Aspen Skiing Co.’s three-year-old campaign will be changed next season |

Aspen Skiing Co.’s three-year-old campaign will be changed next season

Aspen Skiing Co. is using its “Before Aspen” advertising campaign for a third — and final — time this winter.

Skico’s print-advertising campaign has featured unique images and usually clever catchphrases to convey the idea that Aspen, Snowmass Village and the four local ski areas define excellence in all aspects of ski life.

The “Before Aspen” ad campaign continues to set Aspen-Snowmass apart but has run its course, said Christian Knapp, vice president of marketing for Skico.

“We’ve done it for three seasons,” he said. “We actually think we’ve given it its due.”

His staff and Skico’s outside advertising agency, Factory Design Labs, of Denver, are brainstorming on a new campaign. They aim to pick a new concept by the end of January.

Shortly after Knapp left Vail resorts for Skico in late summer of 2011, he scrapped the existing ad campaign and installed “Before Aspen.” He said at the time that he wanted ads that got to the heart of why Aspen is different from competing resorts. Each of the ads features large type that starts “Before Aspen” or “Before Snowmass” and ends with a phrase that promotes some aspect of the resorts.

A featured ad this year, for example, shows skier Chris Davenport blasting through gladed terrain on Burnt Mountain on a bluebird day. “Before Snowmass, Joy Had Boundaries,” the ad headline reads. Small type touts 230 acres of terrain on Burnt Mountain: “Snowmass’ Burnt Mountain gives you endless untracked terrain to explore. So you can chase that feeling you live for. Over and over again.”

Knapp said in a recent interview he feels the ad campaign still works.

“It continues to help us inform potential customers and skiers about what sets Aspen-Snowmass apart,” he said.

Another one of the print ads highlights Skico’s coal-methane plant that produces power from methane vented from a coal mine near the town of Somerset. The ad, with a gritty and industrial feel, shows a snowboarder scooting down a rail with a coal bin in the background. “Before Aspen, The Mountain Never Had This Kind Of Energy,” the ad proclaims. Smaller copy explains how the Skico project produces electricity and reduces greenhouse-gas emissions.

The ads all have a “call to action” for a link on Skico’s website that provides video footage related to the scenes in the ads. The video by photographer Chase Jarvis includes behind-the-scenes footage about how the ads were made. That footage has been viewed more than 124,000 times on YouTube.

Skico is running fewer print ads this season and relying more on social media, according to Knapp. Stand-alone video related to the ads is posted on Skico’s website.

“The beauty of it is it can live alone,” Knapp said. The print ads “are just the tip of the iceberg,” he added.

The ads appeared in the October through December editions of the publications Mountain magazine, Outside, Powder, Ski, Snow, Transworld Snowboarding, Freeskier and SnowWorld.

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