WESC group looks for city support to bring back event
Defunct competition put Valdez on the map as world skiing destination
An estimated budget presented by WESC organizers.
A group hoping to revive WESC is meeting with city council in a special work session.
"In the 1990's WESC – (World Extreme Skiing Championships) was hosted by the City of Valdez until 2000. This event was held in the Chugach Mountains, some of the outcomes from the early WESC events were development of multiple winter operator businesses, a major international marketing push for Valdez as the pinnacle of winter destinations (this continues today), and other financial gains in the Valdez business community members," a white paper put out by the group says.
The group is now calling itself WESSC - adding snowboarding to the title.
The group is seeking city monetary and in-kind service support from the city to supplement its proposed beginning budget.
The board of directors is led by Ryan McCune, who is also a sitting council member. McCune's family were cofounders of WESC.
The group "has silently been undergoing development over the last 2 years, with a solidification of "core" parties to follow though as of late October 2015, which is why Council had not heard from us during the 2016 budget process," the white paper organizers submitted to the city said.
Before WESC grabbed world-wide attention by attracting top skiers from around the world, Valdez largely unknown by extreme skiers.
Backers say the event put Valdez on the map, an assertion that is hard to deny.
While the event proved popular with world renowned enthusiasts, it did not benefit from significant financial backing from the municipality and lagged behind in gaining corporate sponsorship.
The new WESC group hopes to overcome these obstacles that contributed to the event's demise.
"WESSC's mission is to be the leader in Winter Sport Tourism development within Alaska; to provide a sustainable annual, high quality, safe sporting event - with which Ski & Snowboard athletes from around the world can participate in, and to showcase the character, culture and pride of the community of Valdez, Alaska," the group said in it's statement to council. " While running the event in a fiscally and environmentally responsible manner thus maximizing the economic and winter sport tourism benefits for the City of Valdez, Alaska during the Event."
City officials have been pushing for the past few years to diversify the Valdez economy, especially winter tourism.
The WESC board of directors hopes be able to hold its first event in 2017.
"The main purpose of this council work session is to encourage the City of Valdez to be the "Host City" for the 2017 World Extreme Skiing & Snowboarding Championships," the group said. "We are seeking $125,000 and $25,000 in kind services, (mainly use of the Civic Center) this sponsorship money will provide marketing opportunities for the City of Valdez that will be implemented globally through WESSC global marketing, television and film-maker partnerships."
The board says it hopes to commission a study on the first event's economic impact.
Organizers of the World Extreme Skiing Championships (WESC) are asking the City of Valdez to help finance bringing back the event, which was last held in 2000.
"We plan to provide solid documentation of return on investment for the community, as well as place $10,000 into a secondary "McDowell winter tourism study" during competition time to give us a true number of visitors during competition years VS non- competition years," the group says.
Its board of directors is rounded out by VP Laurine Regan, executive director of the Valdez Convention and Visitors Bureau, Nick Perata, Tim R. Hodge, and John Woodbury.
The proposal to revive WESC comes at a time when a number of other outdoor promotional projects are also seeking council support.
Supporters of the project say its mission statement speaks for itself: WESSC Inc., is committed to developing an inspirational sporting event that will bring elite athletes from around the world to Valdez while showcasing the unique character, and culture of our community to visitors and media audiences alike.
The work session will be held at city council chambers this Friday at 6 p.m.