This weekend 30 hockey teams from around the country will descend upon Aspen for the Fall Face-Off tournament. Last week is was 22 other teams, and the week before that, it was 30 more.
“It’s events like these that really bring tourists and tourism dollars to town,” said Jon Larson, Ice Garden and Lewis Ice Arena manager. “During the shoulder season, it’s good prices on hotel rooms that make events like these possible in a town like Aspen, and hockey players and their families are providing some much-needed revenue for hotels, restaurants and retailers.”
The City of Aspen estimates that the Fall Face-Off Tournament will generate $1.5 million for Aspen’s economy as teams from New Mexico, Utah and Arizona come to Aspen to participate in the event. Earlier in October, the Hockey Mountain High Tournament brought 30 more teams to town.
The Pond Hockey Holiday Classic is set for the last week in December. The event caters to kids who are out of school for the holiday and draws teams from around Colorado. Each group typically just plays one day, so the net impact on town from the event is unknown; however, since it’s recreational events like these that have a concrete effect on the town, the City of Aspen has plans to add more multi-day ice events to its roster. A bonspiel (curling tournament) is slated for summer 2010 with 24 teams.
“With the bonspiel occurring in the summer, there’s a unique opportunity to market it with the Aspen Recreation Center, the golf course and other local amenities to really make this a signature event,” Larson said.
The City will continue to use the “dry flooring” it purchased to turn the Ice Garden into an arena suitable for hosting non-ice events during parts of the summer. Last year’s antique fair drew larger crowds for the event than in the past, and there are plans for the Garden to host an art show in addition to the antique fair in 2010.
“You have to be creative in this economy,” Larson said. “The City is continually increasing its efforts in creating special, signature events that will bring more people to Aspen.”