GLENWOOD SPRINGS - The tourism marketing team for Glenwood Springs is launching a new winter campaign called "Ski 7," aimed at luring Front Range skiers to stay here and ski any of seven mountains from Aspen to Vail.
The selling points?
One: Lodging is much less expensive in Glenwood Springs compared to Aspen and Vail, so skiers will have money left over to "live large" in Glenwood Springs after the lifts close.
Two: The Hot Springs Pool is an apres ski activity that visitors won't find in Aspen or Vail.
Ski 7 marks the first time the organized tourism marketing effort for Glenwood Springs has included Aspen and Vail, said Vicky Nash, a resort publicist on the marketing team.
"It was important for the Glenwood Springs Tourism Board's goals to have a regional approach, to take advantage of Glenwood Springs being right in the middle of two world-class ski resorts," Nash said.
"Some hotels have taken advantage of this on their own, offering Aspen or Vail lift tickets, but the Glenwood Springs tourism effort has never really embraced it until now," she added.
The classic Ski-Swim-Stay promotion, offering a package deal for Sunlight Mountain Resort lift tickets, Hot Springs Pool passes and Glenwood Springs lodging, is still offered and is heavily promoted by Sunlight.
Ski 7, however, is the result of last year's competitive bidding process for the city's tourism marketing contract. The Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association won the bid, and has subsequently built a team of rivals with its competitor for the contract to launch a full-bore effort to attract Front Range tourists to Glenwood Springs.
Two billboards have gone up in high-traffic Denver locations, ads are running in the Denver Post and on Colorado.com - the website of the Colorado Tourism Office - and a new website, www.StayGlenwood.com, went live on Thursday to take lodging reservations.
The chamber asked its rival for the marketing contract, Hill Aevium of Edwards, to design the billboards and the StayGlenwood.com website. The results are stare-at-me images of an ice-encrusted skier and a powder-packed snowboarder, both with a glowing image of the Hot Springs Pool reflected in their goggles.
The written message is boiled-down and simple: "Seven Mountains. One Hot Spring. Save more. Play more. StayGlenwood.com"
For other advertising, Hill Aevium designed a 1960s retro Ski 7 badge. It would look perfect as an embroidered patch to sew on a parka. At present it's just a digital image, but a patch may not be far off, Nash said.
The classy images catch the eye, but supporting the new campaign is a new online central reservations deal with Ski.com, the 40-year-old ski resort reservations service based in midtown Glenwood Springs.
Since the advent of web-based lodging reservations in the 1990s, the Glenwood Springs Chamber has contracted with companies from Canada to Durango to run its online reservations system. Meanwhile, Ski.com has built a business in selling package deals for ski resorts across the West.
With the StayGlenwood.com website, Ski.com will be the year-round provider of online reservations for the 1,700 rooms in 60 Glenwood Springs lodging properties.
On the website, visitors can scope out lodging options, buy Hot Springs Pool passes, and buy discounted lift tickets for any of the seven ski resorts from Aspen to Vail: Ajax, Highlands, Snowmass, Buttermilk, Sunlight, Beaver Creek and Vail.
Dan Sherman, managing director of marketing for Ski.com, said the Glenwood Springs Chamber will be able to take advantage of Ski.com's lift ticket contracts with the seven resorts to offer deals to visitors.
"We have highly negotiated rates for blocks of pre-purchased lift tickets," Sherman said. Discounts vary and can go as deep as 40 percent for weekday skiing, he said.
Ski 7 is launching at a time of uncertainty for winter tourism, with a thin snowpack on the slopes and unseasonably warm weather in the valleys. Nash said that could still play to Glenwood's advantage.
"Even with a lack of snow, there are all these other things to do here: biking, the pool, the caverns and fishing," she said. "We have all these winter options that the other resorts don't have."