marketing awards logo

The NSAA Marketing Awards are presented annually to ski resorts across the country for their successful sales & marketing programs that help promote the fun of skiing and snowboarding and develop individual ski area brand positions. These awards are designed to benefit the entire industry by raising overall marketing standards and promoting sustained growth of the industry.

Category Descriptions

Best Overall Marketing Campaign (up to 2 winners)
These creative and on-brand campaigns break the barriers between company and community, and represent the most creative and effective efforts. 

Best Social Media Campaign
Specifically designed for social media platforms, these campaigns effectively cut through the noise to connect with a ski area’s online community. 

Best Use of Video
Snowsports are exceptionally well-positioned for visual media, with the power to evoke emotion, inspire action and tell the stories of our mountains and people through video.

Stoked on Safety
Honors campaigns exhibiting a proactive, thoughtful, and ultimately effective approach to safety messaging.

Mountains Are for Everyone Award
This new award recognizes the ski area or resort group that has made inclusion a priority for guests and/or staff. These events, campaigns or programs should incorporate authentic representation and messaging that make clear that mountains are for everyone. Entries will be evaluated on their creativity, problem-solving, the existence of meaningful education and action, and overall effectiveness at making all who wish to participate in snowsports feel welcome.

2024 Marketing Award Winners

Congratulations to the 2024 Marketing Award winners and finalists. Winners are highlighted in bold.

Best Overall Campaign (over 500k visits)

  • Palisades Tahoe, CA
  • From the operations blog to the Surf Report to the après experience, Palisades Tahoe delivers the complete snowsports package. And their marketing delivers on brand identity, transparency, cross-channel messaging and a deep understanding of their people — guests, staff and athletes alike. The metrics tell the success story; for instance, the operations blog saw over 140,000 pageviews and the operations campaign achieved social media reach of 5.1 million. Our favorite part of the campaign? The weekly emails to Palisades Tahoe staff to keep them informed and engaged. This quote stands out: “Ever since reading a specific, detailed blog that was dedicated to the work I do at the mountain, I felt like my contributions were not only understood better but appreciated more.” For its thoughtful, authentic way of bringing everyone to the table, NSAA named Palisades Tahoe winner for Best Overall Campaign.

  • Snowbird, UT
  • Snowbird has long eschewed the tactic of positioning itself against other resorts because they’re simply “A Different Breed,”  as this most recent campaign notes. This year’s effort moved away from terrain to focus on the person it calls to. With bold red (to match one of their tram cabins), the Snowbird team presented a holistic and creative campaign that performed to impressive metrics across platforms: a 482% increase in unique visitors to the campaign landing page; a 53% increase in digital ad click through; and myriad mentions across earned media (notably, many were advertising-focused outlets). For a campaign and activations that resonated with its target audience, NSAA named Snowbird a finalist for Best Overall Campaign. 

  • Sun Valley Resort, ID
  • The judges moved Sun Valley into this category because their Warm Springs Enhancement Project campaign flat out deserved to be among the best of the season. The Sun Valley team embarked on a strongly branded 36-week campaign dedicated to the project, including over 30 videos along with social media and website components. Holistic, cross-channel campaigns not attached to a specific ROI can be difficult to get approved, let alone manage, but that’s the most effective way to inform guests about lift and terrain projects. For its cohesive campaign that documented a big expansion while showcasing a good variety of voices, NSAA named Sun Valley Resort a finalist for Best Overall Campaign.

Best Overall Campaign (under 500k visits)

  • Grand Targhee Resort, WY
  • We love a mountain that knows itself and stays true to who it is. Grand Targhee set themselves apart from their neighbors with clever creative that appealed to the wants of the core guest and new folks looking for the core ski and ride experience. According to Grand Targhee, they “risked not being everything for everyone, which increased loyalty amongst our best guest.” The proof? The 2023–24 season saw four of the top 10 revenue days and 10 of the top 20 skier visit days of all time. The brand campaign stretched into pass sales season, culminating in a record-breaking launch for both quantity and revenue. Even better? The Targhee team delivered on the promises of the campaign, and guests noticed — their NPS score went up by four points. For its clever campaign that reinforced their value proposition to their core audience, NSAA named Grand Targhee Resort winner for Best Overall Marketing Campaign.

  • Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, CO
  • Arapahoe Basin pulled off one of the greatest hijinks in marketing with its A-Basin Ambush, literally snagging market share en route to the ski area. Anchored by Olympic medalist and culture shifter Gus Kenworthy, the campaign broke skiers from their routines and introduced them to a different experience. Ambushed skiers and riders were treated to a chartered bus, lift tickets and a party on the Beach. The effort increased social media impressions and led to a solid traditional media campaign, namely on TV. While the judges did question the juxtaposition of bringing more people to the mountain with the ski area’s experience-maintaining capacity limitations, overall the campaign was a solid balance of irreverent and effective, which is right in line with the A-Basin vibe. For its FOMO-inducing and incredibly creative campaign, NSAA named Arapahoe Basin a finalist for Best Overall Marketing Campaign.

  • Mountain Creek, NJ
  • A consistent theme through the Marketing Awards applications this year is resorts identifying what’s important to their particular type of guest. You know that you’ve hit the resonant nail on the head once you achieve a total 26.4 million in social reach, a 34% YOY increase in walk-up business and a 678% YOY increase in social media engagement in a weather-shortened season. Once again, Mountain Creek’s successful campaign leveraged multiple channels, including print, a landing page, social media, television and billboards, in a saturated media market. For its highly effective, yet simple message that appealed to guests emotions, NSAA named Mountain Creek a finalist for Best Overall Marketing Campaign.

Best Social Media Campaign

  • Keystone Resort, CO
  • Keystone Resort led with levity this season, blending operational updates and sales messages with a fresh, cheeky tone and an undercurrent of fun. After watching Keystone’s social media for years, it feels like it’s finally found its voice. The Bergman Bowl expansion provided the backdrop to let the personalities of their people shine through. Judges particularly loved the Summit County Snow Cat Migration video. It’s no surprise that something beautifully shot in Planet Earth style outperformed its goals (and most of the other posts). We hope Keystone keeps finding the joy in snowsports and sharing that with all of us. For elevating the level of its social media efforts and presence to outstanding results, NSAA named Keystone Resort the winner for Best Social Media Campaign. 

  • Granby Ranch, CO
  • Granby Ranch redeveloped its brand and positioned itself as a great place for families to learn to ski and ride through its overarching “It’s All Here” campaign. One of the most fun and service-forward pieces of this campaign (which judges watched in real time in hopes the ski area would apply) was Granby’s “Shrediquette” video series. It’s one thing to promote Your Responsibility Code, but it’s another to identify the best practices that first-timers might not know of, like allowing space for others in the lift lines and when loading the chair, not to French fry in slow zones, and leaving your gear outside the lodge in a designated rack. Guests learn ski technique through instruction from the resort, and the same goes for ski culture. For its fun and informative campaign that generated a solid social media lift, NSAA named Granby Ranch a finalist for Best Social Media Campaign.

  • Winterplace Ski Resort, WV
  • The Southeast snowsports vibe is alive and kicking among the communities at Winterplace. Clear goals and remarkable outcomes for this campaign all came from recognizing the desires of their guests, focusing on community building through events and creating memorable experiences. A youth focus paid off via a foray into TikTok, exceeding goals for follower growth and impressions. Staff were a key audience, and according to the resort, their “feedback emphasized a sense of pride in being part of a team that’s making a tangible difference, contributing to an overall positive workplace atmosphere and an increased motivation to deliver exceptional experiences for our guests.” The judges also liked that the resort outlined how they minimized and offset their campaign costs. For its transparent and complete campaign that boasted great goals and results, NSAA named Winterplace Ski Resort a finalist for Best Social Media Campaign.

  • Palisades Tahoe
  • See description in "Best Overall Marketing Campaign"

Best Use of Video

  • Mammoth Mountain, CA: The Spark
  • Mammoth Mountain’s partnership with professional athlete and artist Chris Benchetler led to a branding piece, “The Spark,” that pulled back on the hard sell and increased engagement by focusing on the beauty of the lifestyle. This video combined artistic creativity seamlessly with the creativity of choosing your own adventure on the mountain. Over two weeks, the video amassed a total 1.7 million organic views and 10.5 million impressions across paid and organic channels. While certainly impressive (and stoke-inducing), judges wished that this most important influencer were wearing a helmet to help model safety. For its beautiful cinematography that draws viewers in to watch the entire edit and tangibly captures the excitement of skiing, NSAA named Mammoth Mountain the winner for Best Use of Video.

  • Holiday Valley Ski Resort, NY: End of March Snowmaking Efforts
  • Give it up for Holiday Valley — the perennial snowmaking champion — for breathing life into the tail end of the New York ski season. When both temps and snow started falling at the end of March, Holiday Valley stood up 125 snowguns and started cranking. Anchored by Dennis Eshbaugh, stalwart president and general manager, and the snowmaking experts at HKD, videographer Ashley Baron jumped into action for a video that leveraged a good storytelling opportunity and got all the judges stoked on the power of making it one more weekend. For going to great lengths to capitalize on the conditions to extend skiing and riding, and putting a true marketing effort behind that late-season push, NSAA named Holiday Valley a finalist for Best Use of Video.

  • Stevens Pass, WA: Reid Learns Lift Ops
  • Sometimes ski people can get a little defensive when managing guest fear around operations — what’s second nature to industry folks doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Demystifying operations has been part of the Stevens Pass marketing plan over the seasons. When a mom reached out to share her son Reid’s fear of getting stuck on a chairlift, the Stevens Pass operations team invited them to the mountain to see how the machines work and learn more about how they train and practice lift evacuations. The video saw a reach 136% of average, resonating with guests who shared this fear and were grateful to the ski area not for the effort. For going above and beyond to make guests feel safe and welcomed, NSAA named Stevens Pass a finalist for Best Use of Video. 

Stoked on Safety

  • Ski California, CA: Deep Snow Safety with Travis Ganong
  • When we tallied up our judges scores in Best Use of Video, all agreed that Ski California’s deep snow safety video was a contender. It scored high for its results and for deftly managing the dual realities of snowsports: that the sport we love is inherently dangerous. An emerging theme in our industry is improving the frequency of simultaneously warning our guests about the risks of snowsports and giving them the tools and confidence to have a safer day on the hill. 

    Ski areas should take the same approach to safety as they do to marketing: Talk about it in a responsive, intentional and strategic way, and the Ski California deep snow safety campaign nailed that. Over a year in the making, with input from both safety and communications professionals, the video featured real-life scenes from deep snow near-misses. It was held for release until just the right time, before a winter storm dropped 8–10 feet of snow in four days, and a toolkit with collateral was released so resorts and industry partners could easily share the video and messaging. 

    One week post release, Ski California’s deep snow safety video garnered over 80,000 impressions and over 100,000 video views on their own social media channels, and an increase in traffic of 250% to the association’s online Mountain Safety Guide. Posts via the association’s resorts and their athletes drummed up over 400,000 more impressions and nearly 325,000 video plays. For its proactive, thoughtful and ultimately effective approach to safety messaging, NSAA named Ski California the winner of the Stoked on Safety Award. We hope to see more campaigns melding safety messaging with marketing strategies. 

Mountains Are For Everyone

  • Vail Resorts, CO
  • It’s no secret that funding inclusive programming directly impacts participation and fosters a culture of inclusion. But Vail Resorts took that a step further and ensured guests saw themselves — and perhaps parts of their own story — through art at the ski area. The company’s “Gondola Gallery” series spanned several resorts and featured the work of Black, Indigenous and adaptive artists who are leaders in their communities, each with their own special relationship to the mountains. The company openly promoted the initiative, leading to high visibility among its social media following and the public, and ultimately inviting many to see themselves in the mountains. For elevating the voices of underrepresented artists to make a statement on existing and permanent real estate throughout their resorts, NSAA named Vail Resorts the winner for the Mountains Are For Everyone Award.

  • Big SNOW American Dream, NJ
  • In the tri-state area, racial and ethnic diversity is a given. But, an understanding of, or interest in, snowsports culture is not. Big SNOW has always viewed diversity and inclusion as values, and proactively shared snowsports culture — and not just the typical “Go big and send it” mentality. Their Super Not Serious About Skiing campaign focuses on aspects of snowsports that we all know and love: fun, learning, high-fives, making memories and, of course, après hot chocolate (which we’re never too old for). Big SNOW also consistently offers access to affinity groups already doing the work, like Hoods to Woods, and facilitates not just one-time, but transformative experiences for their diverse staff and guest base: 55% identify as a race other than white. Omar Diaz, founder of Hoods to Woods, summed it up best: “I believe Big SNOW is a direct contributor to the newest generation of snowsports athletes as well as the many communities that have found joy, challenge and recreation on the slopes, both inside and out.” For its strong take on not taking yourself or the sport too seriously and hard work to bring all guests into the fold, NSAA named Big SNOW a finalist for the Mountains Are For Everyone Award.

  • Loveland Ski Area, CO
  • Mountain Creek’s location lends itself to diversity, and they’ve long been proponents of getting youth on snow. But the team at the ski area pushed beyond fostering inclusion to address one of the preeminent challenges children face today: mental wellness and coping skills in an increasingly disconnected digital culture. Mountain Creek partnered with the Lakeland Hills YMCA and the Mental Health Association to create a program for local youth called GRIT ‘n Snow. Kids from all backgrounds, including those who received scholarships through Mountain Creek and its partners to attend, were empowered to learn a new sport while also receiving age-appropriate resources for mental and emotional wellness. This powerful program that teaches life skills beyond simply sliding on snow provides a blueprint that can be replicated by resorts across the country.

  • Massanutten Resort, VA
  • You can welcome folks to the mountains, but it’s important that they find themselves once they arrive. Community partnerships are critical to pulling off events and activations that serve a diverse guest base. Massanutten partnered with several local groups to host the HeArt & SOUL Winter Fest event, a full weekend of activities designed for families of color, featuring Black-owned businesses and Black artists. Additionally, the marketing demystified the snowsports experience with complete guides to snowsports, the area and what to expect (which is simply good guest service, and something we should see more of). For pulling out all the stops to truly welcome a diverse group of guests, NSAA named Massanutten a finalist for the Mountains Are For Everyone Award. 

Thank you to our gracious sponsor of the 2024 Marketing Awards, Doppelmayr.