Tourism Rossland was thrilled with the recent results of a USA Today poll ranking the Golden City Canada’s Top Ski Town.
Rossland was one of three Canadian towns in the Top 10 poll, judged by a panel of experts and international voting platform. Rossland came second overall in all of North America, with Banff in fifth place and another West Kootenay city, Nelson, in 10th.
The top 10 winners in the category Best Ski Town are as follows: #1 North Conway, New Hampshire; #2 Rossland, B.C.; #3 Bethel, Maine; #4 Stowe, Vermont; #5 Banff, Alberta; #6 Aspen, Colorado; #7 Breckenridge, Colorado; #8 Alta, Utah; #9 Jackson Hole, Wyoming; # 10 Nelson, B.C.
Black Press contacted Tourism Rossland Executive Director Andras Lukacs who responded with a breadth of insight that can only be given justice in his own words.
Black Press (BP): A pretty impressive accomplishment, what are your thoughts on Rossland being named the Top Ski Town in Canada, and number 2 in North America?
Tourism Rossland and the industry is very excited that we were voted the Best Ski Town in Canada and second in North America by USA Today’s 10Best list.
Additionally, let’s not forget that USA Today readers also voted The Josie the Best Ski Hotel in Canada and third in North America.
BP: How much does Tourism Rossland take part in these promotions?
Rossland was nominated by an expert panel and the Top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.
Tourism Rossland did promote the vote on our social media channels. We are extremely proud of the fact that we were able to build a growing and engaged community online who share our excitement about Rossland and our tourism product.
This definitely helped us in the competition. However, I believe that the results also show that winter sport enthusiasts really value the ski experience in Rossland.
Our unpretentious, small-town vibe and our amazing local business community delivers an exceptional visitor experience. From accommodations, restaurants and bars, retail, arts, culture and heritage, our community consistently over-delivers and our visitors keep returning. In essence, our past visitors and current residents are the biggest promoters of Rossland.
BP: How significant are these promotions in terms of attracting potential visitors?
Rossland is one of the last uncrowded and unspoiled ski destinations in North America.
We offer a beautiful small heritage town and big mountain adventure at the same time. More and more, visitors are looking for these communities and the current pandemic just highlighted the importance of smaller destinations.
The USA Today recognition is important as we start to work towards the objectives of our new strategic plan. These include increased visitation in need periods, continuously improved visitor servicing/experiential quality and building a compelling and authentic destination.
To be honest, general awareness of Rossland is still relatively low outside of our core markets (skiing and mountain biking).
Our goal is to change that. And being on USA Today’s 10Best list is an excellent step towards that direction.
BP: The impressive accolade has to give the city and its residents a boost of pride, but are you also wary of it becoming too popular?
The key of successful destination development is that it has to happen within the context of community values. Rossland is an incredible tourism destination because our visitors are welcomed as “temporary locals”.
This is where the Rossland vibe is coming from and it’s essential to keep it. However, we are not a destination for everyone and that is okay.
To answer your specific question, we are not worried that we are becoming too popular. Our accommodation capacity puts a hard limit on visitation and we are rarely close to this capacity. That being said, our goal is to increase visitation and spending in our community in need periods, when visitation is low.
Therefore, Tourism Rossland will continue to focus it’s efforts to generate incremental visitation in non-peak months and winter need periods. And these media recognitions are important building blocks to achieve that.
Finally, tourism growth and economic development has to be understood within the larger framework of our community and region.
Tourism Rossland has a fantastic relationship with the City of Rossland and we are looking forward working with our community in a manner that supports the city’s Official Community Plan.