Letter to the Editor: Snowball a Success
Ryan Summerlin March 21, 2013
To the Editor:
Congratulations to Winter Park and Fraser on a successful SnowBall!
We proved we could do what Avon and other cities could not: run a successful SnowBall without major confrontations or incidents.
Congratulations to Glen Trainor and his fine staff, Catherine Ross and the Chamber, the towns of Fraser and Winter Park, the medical and emergency teams and all of the volunteers that helped make this event a success. I even played a small role: As an appointed Fraser Valley member of the Grand County Tourism Board we were the first group asked to endorse (and help fund) the Festival.
Now what do we do?
In the early 1990s a woman from the Red Cross met with me in my office when I was general manager at Iron Horse in early December. They wanted to do a New Year’s Eve Benefit Party. Have everyone come up on the Ski train and stay in Winter Park. I told her I didn’t think we could do it as it was Christmas week and we were full the whole time (Yah, those were the good old days.). At the end of the conversation she casually mentioned, “We do a two day Mountain Bike Ride every year at the end of June in Breckenridge. Breckenridge doesn’t want us anymore. We’re looking for a new home. Do you think Winter Park would be interested?” I immediately picked up the phone and called the President of the Chamber (I think it was Greg Foley). I told him I had someone I thought he should talk to. That led to the Winter Park Red Cross Fat Tire Classic, one of Winter Park’s most successful events for many years. And that helped cement “Winter Park – Mountain Bike Capital USA,” the trademark Dave Smith and I had pursued. The Red Cross never did do the New Year’s Eve Party.
This year’s headline for SnowBall read “Everything Went Smoothly!” I read with high interest Dr. Mark Paulsen’s article in the Sky-Hi News. Having been in that Emergency Room the week before, maybe I have a heightened awareness.
Suppose next years headline reads, “Three Young People Die From Overdoses at Winter Park SnowBall Festival!”
Of course the choices are never that black and white. But there is good business and bad business. Even for Grand County, where we’re in the trenches every day fighting for our share of business, or on the ropes just trying to stay open for business (you pick the metaphor).
So we have to decide whether Snowball fits our community image. Is it something we can be proud of? Also important, or maybe more practical, does it encourage new good business or just continue bad business but keep us going. It’s not a light decision.
My vote: Let’s move on.
Winter Park and Fraser