March 28, 2015

Calling all enthusiasts: ‘Ski Cortland’

SkiJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Skiers descend Labrador Mountain in Truxton in this Feb. 15, 2014, file photo.

Staff Reporter

The Cortland Downtown Partnership as well as officials from the city, county and local ski resorts have begun looking for a marketing firm to help with the “Ski Cortland” winter promotional program.
Ski Cortland is an $840,000 effort to make Cortland County a premiere destination for winter sports enthusiasts through marketing the four local ski resorts — Greek Peak in Virgil, Song Mountain in Preble, Labrador Mountain in Truxton and nearby Toggenburg Mountain in Fabius, while promoting Downtown Cortland as the hub to access them.
Cortland County is part of the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council, which was awarded $2.3 million in state funding in December. Of that money, $840,000 was allocated to the Cortland Downtown Partnership to fund the Ski Cortland initiative.
City Director of Administration and Finance Mack Cook said he, along with Downtown Partnership Executive Director Adam Megivern, Cortland County Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Jim Dempsey, and the ski resort owners, drafted and sent out a request for proposals for assistance marketing the Ski Cortland program.
Cook said the group is doing its due diligence now before paperwork can be processed at the state level and the award is finalized so everyone is prepared for next winter.
“They (the state) tend to be a little slow before we actually sign on the dotted line,” Cook said. “I think in the ski business, you better be in market by September.”
He added the goal is to be working with a firm and to have a marketing plan for Ski Cortland close to completed — if not ready to roll out — by September to begin promoting the area for the 2015-16 ski season.
Dempsey said he has been working with resort owners to come up with a way to promote their businesses and Downtown Cortland since before the state funding was awarded.
“For the past two years, I’ve been doing a program with them,” Dempsey said. “This (Ski Cortland) is just taking to it the next level. They don’t look at it as competition amongst themselves as much as a collaborative effort to bring people to our area to ski.”
Megivern said the group met with one of the marketing firms that responded to the request on Thursday.
Megivern declined to comment on who the group met with, but said the city has received seven responses and the group is prioritizing responses to the RFP and will schedule meetings accordingly.
“We’ve scheduled one (meeting) and we’re in the process of scheduling more,” Megivern said.

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