Aspen lives large with ‘Bachelor’ | AspenTimes.com

Aspen lives large with ‘Bachelor’

Naomi Havlen
Aspen Times Staff Writer

At least one romance blossomed in Aspen this summer ? with 28 million pairs of eyes watching.

The romance led to a marriage proposal, as well as a lot of exposure for the town.

In just a 10-minute segment on “The Bachelor,” ABC’s reality-based matchmaking show, Aspen racked up the equivalent of more than $5 million worth of advertising when the show aired on Nov. 6.

“The whole point was to portray Aspen as a great location, and since the show was filmed in August it was obviously viewed as a nonwinter location,” said Hana Pevny, president of the Aspen Chamber Resort Association.

Pevny helped the show’s producers during the Aspen episode, after convincing them to bring the cast here over other choices such as Jackson Hole, Wyo., Taos, N.M., and Tahoe, Calif.

The show was filmed during the last week of August, and featured the bachelor, Aaron Buerge, and one of his prospective wives, Helene Eksterowicz, on a “dream date” to Aspen. The couple met atop Aspen Mountain, picnicked and took a horseback ride on the mountain and later stayed in a “mountainside mansion” ? a spec home in the Five Trees neighborhood.

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In the show, the bachelor begins with 25 women from whom to choose, and in six weeks narrows down his choice to one. Buerge presented his pick with a two-carat diamond ring and a marriage proposal.

When the bachelor has just three women left to chose from, he takes each on an overnight trip.

The three destinations for this season include one city (San Francisco), one beach resort (Kauai) and one mountain resort (you guessed it).

The fact that Buerge asked Eksterowicz to marry him in an episode that aired Nov. 20 didn’t hurt things, Pevny said. A number of media, including People Magazine and “Good Morning, America,” mentioned the trip to Aspen after Buerge announced his final decision.

“Originally when we calculated [the advertising value] based on how many minutes the segments was, the number was between $1.9 million and $3.5 million,” Pevny said. “But then they also had clips of this overnight date on the following two episodes of the show, and the advertising equivalency went above $5 million. I feel that as part of our integrated marketing plan this is a great way to get the Aspen name out there.”

Meanwhile, between late August and early November, Pevny said her lips were sealed about the show.

“I had to sign a $5 million confidentiality agreement,” she said. “That’s why viewership and ad rates are so high ? it’s the suspense. If we were to leak which individual was brought here and how it went, it would affect viewership. The couple was sequestered, and we weren’t allowed to say anything, either.”

Pevny worked with the Aspen Skiing Co. for the on-mountain segments of the date and arranged for the pair to have dinner in a private room at the Caribou Club. She also coordinated the accommodations for the crew while Mason and Morse agreed to provide the spec home for the cast members.

“I can’t say this is television at its best, but the beauty is the viewership,” Pevny said, saying the crew included several shots of the gondola cars on Aspen Mountain, each of which clearly state “Aspen” on the sides. “I wanted it really clear where they were so there was no mistake.”

[Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com]

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