The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Tailgate Munich? City sends delegation to tradeshow

$21,500 city-funding approved to send Valdez reps to Germany


The Valdez City Council approved $21,500 in city funding to send a delegation of five Valdez representatives to Munich, Germany to accompany Mark Sullivan and crew to the IPSO sports trade show at the end of January, 2012.

“Tailgate Alaska founder, Mark Sullivan recently contacted representatives of the city to let us know that their event has secured a major new sponsor,” an agenda statement to the Valdez City Council said at Monday night’s regular meeting. “While there, they will be pumping up Valdez, not just for Tailgate, but as a winter destination in general. They have all their own costs covered to participate in this tradeshow, but due to the sheer size of the event (80,000 expected participates), Mark asked if the city would consider sending our own delegation to this tradeshow to assist them in working this crowd and adding to the authenticity of what they are selling by having “locals” on hand.”

Tentative delegates are Nate Smith, owner of 907 Snowcat LLC, Sean Wisner of the Alaska Avalanche Information Center, Dan Vandermuelen, 2011 Tailgate ski champ, Steve McCann, Valdez City Council member and VCVB board member and his wife, Paula McCann, Valdez booster and former VCVB employee.

The request for travel funds came at the behest of council member McCann.

Sales leads generated from the tradeshow – which its website touts as a sporting goods product show – must be shared with any business or member of the public that requests the information as per council insistence as city tax dollars will be paying for the trip. Delegates are also to represent Valdez as a whole and not tout individual business interests.

“I would like to see us take this out of what we pay the VCVB,” council member Joe Prax said during discussions on the matter.

The concept was not embraced by other council members.

Valdez Star photo

Nate Smith testifies to council on behalf of the proposal to send a Valdez delegation to the upcoming IPSO tradeshow in Munich, Germany.

McCann, who is also a board member of the Valdez Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the trip would normally have been facilitated through the VCVB. However, the publicly funded group charged with promoting Valdez as a tourist destination is in financial trouble at the time and its finances closely monitored by the city and is expected to remain so for at least the next several months.

Flow Snowboards is a new major sponsor for Tailgate Alaska. The event attracts hundreds of snow sports enthusiasts to its base on Thompson Pass each April and features workshops, ski and snowboard competitions in a party-like atmosphere.

The event has grown in the numbers it attracts since 2010, and many businesses in Valdez say it is a major economic boon for winter tourism.


Reader Comments

Lovewinter writes:

Why would the CIty send 4 people from Valdez who have nothing to do with the ski industry, do not work in the ski industy and are basically recreational/weekend hobbyist skiers. Why is the city funding this. Why not send professionals like Cummings, Kinney, Mann, or other guides who actually have a vested $$$ in the industry. I 'm sure those going are fine, but will they truly represent locals businesses of just Mr. Sullivan promotional activities in Lake Tahoe, Something is not right here.


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