Red-and-White win

Rossland’s Red Mountain Resort and Nelson’s Whitewater Resort were the big winners at the Kootenay Rockies Tourism awards.

It was a movement by the people and for the people.

When West Kootenay downhill ski aficionados put their hearts on their sleeves last fall it turned red and white as the combined appeal of Rossland’s Red Mountain Resort and Nelson’s Whitewater Ski Resort won the 2012 Powder magazine Ski Town Throwdown.

Spurred on by the online efforts of such organizations as Tourism Rossland and Kootenay Lake Tourism (Nelson), the campaign contest conducted through Facebook garnered enough votes to win out over the top 32 ski destinations in North America.

Last week the effort of the two tourism offices was recognized with the award for the best marketing campaign of the year by the Kootenay Rockies Tourism industry awards in Rossland at the Prestige Mountain Resort.

There were a lot of people working “behind the scenes” on a strategy to keep the campaign in the public’s eye, said Tourism Rossland executive director Deanne Steven.

“We had volunteers within our own organization as well as within our community that worked on this,” she said. “Everyone pulled together.”

People are in Rossland because they love the skiing and want to live in a town like this, she said, and that came through in the voting.

The messages during the campaign were funny and creative, and did not rely on any corporate sponsorship at all, said Steven.

“We really tried to keep it funky and it represented our communities well,” she said.

The award comes while the two tourism areas are again locked into the same online competition, albeit separated to compete in this year’s Throwdown.

However, Whitewater has been knocked out of the first round by Revelstoke, while Rossland beat out Kimberley to advance to face Fernie. That one day of voting was to have taken place on Tuesday, Nov. 5 but results were unavailable as of press time.

Only 20 votes separated Nelson and Revelstoke when voting closed at 11 p.m. on Thursday night. The final tally was 1,527 to 1,507.

Last year the Red-and-White duo shredded the competition from Bozeman, Mont. with 11,426 votes to 10,572 to win Powder magazine’s Ski Town Throwdown in 2012.

The Rossland-Nelson entry beat out Sugarloaf, Maine, Whitefish, Mont. and Creste Butte, Mont to reach the final against a trio of hills in Bozeman, Mont.

Anyone can vote for their favourite ski town during allotted periods at facebook.com/powdermagazine.

Photo: The two ski hills—represented by Fran Richards, (left) and Eric Kalacis (second from left)—Tourism Rossland’s Deanne Steven, and Kootenay Lake Tourism’s Dianna Ducs (right) helped spear head an online campaign to win best ski town in North America last year in Powder magazine’s Ski Town Throwdown.