Dew Tour to receive $50K

Breckenridge residents want event village to be back in downtown


— Breckenridge Town Council likely will dip into reserves to come up with the $50,000 requested to secure the 2009-10 Winter Dew Tour.

Councilman Jeffrey Bergeron said Thursday that given the economic recession, some local businesses could be hurting by the Dec. 18 to 20 event, and it "could be the difference" to keep them afloat.

"It's good for the ski area, and it's good for the town, too," he said.

Despite three rounds of cuts to expenditures during the past year - and a projected budget shortfall of $2 million to $3 million - council members agreed the increased traffic and publicity for the town is worth the money.

After the event's organizers requested double the rooms provided for last year's event, the local organizing committee asked the town for $45,000 to be split among lodging companies to offset the extra costs. Another $5,000 is to help support two concerts planned as part of the event.

Council members emphasized to lodging and Breckenridge Ski Resort representatives Tuesday their disagreement with plans to put the event village - with concerts, sponsors, giveaways, etc. - at the base of Peak 8. Last year it was downtown in the Riverwalk Center area.

"The town is everything," Councilman Peter Joyce said. "I also don't see how they're going to have a better experience at the base of the mountain, especially if everybody is rushing back to town" at the end of the day.

It also costs the resort money to have the village at its base area.

Brett Howard, the ski resort's marketing director, said the resort would benefit from having the village back in town. He suggested a letter be sent to the event organizers explaining the situation.

He also said about 70 to 80 percent of the "vignettes" during last year's event were directed at the town.

At a previous meeting, council members had asked for more specific numbers on how the 2008-09 Winter Dew Tour affected the resort and local businesses.

Last year was the Dew Tour's debut, and Breckenridge had hosted the U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix in the previous years.

Taxable sales revenue during last year's event was down 0.14 percent (at $46 million) from that of the 2007 Grand Prix. The 2007 event had been up 11.37 percent (at $54 million) during the same event in 2006.

Regardless, Breckenridge Resort Chamber executive director John McMahon said the "Dew Tour was really vital."

"We have to keep in mind we came into October looking at a 20 percent deficit in occupancy and looking as much as 30 percent down in revenue," he said.

Councilman Eric Mamula said his local restaurants had about a 10 percent increase in revenue during the 2008 event than in 2007.

"Just from my own business, it was a huge positive to have that event in town," he said.

Council members also were optimistic about coming up with a three-year commitment with the Winter Dew Tour.

The event includes top snowboarding and free-skiing talent and is simulcast on network television to 50 countries.


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