skip to main content

Skiers Speak: Are Unbelievable Marketing Photos Just That?

divider image for this post

When you publish an unbelievable photo in a print ad, there’s no easy way for readers to call your bluff aside from making the ad digital, sharing it themselves, and hoping the right people read and agree. Thanks to social media, however, we are finally getting a glimpse of what skiers actually think about those shots that seem too good to be true.

I’m sure there are more examples in others parts of the country, but I had Colorado under the microscope in December, so that’s where I began to notice resort fans start to speak up about how they felt about possibly-unrealistic photos. Here are three examples.

Beaver Creek – December 22, 2011
Beaver Creek reported 5″ of new but were posting photos like this.

The photos looked incredible, but some of their Facebook fans weren’t convinced:

“My guess is this was taken on a run that’s not open, because that’s a lot more than 5 inches.”
“Yeah 5 inches…..”

No follow up comments from Beaver Creek to disagree with what those skiers claimed.

Aspen/Snowmass – December 15, 2011
After new snow fell on Aspen’s slopes, this photo was shared on their wall:…
It didn’t take long before someone posted this comment.

” I have to say I am a little bit sick of your closed terrain photos, stop baiting !!!”

Four people “liked” this comment and a couple other comments suggested they may be poaching unopened areas. No response from Aspen/Snowmass. But maybe they didn’t have to. The photo was so popular that other, more positive feedback, soon buried that concern.

Vail – December 4, 2011
Around this same time, Vail posted this video that showed some pretty tasty footage after a small storm. Within minutes of the video going live, this comment appeared (it was the first).

“While this is sweet, we all know this terrain isn’t open to the public.”

Lass than two minutes later, Vail had responded:

“Everything is shot in bounds, Andrew, and definitely open to the public.”

A few minutes after that, skiers started to side with Vail:

“I gotta stick up for Vail Andrew, I was there yesterday. There is nothing about that video that is suspicous. There was Tons of Powder within the Trees yesterday. Was Awesome ! :)”
“Absoultely inbounds and we were constantly having the public ski through our setups…Andrew Murray hope you come shred with us on the next Pow day!”
“I was there and it was amazing pow!!!”

Such Thing as Too Good?
In a low snow year, you want to take full advantage of any sort of snowfall. However, skiers are smart and, thanks to social media, aren’t afraid to call you out if you use out-of-bounds photos. These three examples illustrate three ways this can go:

  1. For Aspen, it wasn’t critical because the positive feedback outweighed the negative.
  2. For Beaver Creek, most of the feedback was negative and never got addressed.
  3. For Vail, the feedback started negative, was quickly addressed.

While it often happens that negative feedback is often shot down by the fans themselves, I tend to side with Vail’s response. Respond quickly, politely prove them wrong, and give your fans the opportunity to side with you. Humans like to choose sides, the longer it takes for your resorts to provide on opinion to agree with (Snowbasin & Sunshine Village are extreme examples), the more fans will side with the wrong group.

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.

Get the weekly digest.

New stories, ideas, and jobs delivered to your inbox every Friday morning.