Ramble On: Creating a winter destination

It's fall... there is no denying it. The leaves are turning and frost will soon be on its way.

It’s fall… there is no denying it. The leaves are turning and frost will soon be on its way. There are two sides to every coin and this one is no different than any other. The area becomes beautiful in an entirely different way from summer’s warmth and lake experiences. The type and quantity of visitor we receive is also different. Numbers are down, especially during the week, and the age range is visibly higher. It’s a bittersweet time; folks are able to catch their breath and relax a little but worry about the coming-off season setting in.

The recent Columbia Valley Show & Shine in Radium was a big hit once again bringing large numbers of both new and repeat visitors. We greet these returnees like the old friends they’ve become and welcome the new ones with great hopes that they’ll be back next year. The addition of the Columbia Valley Rockies Alumni game to the weekend brought a number of other returnees as well. These visitors are the lifeblood of this valley.

Last winter’s major new event was the pond hockey championship. It was successful for a first-year event and brought a large number of new visitors here. The numbers, however, are going to have to increase in order for it to continue to be successful. This is not a charity event and so the extra dollars brought into the community by attendees aren’t the only criteria to judge its success. There are dollars that must be raised that actually leave the community in the hands of the organizers as well. How do you plan to contribute to the success of this event? If we all invited one or two people that we know to come and take part in it and a quarter of them showed up, what do you think would happen? I’m hopeful the recent alumni game may have spurred some interest in some of our former stars to come back to participate in this fun and unique event during the first weekend of February 2013 as well.

Let’s hope Mother Nature is co-operative this year and we will see the expansion of the Whiteway project that received a lot of national attention last winter. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t allow for the proper building of the new, wider track and village that was envisioned but this year could be much different. It would go a long way when combined with all the events and amenities Panorama, Fairmont and Radium have to offer to make this valley a continual winter destination community.

Do we have something else in the works? A “new” event to attract returning visitors? Are you ready to volunteer your ideas and energies to working towards something new, or for an existing event for that matter? This is a community that those who live in love, it needs the assistance of all of its residents to further its growth and livelihood. I’m sure the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce would love to hear from those of you who are willing to step forward, not just with an idea but with a strategy of how to make it work.

Think about it…