Ski industry officials from throughout the United States Friday heard plans for a national advertising campaign aimed at attracting new skiers to the sport.
The $13 million national campaign will debut this fall with television commercials featuring both good and not-so-good skiers. They will be seen schussing and sliding to soft-rock music."You've got to ski it to believe it," is the theme of the commercials, the largest-ever effort to bring more people into a sport once marketed to the economically and athletically elite.
"There are a lot of things we've done a poor job of communicating that this campaign is designed to correct," said Bill Stenger, chairman of the Ski Industry Marketing Task Force.
But while the television commercials and other promotional efforts will help get the public interested in skiing for the first time or even returning to the slopes more often, they won't feature specific destinations.
The television commercial is going to be filmed next week in Summit County - Colorado - not Utah. Stenger said that it will be photographed in such a way that no one will be able to tell what part of the country it's in.
Promoting particular areas is up to the individual states and resorts, Stenger said. That means that the ads will likely not give Utah any edge over its hottest competitor, Colorado.
Colorado already spends millions more on promoting its resorts than does Utah, and some ski industry officials in Utah believe the state's liquor laws put them further behind.
Stenger said that the industry has at least a three-year commitment to the campaign, which he said may not show immediate results for the nation's major ski areas.
That's because the initial purpose is to get skiers to try the sport at a nearby slope. After a season or two there, they'll be ready for a ski vacation in Utah or some other resort area, he said.
The campaign's goal is to increase the number of skiers in the United States between 4 and 6 percent annually. Currently, the rate of growth is just .4 percent each year.