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Front Page » December 6, 2005 » Opinion » The Wasatch Behind: Ski Utah, or so they say
Published 3,209 days ago

The Wasatch Behind: Ski Utah, or so they say


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By TOM McCOURT
Sun Advocate reporter

Have you ever noticed how the TV news people give the ski resorts free advertising during the winter months?

All it takes is a single snowflake in the air for us to see great scenic shots of happy skiers singing the praises of Alta, Brighton, or Park City on the TV news. And, it happens every week through the winter. If the networks don't give the ski resorts two minutes of news time, they give them three minutes of weather or sports time. Advertising like that is worth millions. Other businesses in Utah can only dream of such widespread, free publicity.

Even the state of Utah gets into the act by putting out Ski Utah license plates. To an uninitiated observer from outer space, one might get the impression that Utah is somewhere north of the Arctic Circle. All we do here is ski.

Once again, the Wasatch Behind is left out. We have no ski resorts and we get no free advertising. I think we should sue for equal time.

I think that every time Channel 2 does a news story on ski resort conditions, they should be required to do a report on ice fishing conditions on Scofield Reservoir or winter campground conditions in Buckhorn Wash.

Every time Channel 4 shows a throng of happy skiers lined up for lift tickets, they should be required to show happy rabbit hunters in Consumer's Wash or happy snowmobilers in Joe's Valley.

Every time Channel 5 does a report on when each resort will open and how best to get there on the icy roads, they should be required to give the full winter schedule for the CEU Prehistoric Museum or the Burr Ferry on Lake Powell. It's only fair.

How did Utah's major news outlets get to be cheerleaders for the ski industry anyway?

"It's all about ski bindings," Uncle Spud said thoughtfully. "The ski industry is big business in Utah, and the resort owners, business people, bankers, chambers of commerce, travel bureaus, and politicians are all bound together. The tie that binds them is money, of course, and some of those people are the same folks who own, control, or influence the TV industry. And so, it's easy for them to give the ski resorts free advertising cleverly disguised as news, sports, or weather stories."

He went on, in his Spud like way.

"It's a lot like Reaganomics," he said with a grin. "You remember, the trickle down theory of economics. The ski resort operator is bound to make lots of money. The guy who sells ski parkas and gloves is bound to help him out. The guy who owns the shuttle buses and the guy who sells hot, church approved cocoa are bound to get a percentage too. The politicians are bound to collect lots of taxes on everything that happens, and the TV news people are bound to help make it happen. It all comes together like the perfect storm - a network of ski bindings."

"Things work that way for the gas industry in eastern Utah too," I said. "What is good for the Bill Barrett corporation is good for the wasatch behind. We all share in the economic prosperity."

"That is true," Uncle Spud said. "But I don't think we will ever see any Gas Utah license plates."

"Good point," I agreed. "By the way, how do you know so much about the ski industry?"

"I almost learned to ski once," Uncle Spud said. "You see, when I first came to Utah, back when Moses was still a corporal, there was a tribe of well-heeled natives who had entirely too much money and free time on their hands. They spent the winter sliding down the mountain and then paying a big chief named Redford to let them do it again. They invited me to slide down the mountain with them, but I misunderstood what they intended to do. When they said they were going to go hit the slopes, I thought they were going to start a fight at the ski lodge, and so I declined."

"I sure hope those Ski Utah guys have a sense of humor," I said.


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December 6, 2005
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