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Northstar Swaps “at Tahoe” for “California” and Skiers React

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Northstar-at-Tahoe recently made a few changes to their brand, beginning with their logo. While they seem simple, the response has been less than enthusiastic. Here’s what has changed:

  • Removed the drop shadow from the logo
  • Replaced “at Tahoe” with “California”
  • Changed tagline to “The Way it Should Be”

Their reasons for the change? “Simply, the California persona aligns well with who Northstar is (laid back, family, fun).” Despite the changes, they expect their skiers and riders to refer to them as just “Northstar” as they have in the past.

Here are just a few of the 65 responses to the change on Facebook:

  • I like the “At Tahoe” better. Just sounds better to me. Especially since “california” is getting such a bad rep these days.
  • Corporate strategies amuse me.
  • You’ll get prioritized on key word searches….for people looking to ski/ride in “California” vs “Tahoe” which means that you will only attract newbies since anyone who has experience already knows Tahoe is bomb. In the end it means that I will will have dodge more noobs and the lifts will stall more with people falling off the exit. Awesome.
  • Disney is changing California Adventures by removing the “California”- Maybe Vail can pick up some signs at a discount.
  • I hope they don’t drop the Northstar next year or tag on Vail to the name.
  • Should have just dropped the “at Tahoe” but I guess they would have sounded like a Cadillac engine.
  • “At Tahoe” is laid back.
  • (the only supporter) Ok ill go out on a limb here and provide the opposing view I like N* Cali better it flows better and it makes Northstar its own entity in California not recognized by its vicinity to the lake, but rather its location as a California resort Im from upstate NY and most of the country thinks Tahoe is entirely in Nevada anyways the village is isolated, could become its own town Northstar California since it isnt really part of Truckee thats how CO resorts are so im sure thats what Vail is trying to do I always felt Northstar-at-Tahoe or Sierra-at-Tahoe was a very awkward arrangement but its my favorite place to ride since I first came here to ski as a little kid in 95′ and will remain my home mtn till I die regardless of the name
  • (response to supporter) You obviously never been to tahoe if you think it’s entirely in Nevada your the type of thinking thats going wrong with northstar people that never been there making decisions for it from a desk in Colorado..
  • I was on Vail’s website just a bit ago……it didn’t say “Colorado” underneath it…..phew for a minute I thought Vail was in Utah….duuuhhhh
  • “I can’t give you the key to success but I can tell you the key to failure; tying to please everyone.” Your marketing peeps just violated branding 101. Too bad so sad.
  • Read the full list here…

Out of 65 comments, one lonely voice supported the change. Now, I’ve never skied Northstar but the change does seem a little strange. When I think “Tahoe” I think laid back, snow, amazing scenery. When I think California I think busy, crowded, and hot. A ski resort with California in the name sounds about as appealing as a surf spot with Utah in the name.

Bottom line, it’s an interesting change and I really doubt it will be a deal breaker for the resort, but I certainly hope the folks behind it have some stronger reasons for the change than the ones provided.

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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