Tuesday, January 19, 2021
Face Masks-a Sun Valley Billboard?
The eyes give it away—Mike Fitzpatrick, manager of guest services at Sun Valley Resort, wears a friendly smile underneath the Sun Valley face covering.
Thursday, November 26, 2020


As visitors begin pouring into Sun Valley today to celebrate Sun Valley Resort’s 85th ski season, could Sun Valley Resort use facemasks to its advantage?

Jake Moe, the founder of “Powder Magazine,” thinks so.

Moe, a resident of Sun Valley, thinks masks could be put to work as billboards for Sun Valley.

Idaho reported 1,773 new cases of virus on Wednesday for a total of 96,503. It has 895 deaths--21 of them new. Blaine County now has 1,256 total cases--19 reported Wednesday.

Masks keep people safe, he said. But, conversely, they are a barrier to letting people know how friendly we are.

“Just yesterday I had a conversation with someone I’ve known for 50 years. And it was haltingly conducted because we had our masks on and couldn’t high five,” he said.

Moe has a solution, though—one he shared with those tuning into a virtual Economic Summit organized by Sun Valley Economic Development and Visit Sun Valley.

The solution? Make 10,000 face masks with the Sun Valley logo and give them to everyone who comes to town. They would end up being billboards promoting Sun Valley.

“I want you to think about your local college football team,” he said. “When you see someone with that logo, you say, ‘Hey that was a great football game.’ ”

Moe said retailers and others interested in promoting Sun Valley and its friendliness could take it one step further by wearing a mask with the words, “Ask me.”

Masks block us from being our normal spontaneous self. But broadcasting that we want someone to ask us questions, whether on a face mask or a sign at our business, says we’re grabbing COVID by the neck and saying we’re going to make this a real asset to our community, he said.

The community had a Smile Sun Valley campaign in the 1970s, Moe noted. And even the simplest way of reminding people, “We’re friendly. Ask us anything” helps break down barriers.

“We need to be more demonstrative. If I saw a sign on an art gallery door, ‘Come in. Ask us anything. We’re friendly,’ I would probably go in.”

The tantalizing aroma of hot spiced cider in two-ounce cups wouldn’t hurt, he added.

When people do ask questions, make your answer personal, Moe said.

“Tell them why this place is paradise to you. It’s the Harriman Trial or lunch at Galena. Or snowshoeing to look at animal tracks. Then find out what they like and address that.”

Moe recounted how Aspen used to have a town greeter dressed up in unusual costumes. Everyone always stopped to say, “Hi.”

Maybe Sun Valley could have its own greeter—someone who visits the different trailheads and initiates conversation, he added.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the Sun Valley ski season is a go in the year of the pandemic, he added.

“All of Europe has shut down skiing. That’s how serious those countries are taking this pandemic. So, it’s incumbent on us to identify and attack the realities.”


The eyes give it away—Mike Fitzpatrick, manager of guest services at Sun Valley Resort, wears a friendly smile underneath the Sun Valley face covering.




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