Tuesday, January 13, 2004
Andy Wirth of the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. took some good-natured ribbing from the Park City, Utah, resort community last summer when he was bold enough to contract for a daily jet flight from Salt Lake City to Steamboat Springs.
Now, Wirth has an increased professional interest in Steamboat and Park City.
American Skiing Co., parent of the Steamboat Ski Area and The Canyons just west of Park City, announced Tuesday that Wirth has been promoted to the newly created position of "vice president of sales and marketing for the western resorts." Wirth has been vice president of marketing and sales at Steamboat for the past four years. His new responsibilities begin immediately, and he will remain based in Steamboat.
Wirth said he's confident he can do his best for both resorts.
"It's a challenge I'm very much up for," Wirth said. "I'm already planning to spend a lot of time over there understanding the competitive situation and as much as I can about bringing people to The Canyons. At the same time, I have to assure my staff here I'll be focused on Steamboat's success."
Wirth's staff at The Canyons will include Brand Manager Heather LaPerle and Vice President of Sales Dave Stevenson.
A big piece of The Canyons' brand recognition is its remarkable terrain, Wirth said.
"The sheer size and magnitude of the resort takes people's breath away," Wirth said. "They have pitches of extreme skiing, and they have great intermediate runs. And this year, they've had 23 feet of snow."
Chip Carey, who was named ASC's senior vice president of sales and marketing last July, said he wants to apply Wirth's depth of experience with the airline industry to The Canyons.
"Andy has extensive marketing and sales experience and has built a reputation as one of the top marketers in the ski industry," Carey said. "His extensive, positive relationships within the travel and airline industry will help us continue the growth trajectory for The Canyons and capitalize on the power of American Skiing Company's two premier western resorts."
The Canyons' proximity to Salt Lake International Airport, less than 40 minutes away, gives vacationers access to many daily arrivals and departures. Airfares in the market are competitive because of discount flier Southwest Airlines' presence.
In late summer, Park City Chamber of Commerce Director Bill Malone described Steamboat's Salt Lake flights as a "reach" in an interview with the Park Record newspaper.
Malone, who formerly held a similar position with the chamber in Steamboat, told Steamboat Today his resort had launched a campaign touting the ability of California skiers to arrive in Salt Lake City in the morning and hit the slopes that afternoon. Malone said he questioned why skiers would fly beyond the airport in Salt Lake to ski Colorado.
Wirth said at the time he believed Steamboat's skiing product and its powerful brand recognition were sufficient to lure vacationing skiers beyond Utah's destination ski areas.
Now, Wirth said he would have to adjust to the need to attract visitors to the broader Park City area, while differentiating The Canyons from competing ski areas Park City and Deer Valley, Utah.
"Now I'll be in a position to help Bill (Malone) do his best," Wirth said with a laugh.
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