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California Snow Product Highlighted in National Campaign

California Snow Product Highlighted in National Campaign (Forimmediaterelease.net) Improvements at California Ski Resorts Keep Visitors Returning for More

California might best be known for its beaches, but it’s the Golden State’s white stuff that is getting all the attention via a national campaign.

The California Travel and Tourism Commission (CTTC), in partnership with a handful of California ski resorts and visitors bureaus, is pumping close to $1 million this year (and $3.5 million the last two years) into promoting the state’s ski product via a high-energy 30-second commercial that features professional winter athletes. The spot, in its third year, is the cornerstone of the annual California Snow Campaign that aims to influence incremental travel from domestic and international snow enthusiasts.

“The California ski product isn’t just like any other,” said CTTC Executive Director Caroline Beteta. “With an average of 400 inches of snow annually, 43,000 acres of skiing available and more than 30 resorts to choose from, we roughly attract eight million skiers and snowboarders to the Golden State every year. The California Snow Campaign, along with the individual efforts of our partners and recent ski resort village upgrades and renovations, will only make that number go up.”

The snow spot started October 8 and runs through December. The rotation runs heavily in prime evenings and on weekends on cable networks Fuel, Comedy Central, Discovery Channel, TNT, Travel Channel and A&E, as well as SportsCenter and ESPN2 during college football and basketball games.
According to a study done by Strategic Marketing&Research, Inc. for the CTTC, the snow commercial earned the single highest recall rating (39 percent) last year in the four tested markets - over Colorado, Montana and Utah. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger continues to open the piece, exclaiming “This is winter in California,” a shot that boasts big snow and clear, blue skies – traditional trademarks of California skiing and snowboarding.

Also key to the California Snow Campaign is the California Snow Web site, www.visitcaliforniasnow.com, a redesigned informational clearinghouse for the many ski options available throughout the state. The Web site is linked to the official CTTC Web site, www.visitcalifornia.com that has generated more than 1 million page views and 150,000 unique visitors per month since January and promotes the California attitude and brand.

Visitors to the Snow Web site will find interactive maps, rider soundtracks, ski specials, featured resorts, deals, packages and new this year a photo contest with a California Gold Pass (worth 500 lift tickets). After the grand prize is awarded on December 14, lift tickets will be given away each week. Additional campaign marketing strategies include national media relations, Internet and e-mail programs and cross-marketing opportunities with Southwest Airlines.

Skiers and snowboarders enticed by the California Tourism’s efforts will find a ski product that delivers as many of the Golden State’s ski regions have stepped up and brushed off with multi-million-dollar improvements and upgrades. The following is a brief snapshot at what’s new for winter 2007-08 at resorts across the state.

In Lake Tahoe, Heavenly Mountain Resorts opens the exhilarating Heavenly Sky Flyer zip line and Olympic Express, a detachable-quad chairlift this December. The chairlift provides high-speed access to Olympic Downhill, three new trails and Nevada Woods, home to some of the country’s best tree skiing. This winter Heavenly will serve natural, hormone-free meats and poultry and organic dairy products in its seven on-mountain restaurants.

Squaw Valley USA’s Shirley Lake will be accessed with the Shirley Lift Express, an upgraded detachable six-person lift. The express accesses 375 acres of intermediate terrain. Squaw’s terrain parks will also see a number of improvements, including a new trenched superpipe in Central Park at Riviera. Equipped with lights, it will be the only night accessed superpipe in the region.

This year marks the 35th anniversary of Kirkwood Mountain Resort. New this season, the Mokelumne Trail is dedicated as a season-long skier/boarder X course. It will also be used for the Kirkwood Cup series and for team training in United States of America Snowboard Association and United States Ski and Snowboard Association events. A “kinder-gentler” Mokelumne course will be available to the public during non-race times, so riders can experience rollers, rhythm sections and undulating terrain.

Sugar Bowl offers the Core Program for the devoted loyalist who skis more than two days a season but fewer days than warrants a season pass. It’s only $19 to join and the holder gets $10 off every pass they buy, while earning rewards that can be redeemed for food, drinks and lessons. Core holders skip the ticket line and go straight to the lift. Construction on the Mt. Judah ski in/ski out condos is on schedule for phase one opening this December. Located adjacent to the high speed Mt. Judah lifts, a few of these exclusive units are still available and offer underground parking and spectacular views.

San Francisco-based JMA Ventures recently finalized its purchase of Alpine Meadows Ski Resort. JMA Ventures specializes in the development and refurbishment of historical landmark properties, concentrating on revitalizing an area while retaining its original and intended character. Also owned by JMA Ventures, Homewood Mountain Resort, which is slated for an extensive remodel with a pedestrian village and mid-mountain lodge, opens the 2007-08 season with a new high-speed, detachable quad (the Homewood Express now replacing the Quad, providing quick access to North Side runs).

Four new trails have been added to Northstar-at-Tahoe’s Northwest Territory, bringing the trail total to 83 and the resort’s skiable acreage to 2,490. Select trails off Mount Pluto have also been widened and an expanded snowmaking system will be generating more snow throughout the mountain, allowing for more accessible terrain earlier in the season. Plans to expand the slopes at Lookout Mountain are also in the works, with lift extension (detachable quad), additional trails and base facility scheduled.

Skiers and riders purchasing three lesson packages at Diamond Peak will receive three free lift tickets upon completion of lessons. Packages include group lesson, equipment rental and lift ticket. The new program is aimed at getting new skiers and riders on the slopes, though the program is applicable to all levels of lessons.

Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe opens the season with improvements to the Slide Bowl on the east side of the resort. Snowmaking and selective re-contouring will continue down Silver Dollar Trail with the primary goal of achieving early season access to Slide Lodge. Other “Slide” runs, the Wild Card Bowl and Log Flume (the renamed Zephyr Return Trail), also underwent overhauls with selective grading, resulting in substantial improvements and better early season access.
With its upgraded Web site and latest interactive technology, Sierra-at-Tahoe allows guest to plan their entire day on the mountain before they even head up to the resort. The interactive trail map designs a customized ski/ride plan for guests based upon a set of criteria, such as groomed or ungrommed trails and ability level.

In Mammoth Lakes, Mammoth Mountain has invested more than $11 million this year in upgrades, including a new high-speed six-pack chairlift (Cloud Nine Express which replaces Chair 9) and renovated terrain park now called Wonderland Park. Relocated to under Chair 7, the Wonderland Park, which replaces the Family Fun Terrain Park at Canyon Lodge, focuses on freestyle development. The new Westin Monache, a 230-unit condo-hotel built by Starwood Hotels and Resorts and Intrawest, opens ahead of the 2007-08 ski season. Located in the Village at Mammoth adjacent to the 15-passenger Village Gondola, the Monache will feature a full-service restaurant, 24-hour room service, ski valet, rental shop and more. The first four units with another private residence club, called Talus, sits on the 10th fairway of the Sierra Golf Course in Mammoth Lakes with views toward Lincoln Mountain. An additional 19 units are planned.

Located 20 miles north of Mammoth Lakes, June Mountain Ski Area offers the OH! Card this winter with the purchase of every lift ticket. The OH! Card is good for savings up to 30 percent off dining, lodging, gas, guided back country skiing, snowmobiling, shopping and spa services in the June Lakes area.
In Mt. Shasta, Mt. Shasta Ski Park introduces powder enthusiasts to four new ungroomed runs, which offers a cutback trail to the Douglas lift. There is also a new terrace deck at Black Diamond Grill overlooking the park’s bustling activity.

Big Bear Mountain Resorts (Snow Summit and Bear Mountain) in Southern California have made some considerable changes for the 2007-08 season, including additional snowmaking guns at both locations. The resorts already have 100 percent coverage from their $6 million revamp last season, but this year’s expansion gives that system an extra boost. Snow Summit has added six new points-of-sales ticket windows at its snowboard rental facility. The Summit Haus (Snow Summit’s mountain top snack bar) was also redesigned to make it more efficient and quicker service for guests.

The CTTC is a non-profit organization with a mission to develop and maintain marketing programs - in partnership with the state's travel industry - that keep California top-of-mind as a premier travel destination. According to the CTTC, travel and tourism expenditures total $93.8 billion annually in California, support jobs for 929,000 Californians and generate $5.6 billion in state and local tax revenues. For more information about the CTTC and for a free California vacation packet, go to www.visitcalifornia.com.

Contact: Jennifer Jasper, CTTC 916-319-5428 Sam Caygill, CTTC 916-319-5424 Christine Pierson, Edelman PR 916-442-2331

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