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Reno Tahoe Flash Mob at Alpine Meadows

In the midst of a blizzard that brought 54 inches of snow to Alpine Meadows, Microsoft Licensing, GP and Microsoft Student partnered with Alpine Meadows Ski Resort, the Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority, Moment Skis and Sentury Snowboards on Saturday, March 19, creating the biggest flash mob this area has ever seen in an effort to promote Reno Tahoe and the products of local companies.  

“It was touch and go that we’d even be able to pull this off, but with employees and videographers that flew in for the weekend, we forged onward,” said Amy Strande, director of Microsoft Student Outreach.

On Saturday, more than 125 people braved the blizzard conditions to gather at the Alpine Meadows Take the Lake Rail Jam Competition, kicking off the event with a surprise flash mob. 

“We went with an 80’s theme, because we were looking to go big and relate to everyone,” said Max Lanman, creative director of the flash mob. “We wanted it to be over the top and fun to watch.”

The goal of the flash mob was to create a viral video to showcase Reno Tahoe and Alpine Meadows, and to promote Microsoft products and locally produced Sentury Snowboards and Moment Skis. The event brought together a community of people; including, Microsoft employees, interns, vendors and family; UNR Dance Co-Op members; dance students from Reno to South Lake Tahoe; and Alpine Meadows’ ski team skiers, families and coaches.  The flash mob video can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/flashmob.

The idea stemmed from a challenge issued by Frank Holland, corporate vice president of Microsoft, when he visited the Reno office in 2010. Holland’s challenge was to think of creative ways to grow awareness and market share of Microsoft products in the community.

“I started thinking that we could partner with local tourism officials and our existing partners at Sentury Snowboards and Moment Skis to showcase the area and local products using each partners’ social networks,” said Lynnette Bellin, instigator of the flash mob. “The blizzard made this a herculean feat!”

 “The flash mob was a fun addition to the existing college spring break week at Alpine,” according to Deanna Gescheider, executive director of marketing for JMA Ventures, which manages Alpine Meadows and Homewood resorts. Unfortunately, the competition was cancelled due to weather conditions, but the rail jam proceeded as planned.  Take The Lake Jump Line Competition draws college students from the San Francisco Bay area during spring break.

Over the past year, Sentury Snowboards has created Bing and Windows Live branded snowboards for Microsoft.  Microsoft also partnered with Moment Skis to create a Windows-branded ski.  “The branded equipment  is mainly sold to Microsoft employees, serving as a conversation starter with people on the mountain, so that we can evangelize Microsoft products,” said Ken Skogerson, project manager of the MSLI Marketing and PR committee.

-Lynette Bellin