The Ski Town Throwdown shaped a Halloween nail biter in Nelson that wasn’t about the ghouls and goblins.
Folks were on the edge of their seats as Whitewater and Revelstoke went head to head in the competition that saw the local hill eliminated in a matchup that was too close to call until the end.
Only 20 votes separated the two towns when voting closed at 11 p.m. on Thursday night. The final tally was 1,527 to 1,507.
Rebeckah Hornung, sales and marketing director for Whitewater Ski Resort was exhausted Friday morning after the intense battle she described as “so much fun.”
“Watching the votes climb together within ten of each other all day and then in the last fifteen minutes being tied, it was awesome,” she said.
Of course, there are mixed emotions with the loss a bit of a heartbreaker for the hill who took top honours last year in the online voting contest organized by Powder Magazine that pits North American ski towns against each other.
“It would have been awesome to win but we did have our moment to shine,” said Hornung. “It’s great to have another great resort on the powder highway to have their moment… Revelstoke is a fantastic mountain. If we’re going to lose to someone, I don’t feel sad to lose to them.”
The competition brought the community of Nelson together online as many were similarly glued to Facebook, refreshing to see the neck-and-neck race. Encouraging their friends to vote and posting messages of community and ski-hill pride, the competition remained positive even after Revelstoke was named winner of the round.
Dianna Ducs, Executive Director Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism posted “Heck of a race everyone! Thanks for supporting and voting.” And John Dooley, Nelson mayor posted “Good Luck Revelstoke.”
Ducs was thrilled to see such a great community effort right up until the last seconds of the competition. She said everyone should “be proud of our efforts, our community.”
“When we went into this competition Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism and Whitewater Ski Resort discussed openly the possible voter burn-out factor from last year and also the many other contests that everyone has been exposed to online,” said Ducs. “Last year was a huge community effort, and thousands of hours were put into winning that competition. We can ride on the coat tails of Best Ski Town in North America title for a long while and reap economic stimulus from it.”
“Our exposure from the Powder Magazine contest showed an increase in media attention and accommodation sales last winter and this year we are anticipating a similiar increase.”
With attention brought to other local hills still in the competition, Ducs said the entire region will continue to benefit.
Whitewater will still be following the competition and cheering for their peers still in the running. Hornung said with humour, “Hopefully, if Revelstoke is going to beat us, they make it to the end.”
Revelstoke goes on to face the winner of Panorama and Banff/Lake Louise who face off on November 4 in what is sure to be another close fought battle.
Last year Nelson/Rossland were grouped together but this year the West Kootenay ski resorts were separated and more BC mountains were added to the roster. Red Mountain (Rossland) is still in the running and will take on Fernie on November 5. The finals will be decided over a two-week period starting December 9.
With Whitewater out of the Powder Magazine competition, they’re turning their eyes on the sky watching for the real powder to fall.
“We are ready for winter,” Hornung said.