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Empire Editorial: Eaglecrest a bracket buster

Posted: December 1, 2013 - 1:04am

Eaglecrest Ski Area has proven itself to be a real bracket buster. Since Eaglecrest started its trek in Powder Magazine’s 2013 Ski Town Throwdown in mid-October, Juneau’s public ski area has delivered one upset after another against bigger and better-known mountains throughout British Columbia. Eaglecrest will compete head-to-head tomorrow against Mount Bohemia, Mich., in Final Four action.

Mount Bohemia, located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, was named by MSN.com as “One of the top ten undiscovered ski resorts in the world.” Once again Eaglecrest looks to be the underdog when voting kicks off Monday on Powder Magazine’s Facebook page. Voting will continue through Tuesday, Dec. 3.

Mount Bohemia received the No. 1 seed in the Big East bracket and won the bracket outright Tuesday with a win over Mad River Glen in Vermont. A win this week would pit Eaglecrest against either Stevens Pass, Wash., or Crested Butte, Colo. Voting in that match up will be held Dec. 4-5.

Eaglecrest’s win streak, and the marketing push it’s received as a result, is a boon to the ski resort, its skiers and the city. It takes a lot of money to buy the kind of marketing Eaglecrest is being given, and when the powder settles this month and a new Ski Town Throwdown champion is named, despite the outcome we wouldn’t be surprised if Juneau sees an influx of winter visitors in future years seeking to find out what the buzz is all about.

Eaglecrest may not have the biggest mountains, the most lifts or the variety of luxurious amenities other ski areas and resorts boast, but if we’ve learned anything over the past month it’s that Eaglecrest is one of the most-loved by those who support and frequent it.

Additional winter tourism dollars would be welcomed by local hotels and stores, not to mention by the folks running Eaglecrest. We’re doubtful that additional traffic would reach levels where locals are spending an inordinate amount of time waiting for lifts or rentals. We’re also confident in the staff’s ability to manage an increase in traffic.

Some people may not like the idea of competing against more people for space at the top the mountain. We encourage those individuals to remember that the buzz being generated won’t last forever. It may not even last more than a season. Next year the popularity contest will begin once again and a new winner will be crowned. Red Mountain, B.C., won the 2012 competition only to lose in the Sweet 16 to Eaglecrest this year. Red Mountain had its moment at the top. Eaglecrest could still have its.

Eaglecrest may not have the most runs, deepest vertical drop or most acreage, but everything we do have is 100 percent ours, owned and financed by the City and Borough of Juneau. That makes all of us part-owners of Eaglecrest, so to speak. Vote this week and continue showing your support of Eaglecrest. Let the rest of the country know that the best-loved ski area in the United States is right here in Juneau.

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