The NSAA Marketing Awards are presented annually to ski resorts across the country for their successful sales & marketing programs that help grow the sports of skiing and snowboarding. These awards are designed to benefit the entire industry by raising overall marketing standards and promoting sustained growth of the industry. The awards recognize the best in ski area marketing campaigns.
Thank you to our gracious sponsor of the 2021 Marketing Awards, Doppelmayr.
Past Marketing Award Winners
Congratulations to the 2021 Marketing Award Winners and Finalists
Best Overall Marketing Campaign
- Winner: Wild Mountain, Minnesota
- The Keep it Wild campaign told the story of new ownership and high-visibility capital improvements, such as chairlift refurbishment and a new bar and deck, which really stood out amidst the COVID-heavy focus of the season. Wild Mountain saw a 24% increase in total winter revenues, a 75% increase in ticket revenue, and a 125% increase in future season pass sales. On top of that, the ski area deserves a kudos for attaining CarbonNeutral Certification through Natural Capital Partners, diverting waste and many other sustainability successes achieved for the modest investment of about $13K in carbon monitoring, renewable energy credits and carbon offsets. This purpose-driven campaign impressed judges by establishing a good foundation from a clear brand promise and authentically changing the guest experience to align with that promise. The judges also appreciated that a small resort in Minnesota was making big moves for the climate with eye-catching collateral. The cohesive Keep it Wild creative was delivered across video, (owned) billboards, email, direct mail and web, and the ski area took the opportunity to upgrade its email templates and gather mailing data for direct mail campaigns that still cut through the digital clutter.
- Blue Mountain Resort, Pennsylvania
- For its highly effective, dynamic and localized approach to coaxing people out of the house, NSAA named Blue Mountain Resort an Overall Marketing Award finalist.
- Jay Peak Resort, Vermont
- For its lighthearted, engaging and on-brand multi-season event celebrating The Return, NSAA recognized Jay Peak as a finalist for Overall Marketing Campaign.
Most Unique Campaign
- Winner: Boreal / Woodward, California
Jay Peak Resort, Vermont
- Judges loved It’s Go Time from Boreal for its ability to meet the needs of their guest, demonstrating an awareness of how this target behaves. The ski area’s Go Time Tickets program releases a certain number of online pre-purchase lift tickets for six sessions, decreasing in cost throughout the day — effectively creating a premium and a discount product and eliminating the exclusivity factor from the equation. In an era when season pass products are the focus of so much marketing, it’s refreshing to see a simplified lift ticket structure and campaign that makes the sometimes untouchable lift ticket accessible, enabling anyone to get out on the mountain at almost any time for a price that meets their budget. The Go Time campaign’s execution, with a built-in call-to-action, also stood out this season for its creative, video-heavy approach. Boreal realized an impressive 51% increase in revenue for daily access, a 10 point boost to NPS, 20,000 new guests added to their database, and effectively pushing participation into the “white space” of weekdays and nights.
- For its impressive pivot to long-term lodging packages that appealed to their core guest and solved a significant cashflow problem, NSAA named Jay Peak a Most Unique Campaign finalist.
- McIntyre Ski Area, New Hampshire
- For its unique spin on a terrain park redesign that put building safety and community with participants at its center, NSAA named McIntyre Ski Area a finalist for Most Unique Campaign.
Best Use of Mobile Technology
- Winner: Snowbird, Utah
- Raise the woof for Snowbird’s Dog Chat! Making the ski area’s avalanche dogs the voice and face of their chat bot messaging — replete with frustration-diffusing dog puns — is a very smart and creative move that capitalizes on some of the most popular content in skiing (tied with babies on a snowboard). Judges appreciated how Snowbird connected such a strong brand point, avy dogs, back into a useful tool. Dog Chat boasted close to 900 programmed responses and growing, even utilizing YouTube videos for instructional answers to certain questions. Since launching in February 2020, the Snowbird Dog Chat has answered over 31,000 inbound messages from guests, and the estimated cost savings within the first year was equivalent to 30 work weeks of a staff member responding to each question. According to judges, this campaign’s impressive ROI shows how an investment in technology, if done well, can have a significant payoff. On top of cost savings, the chat dogs were able to get ticket and lodging inquiries seamlessly into the purchase funnel, driving $150,000 in projected annual assisted revenue and the fourth highest conversion rate of all Snowbird’s digital marketing channels. Snowbird has plans to develop this service in cool and functional ways, including integrating data feeds to populate the chat with real time answers to weather and operations questions, and working it into Facebook messenger and the Snowbird app.
- Purgatory Resort, Colorado
- For its sophisticated owned audience targeting, efforts to automate and impressive results, NSAA named Purgatory resort a finalist for best use of mobile technology.
- For implementing a new and highly effective marketing channel via custom and targeted SMS messaging, NSAA named Wachusett a finalist for Best use of Mobile Technology.
Best Social Media Campaign
- Winner: SilverStar Mountain Resort, British Columbia
- In a season when gatherings of all kinds fell to the wayside, SilverStar’s virtual event series, complete with terrain park competitions, on/off-mountain activations and competitions, was an inspired idea to keep the momentum and spirit of competition going. All of the various components to this campaign featured unique methods for guest engagement, incentivized with high-quality prizes, and the gathering and sharing of user-generated content was as robust as it comes. Judges appreciated SilverStar’s dynamic and eye-catching creative, good use of sponsorship branding and fun, click-prompting imagery. The ski area’s social media audience agreed: +15% Instagram & +1% Facebook audience growth; 7.5% engagement rate, an increase of 4% over average; 163 entries for Rail Jam/SEISMIC Hits and hundreds of tagged posts; More than 53,000 positive reactions, comments and shares; organic reach over 1 million+; video views 140,000+ owned channels, and 35,000+ guest channels; direct shoutouts from prize winners on their socials tagging and thanking brands. This is a strategy that can carry over and will work well when social content is needed beyond the pandemic.
- Shawnee Mountain, Pennsylvania
- For its effective employee targeted campaign that invited people to join the team with custom messaging for each audience, NSAA honored Shawnee Mountain as a Best Use of Social Media finalist.
- Sunlight Mountain Resort, Colorado
- For its continued success with a solid Mini-Mayor campaign effort before, during and after the election, NSAA named Sunlight Mountain Resort a finalist for Best Use of Social Media.
Best Use of Video
- Winner: Mission Ridge Ski & Board Resort, Washington
- Where many chairlift replacement projects get shine in the form of lift towers hanging from helicopters — photo and video that’s impressive in its own right — Mission Ridge gave viewers On The Way Up, an 18-part video series that documented every detail. As our judges point out, people love being in the loop with what’s happening at their favorite ski area. This project was major, and the fact that the ski area had the foresight to turn it into a mini documentary was fantastic. The judges also appreciated this unique campaign’s local tie-in to community businesses. With this campaign, Mission Ridge set out to drive social media engagement during the down season, and the results reflected success by every measure: 11% increase in year over year total views; views of On The Way Up accounted for 59% of all views across platforms; average views of episodes were 568% higher than the average views this season for weekly conditions videos; YouTube subscribers increased 81% since the start of the series. Another unique aspect to this video campaign is that it helped Mission Ridge stay in front of guests with a strong narrative while the ski area opted to pull back on all unnecessary and advertising-related posts and content out of respect for our nation’s ongoing social justice focus.
- Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, California
- For its super effective use of influencer marketing and tapping into partner audiences with highly-engaging content, NSAA named Mammoth Mountain a finalist for Best Use of Video.
- Snowbird, Utah
- For its keen ability to seize the moment and wrap all of the record-breaking imagery into one beautiful and anticipation-building story, NSAA named Snowbird a Best Use of Video finalist.