Steamboat Springs For the 177 participants in the opening session of Economic Summit 2000 Thursday, it was a night of challenges.
The ski company challenged itself, and the community, to deal with the flat performance of the industry.
Community leaders, recognizing that every idea has its price and part of that price is finding community support, challenged summit participants to present their ideas for improving Steamboat in today's session.
Chris Diamond, president of Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., opened the night with a realistic appraisal of the future of the ski industry in Steamboat. He noted that the number of skier days increased only 1 percent over last year a better performance than most of Colorado's ski resorts but still disappointing and challenged the community to accept the fact.
Mike Barry, of the National Ski Association, cited a number of factors that have contributed to the ski industry's flat performance over the past decade.
He asked summit participants to consider the impact of fewer skier visits on Steamboat.
Barry said some might find that, in the short run, a slower ski season would improve the quality of life in town, but over the longer term it could well sap the vitality of the economic and social life of Steamboat.
"We must recognize that the world will be dramatically different in the next five to 10 years," he said.
Both men said ski corp. and the community must work together, now more than ever, for the common good.
Dr. Harvey Cutler, an economist who has been commissioned to study the economies of Steamboat Springs and Routt County, said his preliminary reading of data he and his partner have collected lead him to predict a slowdown in the local economy next year.
Cutler said he is continuing to collect data and will complete his analyses and forecasts in about three months. He welcomed input from the audience on how the study was being conducted.
Paul Clavadetscher, president of Community First Bank, said he considered the recently released results of the community survey to be "valid" and should be given attention.
Noting that the rate of growth for Colorado over the past decade had exceeded Steamboat's, he challenged the participants to try to determine the proper level of future growth, and what services they felt they could do without in a no-growth scenario.
He said it is vital that the business community be involved and make its opinions known in the collaborative process.
Clavadetscher concluded by citing the adage, "Be careful what you wish for because it might come true."
Rita Schweitz, one of the coordinators of the summit, challenged participants to return this morning "prepared to present what is important to you and is a smart investment for the community. Listen, learn and find support for your ideas."
Her partner, David Belle-Isle, complimented participants for their "courage" in showing up for the summit. He then encouraged them to display two elements he considered vital to the success of today's discussions: advocacy and inquiry, which together create the collaborative space necessary to make the process work.