Bonus Week!

Bonus Week!

With the idea of increasing interaction with our Facebook following, I decided to pose the question.  “Do you find our weekly updates useful?”  Questions, as most Facebook posters have found are a great way of encouraging feedback.

It was hard not to be encouraged by the response.


Video contest wrap up.

Video contest wrap up.

The  video contest is over! I thought It might be a good idea to do a wrap up and compare how effectively the contest achieved it’s goals.


  • We had 20 entries in total
  • 3 entries disqualified for excessive length and for not being filmed at Lake Louise.
  • 3 entries to the Junior category
  • A good mix of amateur film makers and those owning their own production companies.


A big yes on this one.  All four finalists were quality productions.  Even those who didn’t make the finals showed effort had gone into production.

Growth of Interaction & following.

There is no doubt that the competition resulted in increased interaction with our Facebook page.  Page insights spiked when finalists were announced.  The voting period resulted in over 1,000 votes being cast, which is impressive when you consider that a person can only vote once a day for one movie.  The contest voting period was promoted via Tourism Calgary & the Calgary Tourism Commission increasing the viewership of these promotional films.  While there was an increase in views and votes this did not translate into page growth.

Final thoughts?

The biggest downside to the competition was running through the “Wildfire” third party app.  To vote, or even to view a movie Facebook users had to authorise the”Competitions app” which undoubtedly put people off.  While we received a large number of entries from gopro using amateurs only four finalists were chosen disappointing many entrants.  It may be hard to get the same number of entries if we hold this competition again.  Competitors waited until the last possible moment to enter as there was no real advantage to letting competitors see your entry while having time to change theirs.

Unintended Benefits

Now that the comp is over, instead of having a couple of people go home with some free lift tickets, the resort is left with a collection of quality videos that we have the rights to use!  The competition also opens up the opportunity of partnerships to grow and reduce the cost of the competition.  Viewing nights in local pubs or nightclubs, camera stores.  Businesses are now much more receptive to the idea of being part of such competitions.

Video Contest…

Video Contest…

Just about every person on the hill has a camera,  headcam, point and shoot, DSLR with HD film capacity down to camera phones.

So how hard can it be to crowdsourced these amateur cinematographers.  Provide them with a prize and watch them create content for us.  Guests are creating videos already, so how much more incentive do they need to enter our competition?

Here is what we were trying to do.

  • Competition participation

  • Quality content production

  • Social Media interaction & following growth

  • Experimentation

With this in mind we set the following guidelines:

Two minute limit: While we wanted plenty of entrants we did NOT want everyone posting their unedited gopro footage.  More to the point, we didn’t want to be watching them all. This forced entrants to concentrate on putting their best “footage” forward.

Address the question: how do you enjoy the Lake?  The idea was to challenge people to share their story, offer them some guidance without restricting creativity.  This leaves people able to create films about the terrain park, back bowls or even powder.

Use public voting to determine winners: The competition was set up to allow the ski resort to select the finalists giving us some control.  Lets face it we didn’t want a video winning that showed a rider shotgunning a beer, pulling an inverted air and flipping off ski patrol.  But to have two weeks where the best videos were up for public voting while the entrants were also pushing their entries in their circles.  That was just the sort of interaction we were looking for.

Offer a prize that videographers want: Next year seasons pass? Night at our backcountry hut?  Prizing is key and offering a unique prize will have people falling over themselves.  My idea of a VIP all expenses paid weekend at our end of season party was refused.  In the end we employed the help of a local Photography retailer Banff Photography and split a $500 certificate for first.

We will see how it goes.


Expectation managment…

Expectation managment…

IMG_0895No one is ever going to be happy with good conditions when they were prom ised GREAT conditions.

As I climbed on the staff buss this morning I was surprised to see a couple of retweets from our powder alert claiming 26Cm overnight…  Climbing off the bus I could clearly see there was not even 2Cm on the ground.  For me this meant a day of me diffusing angry Facebook and Twitter comments ahead of me.  Ski Patrol were quickly able to take a manual reading of a still respectable 14Cm but by then a lot of skiers and riders were already on their way. Heading out as soon as the lifts opened I went to Ptarmigan chair and snapped some pictures of riders enjoying themselves in respectable powder.  I sent these out via the usual means to backup the message that we did get a good amount of snow, not as much as initially promised but it was there. Conditions in my opinion were great.  The snow was heavy but it blended with the base superbly.  With accurate reporting people would have been more than content with the day.  But our mistake meant we lost the praise and cred. If anyone thinks that over-reporting snowfall is a marketing strategy widely adopted by resorts I’ll tell them, resorts just cant get away with it in the age of social media.  People just call you on your BS.

Clear the Desk

Clear the Desk

A ski break was most certainly not on my schedule.  I had plenty of desk work that was past due.  But when the head of snow safety wants to show you something, it’s hard to say no.   Last time I went with Rocket I was able to film Ski Patrol start an avalanche on Eagle Ridge 5 (ER5).  One of the most memorable events that I have filmed.  This time he wanted to take me to Purple Bowl, preferred venue for the Canadian Powder 8’s.  The Powder 8’s are an annual event at Louise, and one that struggles with entries every year.  Mainly as we do not have the requisite powder to run a powder competition. This year we had snow but no one believed it.

I looked out the window, it was a clear sunny day.  Fantastic skiing and filming conditions.  So I cleared my desk and went skiing…  It was worth it.

As well as great photos, I put together a 30 second clip with rocket calling the conditions at the bowl a “shaken Etchy Sketch.”  But the image of Rocket sliding down a pristine powder bowl told the story better than words.  I have no doubt that the video helped us sign more competitors to the event.

Identifying and taking advantages of conditions when they occur is an important part of content marketing.  I almost missed this opportunity just because it felt like I was blowing off work.