Media FAM checklist
- 17 miles of ski touring and descending
- 8,000 feet of vertical gain
- Top elevation 12,392 feet
- 70+ mph wind gusts
- Zero visibility
- Waist deep powder
- 160 cm skis
- 2 buckle boots
- 6+ hours of racing
Press trips or media “FAMS” are a tried and true PR tactic. The concept is pretty simple: invite journalists to experience your hotel/restaurant/product first-hand so they can write about it. Generally speaking, journalists are pretty pampered on FAM trips, enjoying extravagant meals, five-star accommodations and more. At Backbone, we host well over a dozen FAM trips every year, often travelling to exotic locations to go skiing in Iceland, canyoneering in the Grand Canyon, kayaking in the San Juans, rafting the Middle Fork, or surfing in Costa Rica. In fact, right now, we’re hosting a trip in Patagonia with Eddie Bauer.
But this past weekend we tried a different FAM trip concept: make them suffer.
As you may have heard, ski mountaineering, or SkiMo is exploding in popularity. Our client La Sportiva is one of the brands helping to drive the sport, sponsoring some of the world’s top skimo racers and races. They make some of the lightest, most innovative skimo gear on the market, including the nearly $3,000 carbon fiber Stratos Cube boot.
To showcase La Sportiva’s skimo line, we decided to invite a small group of journalists to try the gear in the environment for which it’s intended—a race. It just so happens that we have one of the country’s biggest and best skimo races right here in our backyard, the Audi Power of Four.
We tricked coerced lied to persuaded journalists from Outside, Skiing, Gear Patrol and Gear Junkie to come up and stay at the new Wildwood Snowmass on Thursday, take a day to shake down their gear on Friday, and then enter the race on Saturday.
The conditions on race morning were epic. It had snowed most of the night, it continued to dump snow all day and the wind on top of Highlands Bowl was howling with gusts over 70 mph (or was it 90? The number gets bigger every time I hear another racer talk about the race).
Anyway, I’ll let the pro storytellers share their own race day tales, but I can tell you this was the most memorable FAM trip most of our group had ever experienced.
As for me, I was happy to run support for the race, grabbing videos of the media teams where I could and having my little 7-year-old friend Ella push whiskey on the unsuspecting racers.