SNOWMASS VILLAGE - When fossils of Ice Age animals were discovered in Ziegler Reservoir in 2010, Jack Rafferty saw a marketing opportunity for Snowmass Village and quickly pounced on it. He created a website and started selling T-shirts with designs based on the "Snowmasstodon" theme.
Rafferty also filed to make "Snowmasstodon" a federal trademark, and just last week the process was finally completed.
"It's kind of a big deal," Rafferty said. "Right now it is exclusive to the holder, which would be myself. ... Anybody who would like to use it, we can talk about it."
Rafferty spells his trademark with three S's to emphasize Snowmass, he said. The town has used the spelling "Snowmastodon" in its dig-related marketing efforts.
Rafferty has sold T-shirts through Aspen Sports and Gwyn's High Alpine restaurant, and some were on display in the Ice Age Discovery Center too. Rafferty said he tried to use the sales as a fundraiser for the ice rink, which he has helped build the past three years, and he would still prefer to use the trademark in conjunction with charities and events.
However, the interest has to be there.
"The very first year it was the hottest item in town," Rafferty said.
The excitement seemed to die down as soon as the paleontologists stopped digging, he said. He's not going to heavily pursue using the trademark unless interest picks back up.
Rafferty owns Thotic Shops, which offers custom orthotics and boot fitting, and operates out of Aspen Sports on the Snowmass Village mall.