Business Spotlight: White Pass Mountain

Colyn Montgomery


We interview Kathleen Goyette of White Pass Ski Resort to find out how they stay ahead of other mountains with Animoto videos.

Kathleen Goyette is the Director of Marketing and Public Relations at White Pass Ski Resort in Washington State. In her capacity as Director of Marketing Kathleen oversees the resort’s entire online presence, including its website.

We had a chance to catch up with Kathleen as she prepares for another busy ski season at White Pass!

You were an early adopter of Animoto for Business. How did you discover Animoto?

I discovered Animoto while researching the work of some graphic designers. One designer shared his portfolio through Animoto and I was really impressed. I had to check it out so I followed the Animoto link and discovered the service!

With regards to communication strategy, what are the challenges a smaller mountain like White Pass faces?

White Pass isn’t just a smaller mountain; we’re 3 hours from major markets like Portland and Seattle and tucked right behind Mt. Rainier.

White Pass Mountain

While that makes us a fantastic mountain getaway, it makes it difficult for us to get the attention of media outlets covering closer, larger resorts. We also don’t have the big resort media budget to buy significant advertising. Our strategy for overcoming this has remained unchanged for 20 years, and that’s building better relationships with our skiers and snowboarders.

Do you approach your client relationships differently than a large resort?

Our relationship with clients is at the center of our marketing. Word of mouth is our most important marketing asset. Social media and new technologies like Animoto have actually made it easier to cultivate these relationships. For example, the ability to harness the lenses of our skiers and snowboarders is fantastic. You can’t sell a mountain in words – you have to see it, feel it, touch it. We sell the sensation of sliding and fun, so we encourage our users to take and share photos of White Pass with all their friends. And with Animoto’s new video feature, they’re bringing the slopes home to everyone.

Skiing is obviously a seasonal sector. How do you use Animoto to communicate with clients in the off-season? How do you use Animoto during the ski season?

White Pass is actually in the middle of an expansion which will double the area’s size. What better way to show off this infrastructure project than with short Animoto videos of the ski lifts coming together? It’s a fantastic tool to tell a story and we definitely get a better bang for our buck with the new video clip feature. I believe that when

White Pass Mountain Chairlift

customers see the project come to life through Animoto, it creates much more excitement than viewing a single image on a web page.

During the ski season we actually encourage our users to post and share Animoto videos of their visit to White Pass. This is the second year we’re doing this and the feedback has been excellent.

What has the response been to Animoto? Do clients appreciate seeing their favorite mountain in a new medium?

The response has been fantastic, and surprising. I expected Animoto to be very well received by the youth market and moms. What surprised me most was how well the business-side guys who have been doing their thing in the ski industry for 30 years or more received it. Animoto has really captured a wide range of interests.

You have been ahead of the curve in using social media. Tell us about how you use Facebook and Twitter.

White Pass has been around since 1952 so there are generations of skiers loyal to this business, and when they started moving to social media we had to be there too. We share Animoto videos of the mountain on Facebook and Twitter. It’s amazing how many comments we get from fans and past employees who see these videos.I can give you a perfect example of social media helping our clients and our business. We host a film festival every spring and this year we included Animoto videos in the promotion of the event that were shared online. The comments and responses to these turned into a conversation between old employees. These various threads came together on social media and snowballed into demand for a reunion! We’re thrilled, of course, because the spring can be slow and now we’re going to be packed between the festival and the reunion.

Animoto is launching video greeting cards for the holidays. Do you see yourself using digital greeting cards in the future?

Well nothing says winter holidays like the snow. We’re hoping all our clients go for the Animoto greetings so they can spend less time developing writer’s cramp and more time in search of the perfect carve! The great thing about these is that you can share more than one picture too.

What other uses have you found for Animoto over the past 16 months?

Animoto’s real strength is storytelling, and that’s often important in communication. Let me give you an example. My daughter is a member of the USA Luge Junior Development Team and is often fundraising to help finance her Olympic dream. Since most people have questions about luge, she put together an Animoto video covering her experiences at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid. She’s found it helps donors understand what they are supporting.