A third year at Buttermilk is not out of the question, according to Gunshor.

“It’s certainly not up to me,” he added. “It would certainly be a precedent.”

[Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com]

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