By Joseph T. O’Connor Big Sky Weekly Editor

BIG SKY – Big Apple subway passengers may feel a blast of winter air this fall, just by staring at an advertising panel.

On Monday Oct. 8, Biggest Skiing In America, together with other local entities, launched a major marketing campaign that included advertising panels in New York City subway cars. That same evening, BSIA launched its new website, its homepage depicting the same epic ski photo that graces the subway panel ads.

BSIA joined forces with Big Sky’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Big Sky Resort, Moonlight Basin, Yellowstone Country and Yellowstone West, to market the area in New York, according to Catherine Gilb, chair of the BSIA Committee.

A $15,000 investment in the campaign landed BSIA half of the ad panels; the other half are split between Yellowstone Country and West Yellowstone.

Of the ad panels, totaling 2,650, BSIA is represented on 1,325.

“Our goal is to romance families and baby boomers,” Gilb said. “We want to show them that there’s a new spot they need to explore.”

The broad marketing strategy also utilized outlets such as The New York Times, Ski Magazine, Skiing Magazine, TripAdvisor, weather.com and OnTheSnow.

BSIA launched this latest marketing strategy this fall, after United Airlines announced it would extend a successful summer of direct flights from Newark, N.J. to Bozeman. United Airlines first introduced the direct flight last summer, from New York/Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN).

BZN reported record-breaking passenger numbers in 2011, prompting the extension.

BSIA began as an economic development group in 2009, following the economic downturn, to increase the number of Big Sky skier visits, said Gilb, who took the position as chair of the group in July.

“The goal was to reach 500,000 skier days by 2013,” Gilb said. “We called it the BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal).”

While BSIA is shy of its objective, Gilb reports that there has been a notable increase in skier visits since BHAG was set in motion.