Few of you probably ever knew the face behind the words who was always telling you about Utah skiing - Raelene Davis.
Her official title is Ski Utah Director of Marketing. It is worth noting that she is celebrating 25 years on the job at Ski Utah. It’s surprising only in the fact that when she interviewed back in 1985, the director told her the job would simply be a “stepping stone” to bigger and better things. She never found anything bigger or better than promoting Utah skiing/snowboarding. Her’s is an interesting story woven into the changing times. In the beginning, there was no money, limited media resources and the opportunity to visit only a few markets. Imagine trying to promote a product without the Internet, email, Facebook, blogs, websites and mobile-to-mobile communications. And, of course, the hundreds of different publications available today. And, imagine having to plead to get a fax machine when they first arrived.
“When fax machines first came in, I remember it took us three board meetings to get a fax machine approved. We had to send out queries to all of our members asking if they would send us faxes if we got a machine. Today, we don’t hesitate when it comes to updating software or hardware that will help us better market Utah,’’ she said.
One of the high points in her quarter-century career she noted was the 2002 Olympics. “Especially after living in Denver when they turned down the Olympics and being so disappointed, and then being able to come to Utah and be a part of the something so exciting,’’ she said.
The opportunity to be a torchbearer is something she said she will never forget. It should be noted that when Raelene appeared on the scene, Utah counted 2.4 million skier days. Last year, the number had risen to 4 million. Broken down, that’s 72,000 new skiers and snowboarders for every year she’s been at Ski Utah.
She believes the numbers will continue to rise as more people discover Utah’s advantages -- great snow and the most accessible resorts in the world. I skied Deer Valley over the weekend and met a man who was here in Utah to see Syracuse play in the NCAA Western Regionals. He wasn’t too excited over the outcome, but he was all about Utah skiing. He said California had always been his choice for a ski vacation, and that this was his first visit to Utah, “but it won’t be my last. I’m hooked.’’ Exact words. It struck me that maybe he had been in touch with Raelene. She told me this: “Utah snow is easy to sell and so is accessibility. But, it still gets back to the fact that you can tell people a million times about how great the snow is, and how close we are to the airport, and how close our resorts are to one and another; but until they get here and see it for themselves they really have no concept of what we’re saying. It’s like we always tell people: ‘Don’t come to Utah until you’re ready to come back every year because you’ll get hooked.’ ’’
A lot of people have become hooked on Utah skiing and snowboarding. And, it’s a fact that Raelene has played a big role in getting the word out so people can “get hooked.’’