Friday, September 29, 2023
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Settlement Reached |in War of Ski Resorts

(CN) - A ski resort in Steamboat Springs, Colo., which for decades has called itself "Ski Town USA," settled a trademark action with Salt Lake City, Utah's tourism bureau over the latter's recent "Ski City USA" marketing campaign.

The litigants announced in a joint statement Friday that the campaign would be revised "in a manner that is acceptable to the parties." The rest of the settlement is confidential.

U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn dismissed the case with prejudice last Wednesday.

Launched in September, the national campaign to lure skiers and snowboarders to Salt Lake and the small mountain towns in the nearby Wasatch Range used the tagline ""Once you've stayed in Ski City, you'll never stay in another ski town."

In a federal lawsuit filed in Denver a month later, Steamboat Ski & Resort and the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club claimed that Ski City was an "essentially identical variant" of Ski Town, and was designed to cause confusion and steal tourists away from Steamboat.

Steamboat Springs, a small Rocky Mountain town about 350 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, has been a popular winter-sports destination for generations, and has used the moniker "Ski Town USA" since 1959, the plaintiffs claimed.

The plaintiffs also pointed out that Viki Varela, managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism, had said in a media release in September that "nearly half of the country identifies the Salt Lake City skyline as Denver," and that Scott Beck, President and CEO of Visit Salt Lake, had admitted that the campaign was "absolutely aimed at luring skiers away from Colorado."

"We are pleased to have resolved this matter amicably before the start of the winter season and I want to thank Visit Salt Lake for working with us so quickly," said Rob Perlman, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation, in a statement. "Steamboat appreciates Visit Salt Lake's willingness to revise their campaign in order to address the concerns that resulted in the court filing."

On Monday the Ski City page of Visit Salt Lake's website featured the tagline "There Is Only One Ski City."

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