There was hardly a cloud in the perfect blue sky, and the sun shined bright over Killington Mountain Resort as if taunting the habitants who huddled in their parkas from the single-digit temperature. A crowd in the thousands gathered on the sunny, Bear Mountain side of the resort to admire some of the best winter sports athletes in the world. The Winter Dew Tour had arrived in Vermont for the weekend of Jan. 21 through 23.Peppering the crowd was a group of 20-somethings sporting the highest access credentials and toting writing utensils and surveys. The group was from a Sports Marketing class here at Castleton. They had been promoting the Dew Tour since the previous semester and their final grades wouldn’t be posted until they finished their promotions with working at the event.
“We started [promoting] it around last fall,” Sam Bailey, one of the students, said. “I’m actually going to check my grade now.”
Bailey grabbed his computer and started pitter pattering away at the keyboard momentarily.
“F**king A! It’s not up yet!” he exclaimed with a laugh.
Bailey said the class spent the previous semester scouring bars and local high schools chirping at the ears of anyone who would listen. They handed out fliers, they tossed around schwag, and they raffled off slightly more expensive items like hoodies and skis.
While on the mountain, the students didn’t have time to admire the athletes.
“We have to have 200 of these things done by the end of the weekend,” said Alex Williams, another student in the class referring to the surveys. “There’s 15 of us and we’ve been coming in shifts all week, not just the weekend.”
Sports Marketing programs from other Universities joined the Castleton staff, all working for the company that put on the event, Alli Sports. Alli is a massive sports promotion company with its roots in action sports, and branches growing all the way out to Mixed Martial Arts and the Ultimate Fighting Championship. With the surveys, the students had other tasks and responsibilities.
“I had to help one of [the Alli Sports] interns get the bibs signed for the sponsors,” Bailey said. “We would have to hunt them down and stuff, it was like 30 athletes. I also had to find the athletes who said they’d do meet and greets.”
The interactions with all the action sports fans and athletes led to the students meeting an abundance of characters roaming around Bear Mountain.
“I met this one dude who was a locksmith,” Jeremy Peyton said. “His daughter was supposed to be here competing but she tore her ACL or something. I don’t remember her name though.”
Did the experience lead to all the students, who had hoped to learn about Sports Marketing and perhaps get some feet through some doors, actually finding their calling?
“It worked out great for me,” Bailey said. “I was there all four days since Thursday. I worked hard and I could tell my superiors were noticing and giving me more responsibilities.”
Peyton also agreed that it was a good experience.
“I learned a lot of things in what it means. You’re trying to get people,” he said. “You really get out there and put yourself out there and put your image and put out who you’re working for. All for the people and fans.”
Students can gain valuable contacts from the Sports Marketing class as well. Daniel Luzzi, who graduated from Castleton in 2010 was a member of the same Sports Marketing class. Their duties of the previous year were to promote and work at the Spartan Race, an endurance competition reaching global popularity. Luzzi and a few other students were offered full-time marketing jobs upon graduation.
“It all started with the Sports Marketing class,” Luzzi said.
At The Dew Tour
Killington had embraced its nickname of “The Beast of the East” proudly as, coupled with the copious amounts of advertising and Mountain Dew flags, the nickname popped up in every direction. Kelly Clark had recently set the record with a 95.75 final-run score and taken the ladies’ SuperPipe Finals. Along the deck one could watch the high-flying action and when the likes of Louie Vito, J.J. Thomas, Spencer Shaw, and Mason Aguierre came flying into the 22-foot halfpipe for the men’s finals, it was awe-inspiring. The riders soared 10, 15, even close to 20 feet above the deck, propelling themselves three to four stories off the ground and performing ariel acrobatics that would impress even Cirque du Solei employees. Vito finished with the win (his second of the three-stop Dew Tour), scoring a 93.0, while Thomas came in second with 88.00, and Aguierre finished third with 86.50.
The Dew Tour didn’t host the enormous crowd it had expected, but fans saw it mostly as a success.
“It was a good draw for Killington. It really brought some traffic to the mountain,” skier Nick Porzuczek, 28, said. “It was well organized and fun to watch.”
Porzuczek said, along with others, he would definitely attend the Dew Tour if it were to return next year.