Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Last month's trade delegation trip to Whitehorse organized by the Juneau Economic Development Council was a topic of discussion on Action Line Monday.
Council Executive Director Brian Holst was among the guests. He talked about the possibilities to enhance Juneau's tourism opportunities via Whitehorse. "They have about 350,000 tourists a year. What was really interesting when we met with the tourism leadership up there, they told us that 80 percent of their travelers that come to the Yukon come because they want to go to Alaska."
Holst added that Whitehorse gets traffic that's headed in to Alaska's interior, but not a lot coming to Juneau. Some go to Skagway and Haines, he said. "So we definitely see some opportunity there," he said. One potential are the German tourists who land in Whitehorse each summer aboard Condor Air.
Holst said they did hear from Whitehorse officials that they are disappointed in the quality of Alaska's ferry service. They complained that its not consistent. They feel the schedule is too limited. "They point that out as a real limiting factor," Holst said. Holst added that the Whitehorse officials felt a road would make it easier to get here.
Charlie Herrington, the marketing manager for the Eaglecrest Ski Area, made the trip. He visited the Mt. Sima ski area there. "One thing we took away from them was they have a really good snow making program and that's something we're working really hard on the mountain right now to improve on our end.
Herrington said another takeaway was mountain bike possibilities. "Whitehorse is known for having world class mountain biking in part because they get very little rain. So we're in a rain forest and we have a totally different challenge facing us." He added though that there are things that can be done with trail construction to make drainage so the trails can stay fortified."
Herrington said Whitehorse is also known for its cross country trails that go right through town. "People are riding on their mountain bikes and then just go off on the trail. He also said Mount Sima has lift served downhill mountain biking which is something Eaglecrest is exploring.
Mountain bike design company Gravity Logic has visited Eaglecrest to evaluate whether its possible to have mountain bike trails there. Results of the company's feasibility study are pending, according to Herrington.