While many of us sweat through the dog days of summer, looking forward to a weekend at the beach or an afternoon lounging by the pool, the beginning of August is a different signal for others.
The first previews of the upcoming winter’s ski films are leaked, trucks packed with the latest winter gear roll up to the back doors of local ski shops, and skiers scramble for The Farmer’s Almanac hoping for any optimistic pre-forecast of snow.
This year I’m feeling the same trembling urges, but I feel a sense of pride welling up inside of me too. I’m an East Coast skier and this is finally becoming something to brag about. For those of you with limited ski experience, the western US mountains are considered "the place to be," largely because of their light and bountiful snowfalls.
Skiing has evolved faster and in more directions in the past decade than at any other point in the sport’s history. Skiers no longer feel limited to chairlift, or even helicopter-served peaks. They’ve taken to city streets, discovered thickly wooded chutes hidden deep within forests and pushed resorts to expand their boundaries. They’ve also taken to social media, transforming the topic of skiing into a year-round conversation and the East Coast – once an afterthought in the skiing world – has been the greatest beneficiary.
East Coast specific brands have been born through social media and now fuel a revival of region’s image. Eastern Collective is an apparel brand that exploded from a dorm room at St. Michael’s College in Burlington, VT. The Ski Monster, an online retailer selling hand-picked gear, has reared its head from Boston.
Online communities like Ski the East provide a landing page and central dissemination point for East Coast skiing news, information and pride. Once hushed eastern resorts, like Saddleback in Maine and Cannon Mountain in New Hampshire now interact deeply with their fans on Twitter. They often post and boast fan photos and video and engage in personal stories providing a customer experience unparalleled by the mega-resorts of the West.
Ski filmmakers are breaking the mold and shooting solely in the east, like Meathead Films, whose’ trailer for their latest flick, “Prime Cut,” was the impetus for this post and drove significant conversation on social media this past week.
All of these brands have something in common. They’re fresh, they’re flashy and they use the right tools to tell a story that’s empowered a downtrodden eastern audience to take its sport back. Summer is no longer a downtime for ski marketing. It’s become a time to fuel anticipation, innovation and progress the sport’s image through all forms of digital media.
Contributed by Andrew Fosbrook. Follow him @atfosbrook.