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Groups go for sponsorship from LTVA

Some high rollers in event planning lined up before the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority marketing advisory committee Friday morning to vie for promotional funding.

In a region where tourism is king, events represent big business – with spillover dollars that are sometimes difficult to gauge and even harder to ignore in terms of benefits.

Early on, Heavenly Ski Resort took the heat off the LTVA fiscal 2002 budget, which could be determined about the same time as the funding commitments – August.



Each request is contingent upon the final outcome of the budget.

Don Evans sliced Heavenly’s funding request by two-thirds from the previous year, asking $33,000 in contrast to the $100,000 it received in 2001.




Heavenly has cut down on the events it has planned for next year, holding on to its Bumps & Jumps competition covered on CBS last year as its front-line event.

Evans allowed a video to speak for both the South Shore ski area’s future prospects and past successes.

“You can see from the opening of the gondola how many places picked up that news story,” Evans said of the landmark Park Avenue Redevelopment Project unveiling.

Heavenly’s presentation was preceded by Sierra-at-Tahoe’s slide show touting its events’ marketing benefits to the area, which includes Van’s Triple Crown of Snowboarding and various events that gain national publicity from media outlets such as MTV and ESPN.

Sierra is requesting $30,000 from LTVA to promote these events.

“We’re looking at this as a growth opportunity,” General Manager John Rice said, adding he expects an increase in skier visits from the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.

Lake Tahoe Pioneering in Film Festival Director Denise Sloan said her organization, for which she’s asking $35,000 in support, may be small in comparison to multi-million-dollar ski resorts, but it packs much bang for the buck in terms of star power and industry kudos.

She showed a video of Tab Hunter – this year’s tribute recipient – and shared positive feedback from other film festival organizers. Sloan took the show to France.

In Lake Tahoe, a snowstorm that blew through the area in the week of its opening squashed the full potential of the event, which lost $3,000 in its second year. Sloan received $15,000 from the LTVA for last April’s event.

“I can control a lot of things but not the weather,” she told the LTVA panel which aseked about visitation demographics and a possible sponsorship from the American Film Institute for the upcoming year.

Another cultural event organizer pledges to “put heads in beds.”

Carol Spain requested a total $27,000 for the Valhalla Arts and Music and Renaissance festivals, the latter of which wrapped up last weekend. That’s $11,000 more than the year before.

Also staging his event out of Camp Richardson, organizer Les Wright is gearing up for a successful year for the Lake Tahoe Marathon. This time, he’s adding an ultra marathon leg to the mix, with at least 10 people signing up for the seemingly pounding punishment.

Wright, who has signed 550 runners and last week received 362 hits on the Web site, expects more than 3,000 marathoners and 8,000 visitors to take in the Tahoe scene for the October event.

A running magazine will conduct a survey that rates the high-altitude marathon.

“It’s very important we do well this year because that rating will stay with us for years and years to come,” said Wright, who is asking for $22,000.

Local photographer J.T. Ravize wants to bring beauty to the consciousness of visitors.

Ravize is requesting $5,000 to $10,000 to set up Mountain Photo Tahoe 2001, a photography workshop scheduled at Lake Tahoe Community College. An assistant of renowned nature photographer Ansel Adams has expressed interest in attending, Ravize mentioned.

An evaluation of funding for the Tahoe Rim Trail’s 150-mile celebration will be made according to the written presentation.

The LTVA marketing committee will make its recommendation on total or partial funding at its July meeting. From there, those suggestions will be reviewed at the LTVA board meeting.

The judging criteria include media exposure, timing to correspond with slower seasons, the enhancement of community image, visitor draw, ability to book lodging, the event’s goals and the planning organization’s funding budget and business plan, among other considerations.

“Obviously the programs we’ve heard today are worthy of funding,” committee member Bill Chernock said, admitting the decisions are oftentimes difficult to make.


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