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Steamboat’s Olympic allure

Nike TV spot filmed on location to feature Picabo Street

— Swoosh.

While it might be the sound of Picabo Street as she barrels down Mount Werner’s See Me run, it is a different kind of swoosh that Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. is looking to build upon.

Today, Nike will be filming Street and snowboarder Barrett Christy at the Steamboat Ski Area as part of a 90-second TV commercial scheduled to air during the Olympics.



Although Nike will not feature Steamboat Springs by name or logo in the commercial, it is planning to have a shot of Steamboat in the background as Street flies through the air. The commercial is part of a brand reorganization campaign developed by Nike’s ad agency Wieden Kennedy.

“The ad agency is internationally renown. Wieden Kennedy has the best, most creative branding campaigns. They are largely credited for creating the most recognized brand in the world the swoosh,” Steamboat’s Vice President of Marketing Andy Wirth said.



And, it is a relationship between the swoosh and Ski Town U.S.A that Wirth sees as the commercial’s biggest selling point for the ski area.

“Steamboat very often (looks) for those kind of partners to partner with to market our brand with other great brands of the world. And none of those brands have more (selling power) than Nike,” Wirth said.

While Nike is paying Steamboat a site fee and the cost for the use of its snowmobiles and snow cats, an added profit from the ad is a PR story for Steamboat.

“We get a lot of national level attention,” Wirth said.

Not intended to market a specific Nike division or have an Olympic theme, the commercial is a branding advertisement that director Jake Scott called a “celebration of sports.” Barrett and Street will be among more than the half dozen professional athletes and 22 sports represented in the ad.

Using the latest technology in the postproduction process, the ad will morph one athlete into another. One part of the ad is a shot of tennis player Lindsay Davenport doing a backhanded swing that then morphs into someone else throwing a Frisbee.

“The main idea is about the aspect of movement and how each sport relates to one another in terms of motion,” Scott said.

As Nike’s storyboard reads now, the segment of the commercial that features Steamboat starts with a little boy jumping on his bed, who lands on his bottom. That image morphs into Christy, who is sitting at the top of Steamboat’s superpipe fixing her bindings and then drops into the superpipe. Riding the superpipe, Christy then morphs into a skateboarder riding on top of a roof. As the skateboarder jumps off the roof he is morphed into Street, who is catching some air with Steamboat in the background.

Both Street and Christy are flying in and out of Steamboat today. Wirth is hoping Street, a two-time Olympic medallist, will get a chance to talk to some of Steamboat’s young Olympic hopefuls, who will be training in the run beside See Me.

Because of filming, the See Me slalom run will be closed from 9 a.m. to noon and the Mavericks superpipe will be closed from noon until 4 p.m. The World Cup caliber See Me slalom run is in the lower mountain of the ski area and the superpipe is in Bashor Bowl.

The ski area found out last week that Steamboat was chosen for the shooting site. That meant the three months of prep time the ski area would normally take to get ready for the commercial had to be crammed into less than seven days, Wirth said.

The ski area also has to work around the holiday crowd, which is the busiest time of the year.

Yesterday, the film crew, which came from Los Angles and Denver, worked with local skier Chris Puckett and snowboarder Grant Glenn to mimic the runs Street and Christy are going to do today.

Nike had also considered shooting the commercial at Sun Valley, Idaho and Park City, Utah. Although the resorts were competing for the commercial for a few days, Wirth said Steamboat won out partly because of its newest attraction, Mavericks, the 600-feet long, 50-feet wide and15-feet high superpipe.

In the last few years, national brands like Warren Miller Commercial Productions and Sprint have also incorporated Steamboat into their advertising campaigns.

Nike is a corporate partner with Steamboat and has sponsored some of ski area’s apparel. Last year the retail division of America Skiing Company, the parent company of Steamboat, linked itself to Nike by opening a Nike ACG store at the base of The Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah.


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