Steamboat Springs The retail division of American Skiing Co., parent of the Steamboat Ski Area, has linked itself to one of the best-known brands in the world.
American Skiing has opened a Nike ACG store at the base of The Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah.
Nike ACG is not a tenant at The Canyons American Skiing's retail division has become an official retail licensee and operator of Nike ACG-brand stores and concept shops. The store is the first of its kind in the United States.
American Skiing spokesman Skip King said the company plans to open additional Nike ACG shops at some of its other resorts but couldn't say if Steamboat is on the list or what the timetable might be. King said the next two resorts to open Nike ACG stores could be Heavenly, Calif., and Killington, Vt.
American Skiing retailing executive Brad Jones said the year-round activities at American Skiing resorts, including mountain biking and water sports, fit the demographic group Nike is trying to reach with its ACG clothing lines. From the resorts' standpoint, it's an opportunity to become aligned with a powerful name in sports marketing.
"We needed some very strong branding relationships to move the ball down the field," Jones said.
The acronym ACG stands for "all conditions gear," a line of performance-driven outdoor clothing. Nike ACG has just announced its sponsorship of the U.S. Snowboard Team. It will provide DRI-Fit base layers, gloves and headwear to the snowboard team for three years, including the 2002 Olympics in Utah.
The relationship with Nike ACG evolved over 18 months, King said, and the relationship strengthened because of ASC's hosting of ESPN's Winter X-Games at Mount Snow.
Jones, American Skiing's vice president of retail and rental operations, said Steamboat actually has a small Nike ACG presence in its RideSports snowboard shop. Called a "store-in-store," the Nike ACG merchandise here is displayed on similar fixtures to the store at The Canyons. Jones said Steamboat probably needs to build its summer traffic at the base of the ski area before it will be ready for a full-scale Nike ACG store.
Jones said American Skiing executives are sensitive to the need to blend local, regional and national retailers at its resorts.
"In the short term, this will be a great visibility piece for ACG and The Canyons," King said. "The store is hot as blazes. It's beautifully lit and a massive video screen is the first thing that catches your eye when you walk into the shop. There are smaller flat-screen TVs all around the shop."
In addition to opening the store at The Canyons, Jones said all nine American Skiing Co. ski resorts will use Nike ACG gear for employee uniforms. Those new uniforms will first become visible in the fall of 2001 in the lift and mountain operations departments. Other departments will switch to Nike ACG as their uniforms are due for replacement.
American Skiing has a number of vacant retail spaces on the street level of its new Steamboat Grand Hotel, but King said it is important to note the retail scene at The Canyons is very different from the existing situation in Steamboat.
"Steamboat has great retail all over the place," King said. In contrast, The Canyons is a brand-new resort. The "Forum" area of The Canyons, where Nike ACG is located, needs the kind of tenant that people will go out of their way to visit in order to attract more retail to the developing base area, King explained.
Jones said American Skiing has a number of corporate relationships outside of retail, including Kodak, Motorola, BMW and Budweiser.