There’s nothing like the Boston Ski Show to psych me up for the upcoming season.
Yesterday I drove down to The Hub for the 2014 edition. From my personal perspective, this season’s highlight will be a visit to Steamboat, a major ski resort in north central Colorado. The resort will host the 2015 International Skiing History Week in April. So one of the first places I visited in Boston was the Steamboat booth, where I picked up a copy of the trail map.
To be sure, I’ve got a digital copy, but I’m an old-fashioned guy who likes the look and feel of a real paper map.
The skiing will be the main attraction, but I’m also psyched about visiting “Ski Town U.S.A.,” which is how the mountain and surrounding community market themselves to the world.
It’s a trademark or brand that’s so valuable that Steamboat recently sicced its legal hounds on Visit Salt Lake (a tourist bureau-like marketing organization) over its “Ski City USA” promotion. The dispute was recently resolved, as reported in Ski Area Management magazine, an industry publication.
As detailed in the article above, getting the resort off the ground was a protracted affair. The groundbreaking ceremony took place on July 6, 1958 but the resort didn’t official open until January 12, 1963.
When ISHA picks a site to host its annual Skiing History Week, the high muckamucks like to honor major anniversaries. So what’s Steamboat’s anniversary?
It’s not the mountain itself. Instead it’s the centennial of Howelsen Hill, a small ski area that’s owned by the town of Steamboat Springs. In the early days of the 20th century, Carl Howelsen, a Norwegian immigrant, set the town on its path toward becoming a center for winter sports.
In those days, ski lifts were unknown and jumping was the marquee attraction of the sport. Howelsen Hill boasts lift-served alpine skiing, but it’s especially noted for its ski jumps.
By the way, there’s another important connection between skiing history and the Boston Ski Show. Chief impresario is Bernie Weichsel, who’s also an ISHA past president and a major fund-raiser for the organization.