Members of the UCSB Ski and Snowboard Club can now slide down the icy slopes with a Rockstar in hand, sporting a Dakine backpack and jacket, thanks to a host of new corporate sponsors.
Club President Tiffany Heavlin said several corporations are sponsoring the club this year, including Rockstar Inc., Copeland Sports, 686 Clothing, and Dakine — a sporting goods supplier. She said these companies sponsored the club last year, but decided to increase their support this season after the club submitted additional proposals in June.
Heavlin, a senior law & society major, said the Ski and Snowboard Club has been monetarily sponsored by local business, including Zodo’s Bowling and Beyond and Sam’s To Go in the past. However, an increase in the number of students paying the $25 membership fee, as well as the money raised by the club’s $5 party fee — required to gain entrance to the group’s social gatherings — have allowed the club to shift away from monetary sponsors in favor of merchandise and discount sponsorships, club Vice President Matt LaPointe said.
“This year we’re doing well financially, so we just want companies that can hook us up with products for skiing and snowboarding,” LaPointe said.
Of all the sponsorships it received this year, Heavlin said Rockstar Inc. was especially receptive to the club’s proposal. She said the company sent a recreational vehicle carrying over $8,000 worth of energy drinks to the club’s headquarters. LaPointe, a second-year mechanical engineering major, said free Rockstars were distributed to club members and passers-by at the group’s kick-off gathering Sept. 29 at the “Snow House,” located at 6527 Sabado Tarde Rd.
“People were just driving up and taking them,” LaPointe said. “They were calling their friends and telling them that we were giving away free Rockstars.”
Heavlin said Copeland Sports provides club members with discounts year-round. Other companies such as Dakine and 686 Clothing distributed free products at the group’s kick-off rally, which was held the same day as the first social gathering. If any of the products remain, they are distributed at other club events.
In exchange for the free or discounted merchandise, Heavlin said the club promotes its sponsors at its functions, or wherever the companies’ logos will be visible.
“We post their logo link on our website and on our T-shirts,” Heavlin said. “Sponsors like it because it gets their name out.” Heavlin said the Ski and Snowboard Club sent proposals to potential sponsors during the previous June and July, when winter sports-related companies are usually in their offseason. Interested companies usually contact her by the end of August to negotiate the terms of their sponsorships. She said the club began its practice of courting larger companies in the summer of 2004, and modeled its proposals of other UC campus’s ski and snowboard clubs, which meet annually at the All Cal Ski and Snowboard Competition.
Tommy Eakin, a promotions representative from Rockstar Inc., said the company sponsors groups like the Ski and Snowboard Club because they provide a good atmosphere for product promotion.
“Colleges are a really good market to be in and they help us get our name out there,” he said. “It’s a little more of the age group that we try and go for.” Eakin said Rockstar, Inc. will continue to distribute the drinks at the club’s future social gatherings.
“Basically, if they have events we’ll come out there to promote and just have some fun with them,” Eakin said. “That’s all this is for, just to have a little bit of fun.”
Heavlin said the Ski and Snowboard Club organizes weekend ski trips for members during Winter Quarter and said all students are welcome to attend any of the club’s social gatherings for a $5 at-the-door fee. Each social gathering draws between 100 and 200 people.
Party Liaison Dylan Cummings, a third-year chemical engineering major, said the club is open to people from all levels of skiing or snowboarding ability and the social gatherings are usually what draw people in.
“Probably one-third of people who sign up [for the club] don’t even know how to snowboard,” Cummings said. “They sign up for the social gatherings.”