ASPEN - Differentiating Aspen/Snowmass from the competition will again be the focus of Aspen Skiing Co.'s ski-season advertising campaign.
Christian Knapp, Skico vice president of marketing, revealed the new campaign - a fresh take on a theme the company unveiled last season - at Thursday's annual preseason gathering hosted by the Aspen Chamber Resort Association and the ski company at the Sundeck atop Aspen Mountain.
Knapp was new to Skico when he overhauled the company's print-ad campaign a year ago. This season's ads, which will begin appearing in ski,snowboard and outdoor magazines shortly, again uses the themes "Before Aspen" and "Before Snowmass," followed by a catchphrase that sets the local ski areas apart from other resorts.
One, "Before Aspen, inbounds didn't feel like out of bounds," features a helicopter shot of skiers and riders at the top of Highland Bowl. Another, "Before Aspen, last call never rode first chair," depicts a crowd at Belly Up. The fine print reads, "Our skiing is rivaled by one thing. Our nightlife. Plan accordingly."
Ads shot in the terrain park at Snowmass read, "Before Snowmass, turning pro meant leaving home."
A QR code in an upper corner of each ad can be scanned using a cellphone and the appropriate app, allowing a reader to view a video of photography work that went into the images.
The snowy footage was shot last season, pointed out John Rigney, vice president of sales and events, acknowledging a ski season that made national news for its lack of snow.
Senior Vice President David Perry ran down some statistics that most locals are ready to forget - like snowfall that was less than 50 percent of average - and credited everything from stellar grooming on the slopes to advance sales efforts for what was only a minimal dip in skier visits at Aspen/Snowmass - 1.8 percent. Statewide, skier visits were down 11.4 percent, and nationally, the drop was 15 percent, he said.
"A challenging year, but we really kind of kicked some ass, to put it bluntly," Knapp said.
> The new Elk Camp restaurant at Snowmass, a two-year, $13 million project, will open this season. The Elk Camp gondola will run Friday evenings for dinner at the new restaurant and family activities like ice skating and sledding are envisioned outside.
> Along with the new terrain on Burnt Mountain at Snowmass, skiers and riders will find more lines through the glades on Tiehack at Buttermilk and Temerity at Highlands. Trees have been cut in both places to open up the terrain.
> The previously announced Mountain Collective pass ($349 for two days each at Aspen/Snowmass, Jackson Hole, Wyo., Alta, Utah; and Squaw Valley, Calif., plus 50 percent off additional lift tickets at all of the participating resorts) is a surprisingly good deal, according to Knapp.
A six-day lift-ticket package at Aspen/Snowmass, purchased in advance, is $582. The collective pass nets a buyer six days for $565, based on last season's ticket pricing.
"It's less money than the six-day ticket," Knapp said.