Snowmasstodons again roam all over Snowmass Village
December 13, 2010
SNOWMASS VILLAGE – Mastodons are roaming Snowmass Village once again. Or, rather, Snowmasstodons are roaming again.
Snowmass Village businessman Jack Rafferty is ramping up his guerilla marketing effort tied to the discovery near the village this fall of the bones of mastodons, mammoths and other Ice Age creatures. Rafferty, who secured the Internet domain name snowmasstodon.com in October, this month started selling T-shirts and hoodies with designs playing off the theme of the Ice Age discoveries. More than 600 bones of Ice Age animals were discovered when Ziegler Reservoir was expanded this fall.
Rafferty hopes the shirts are a hit this ski season with tourists who have already heard of the fossils or will become aware of the discoveries. He believes the clothing, embroidered hats, mugs and stickers he is introducing will also be a hit with locals.
His merchandise is being sold exclusively at Aspen Sports on the Snowmass Village Mall, where he makes custom orthodics for ski boots and shoes. He’s trying to turn a profit from the sales, but he also wants to use the fossil discoveries as a way to draw people to Snowmass. Therefore, he is balking at selling his wares in Aspen.
The shirts and hoodies will feature six designs. One is an image of two mastodons at the base of distinctive Mount Daly. Another has a colorful cartoon Snowmasstodon skull, complete with huge tusks, wearing a skiing helmet and goggles. A similar design features “Rastadon” with dreadlocks.
Coming soon are clothing with a Jefferson Snowmas-Sloth design. The sloth is a snowboarder or jibber “with his pants hanging down past his ass,” Rafferty said. Another will feature “Backcountry Bison,” a backcountry skiing bison with a soul patch.
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Prices range from $19 for T-shirts to $58 for the most expensive, adult hoodie.
He is marketing his blend of stuff under the motto, “The Age of Chill.” Rafferty has trade marks on the designs and copyrights on the phrases.
He is working with Aspen Embroidery Works on the hats and with Advantage Branding of Carbondale on the shirt designs and website. He wants http://www.snowmasstodon.com to look more professional and crisp than what he was able to design. The new site will have links to Snowmass businesses and could be a valuable marketing tool the village can use to build off of publicity about the fossils, he said.
The Snowmass Village Town Council approved formation of an Ice Age committee that will study how to capitalize on the fossil discoveries, from displaying some of the finds to marketing the village. The town will accept applications until Dec. 16, with the goal of having the task force in place by early January. Rafferty said he will apply.
Meanwhile, he and other businesses are ramping up their own efforts to build awareness and spur sales during the busy holiday period. “To let it slide at all is really silly,” he said.