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Hotel Colorado in plane view

Donna Gray

Free advertising may have gone the way of the free lunch, but not for the Hotel Colorado. This month, Frontier Airlines is featuring the historic hotel in Glenwood Springs on its in-flight television channel.The video will be shown on 5,000 Frontier flights to 49 cities in the country during February, said Lou Stasko, who handles public relations for the hotel. Stasko also produced the video.Landing the coveted place on the airline’s TV channel was a matter of timing and fortuitous connections. Frontier originally approached her about doing a music video on Brethren Fast, a rockabilly group in Denver that she represents. During the conversation, Stasko, ever the promoter, also mentioned that the Hotel Colorado was sponsoring a snow polo team, which would compete in the world snow polo championship games in Aspen in December. She also mentioned that the hotel has a long history of promoting polo, beginning with Walter Devereux, who developed the hot springs in town and built the Hotel Colorado in the 1890s. Devereux, who was also a polo fan, built a playing field in front of the hotel and made it a popular spectator sport.Intrigued by the unusual winter sport and rich history of the hotel, Frontier asked for a video of the polo match.”The clincher was we had the shortest amount of time. The match was Dec. 17-19 and we had to have the video to Frontier by the last week in December,” Stasko said.Comcast filmed the event in Aspen’s Wagner Park. Jill Libby and Nancy Arnold of New Castle, owners of Artistic Focus, were hired by the Roaring Fork Polo Association to take still pictures, some of which were used in the video. Stasko and Hotel Colorado manager Larry McDonald worked on the script. Stasko even found actor Chip Walton, owner of the Curious Theater group in Aspen, to provide the voice-over. With no time to obtain the necessary licenses for music, Stasko called on Brethren Fast to provide background. Stasko said Frontier “loved it.”The six-minute video features Team Hotel Colorado, captained by New Castle polo player Barry Stout, in the snow polo match, and historic still pictures of the hotel and hot springs pool, as well as famous visitors such as President William Howard Taft, President Teddy Roosevelt and the gangster Al Capone.”You couldn’t pay for advertising like that,” Stasko said, adding that a 60-second commercial on Frontier Airlines TV runs about $9,600.”The exposure is so phenomenal for Glenwood,” she added.This is not the only broad exposure the hotel has had lately. This summer travel writer Joe Lieberman visited the hotel and wrote a story about a meal he was served based on the last meal served on the “Titanic” in the Molly Brown Suite. Brown was a survivor of the famous shipwreck.His story was featured in December in a weekly magazine published by one of Japan’s largest newspapers, the Asahi Shimbun. It is also set to run in four in-flight magazines in Japan, China and Indonesia.Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association executive director Marianne Virgili is also thrilled with the coverage.”We’re so pleased. We’ve wanted for a long time to have a presence on the airlines,” she said. “We’re hoping it will lead to a major partnership with Frontier.”Virgili added that the chamber is preparing a proposal for Frontier that would involve co-promotion of the airline, Glenwood Springs and Colorado Mountain Express, which brings hundreds of tourists daily from the Eagle County Airport to Glenwood during the ski season.There’s more good news in this story: Team Hotel Colorado vanquished all comers at the snow polo championship and went home with the Devereux Cup.


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