Paul E. Anna: High Points
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
As we all know, as the snow goes, so goes the economy of this town.
This year, perhaps more than any other in recent times, we are back to being a ski town. A town that will prosper based upon how people perceive their prospects for great skiing to be. And that perception is tied directly to a factor beyond our control, how much snow falls.
So far this decade we have yet to have any significant dumps, although there is optimism that today may bring some changes.
The next best thing to snow is smart marketing. With all due respect to the city council and its $200,000 of grants for seed money for ideas and events to “put heads in beds” we are reliant on the big dog, the Aspen Skiing Co., to market, not just the mountains, but the town as well. And, after reading about some national initiatives that that they have undertaken this week, it seems like they are serious about it.
Start with the billboards that have been placed in San Francisco and Chicago with the “It’s time to Fly” headline promoting Aspen. The direct flights from Chicago and San Francisco make it easy to get here and if I was in either city, stopped in traffic, thinking about getting away, these billboards may be just the reminder I need.
The Gretchen Bleiler boards in L.A. also come at a perfect time as the Olympics kick off in three weeks. There will be a bubble of interest formed around winter events and our girl Gretchen is the perfect face for the town and Skico.
I don’t know how much those billboards will cost, but whatever it is, the investment benefits us all if it can covert commuters to heads in beds.
Then there is the plan to work with the City of Denver and Comcast to bring the Winter X Games to Denver and the SnowSports Industries of America tradeshow via a giant video screen next weekend.
The X Games themselves are one of the great marketing opportunities that this town gets each year. It’s not just having folks in Aspen for a weekend, though in January that helps a lot. Rather, it’s about showcasing Aspen to a desired demographic each winter on ESPN. No other ski resort in America receives the kind of broadcast television exposure that Aspen does with the X Games. The relationship between the town, the Skico and ESPN is a win-win-win.
And this year the 17,000 attendees at the SIA will get a chance to feel the buzz outside in Denver’s Skyline Park. Who will be there?
Anyone who makes a living in the snow. Manufactures, marketers, journalists, resort owners. The SIA is the biggest event in snow sports and to get a prime position on a big screen there is a good thing.
Yes, we need snow, and the buzz that a few big storms would generate would be priceless. But until that happens the best promotion of Aspen as a ski town comes from the marketer at the Aspen Skiing Co.
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Aspen City Hall reporter Carolyn Sackariason reflects on the same old story, different year, different decade.