Subaru for nearly two decades has supported outdoor adventure culture, aligning itself with the winter sports category and meeting consumers on the mountain with hospitality-driven outreach. This year, Subaru is amplifying the experiential side, and giving this longstanding program a more cohesive look and feel. It even has a new name: Subaru WinterFest, a weekend-based lifestyle tour bringing activities, on-site perks for Subaru owners and a partner product expo to 12 mountain resorts across the country.
The event footprints include an oversized Subaru-branded igloo tent surrounded by similar, but smaller partner tents. Activities vary from resort to resort, but on the whole, the menu includes complimentary tune-ups and ski and ride clinics with an instructor, and a Freeride Experience Skills Course, where consumers are judged on control, line choice, fluidity, creativity and technique by a star athlete or judge (this outside of a four-stop Subaru Freeride Series competition features professional athletes). There are free, one-hour ski or snowboard demos from Nordica and LibTech brands, a Yakima-equipped accessories display, and a Professional Ski Instructors of America/American Association of Ski Instructors video tent, which offers pro tips. Also on-site are traveling trainers from Leave No Trace, an organization that promotes responsible behavior when enjoying the outdoors.
There’s a hot chocolate and coffee bar, too, as well as Subaru vehicles to check out, giveaways like t-shirts and sunglasses and exclusive local offers and discounts. At eight resort locations, professional photographers carrying tablets are on hand to take branded shots of consumers in their gear that they can instantly share across social networks (Tagkast, Chicago, handles). And Subaru owners—they’re alerted to Subaru’s presence at the mountain by email. Once on-site, they can redeem a Subaru Mountain Pass in exchange for taking a quick survey on vehicle preference, which offers the owner (and a guest) a free lift ticket on the activation day. Owners also get VIP parking at the lodge.
“We have so many partners in the winter sports culture that exist in our sponsorship portfolio, folks we’ve partnered with for five to 10 years and that we do various activations with, so we thought, wouldn’t it be cool if we got everybody in one room and said, ‘How do we really make something impactful happen here?’” says Tim Tagye, manager-promotions and sponsorship at Subaru of America. “We’ve incorporated or improved elements to make the experience more engaging, something that you’re going to remember and say, ‘I had a really great experience at Crested Butte today and Subaru was there and here’s everything they did for me.’”
Subaru WinterFest kicked off at Jack Frost Big Boulder (Blakeslee, PA) Jan. 8 and 9, and wraps April 5 and 6 at Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort (Bend, OR). Agency: Mountain Sports International, Salt Lake City.