Michael Cozad was near construction completion on the Tsaina Lodge in the fall of 1990 after a turbulent year caused by the Valdez Oil Spill. It was time to initiate the marketing for the Tsaina and that is how the idea of the WESC came about. Michael had been noodling the idea through the winter of 1989 and early 1990. At the end of summer in 1990 Michael made the first steps by approaching Bob Arts with the idea of WESC. We are not positive how we ended up on Bob’s door but it might have been Bill Bixby. WESC was to promote tourism and that is why Bob was approached. He didn’t even ski.
There were many major players in WESC once the idea was conceived by Michael. Bob Arts who was president of the Valdez Convention and Visitors Bureau and Bill Bixby was an active snowboarder in Valdez. Bixby skied with Chuck over the years. Bill knew the skiing was special in the area. These two people would play a major role in making the Extremes happen. It would be Bob who would come up with funding from the VCVB for WESC in the early stage and Bill who would ride shotgun on contracts and other WESC details. Bill also drafted the contract Skiers would sign to be in the event and also the Valdez Helicopter Snowboard and Ski Club Agreement skiers would join to ski the Chugach in the early days.
Bob put a challenge to the WESC idea. Michael had planned on big name judges like Scott Schmidt, Glen Plake and Michael Hattrup. Bob said if you can get those guys to commit to WESC we had a deal. Shannon Loveland, who had arrived in the summer of 1990, fresh out of college, would later become the 1st Executive director of the event after the contracts were made with the skiers. The VCVB lent WESC an office to use early. It was the VCVB’s phones and faxes we used. Without this support WESC may not have happened.
The calls were made to Scott Schmidt, Glenn Plake and Michael Hattrup. Franz Klammer was the skiers agent at the time. He said, “Valdez Alaska, Where is that?". Franz made some calls and Schmidt, Plake and Hattrup. They were interested and contracts were signed. But with Schmidt, Plake and Hattrup in the bag Steve Casimro, in his Powder magazine article referenced the first call from Michael on the event. Steve's reaction was like Franz’s. Steve booked his trip North. Powder even sponsored the event with Steve’s support. Without the advertisements in Powder WESC may have failed. WESC owed a lot to Steve. If Schimidt, Plake and Hattrup had said "no" WESC might have been sunk. There were many factors that went the right direction that made WESC happen.
After signing the celebrity judges’ contracts we just needed to raise the additional million dollars to hold the event.