UPDATE (May 2022) – This record was recently broken by Jesper Tjader, but I think it’s interesting to compare the campaign around Tom Wallisch’s record to this one. Lots of lessons to learn.
Virtually every major resort has at least one sponsored athlete.
A skier or snowboarder who may not spend every day of the season at their mountain, but who represents, extends, and carries the brand wherever they go as professional athletes.
Typically, the way resorts use these names and faces directly is through park edits or on pow days. But consider this video for a moment.
You might say that this video goes beyond just an edit. And it does so in three specific ways.
It’s the combination of those elements that earned the video above 700,000 views (to contrast, all of Sunday Rivers videos on their channel combine for just under 1,600,000 views).
And it’s that same combination that I want to discuss today.
Tom Wallisch + 7 Springs
About 7 months ago I wrote about how Tom Wallisch and Seven Springs had formed a near perfect partnership. With such a talented athlete under their umbrella, it became a waiting game to see how they’d end up using him.
It didn’t take long.
But notice the tone of this video? There’s none of the typical park edit music, they’ve used a dramatic TV-esque voiceover instead of a brah frying a few sentences, and there’s not a single flip, spin, grab, ___-on or ____-off.
If it makes you feel like this wasn’t make for core skiers…well…you’d be right. This was made for much broader and much more valuable exposure than that.
It was made for TV.
— X Games (@XGames) April 20, 2016
So let’s tie this all together with a single paragraph that tries to put this entire concept into a single thought.
Seven Springs had a skier capable of doing things that would appeal to an audience beyond core skiers. So, whoever started the wheels in motion, created a record (which people love), told a story about trying for the record (which people love), and brought in other partners to help make it happen and get the maximum reach it could.
Personally, I think it’s a brilliant move that’s extra brilliant for a reason I haven’t seen mentioned yet: RISK.
I love that this trick didn’t put Tom in a position of extreme risk like other records may have. The absolute worst, while more than viewers at home might be used to, is nothing Tom isn’t completely comfortable handling and mitigating.
Which is huge because this story is going to be seen by thousands of non-skier kids all over the country.
If it inspires them to try this sport – and it surely will on some scale – the fact that Tom was sliding a rail means that the gap between their motivation and what they can do their first season is much, much, much smaller than almost any other ski coverage like the X Games or Olympics.
While that seems small, it’s not. At all. In fact, this video may be the healthiest mainstream ski coverage the sport has seen in years.
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