|Lots of snow at Lake Louise Ski Resort Nov 2 - should be a great Opening Day on Friday!|
|Lake Louise Ski Resort Nov 2, 2015|
I will be blogging approximately once a week throughout the ski season, relating my ski travel tales, snippets of ski news, links to my articles published in newspapers and magazines and excerpts from my new book, Winter Sport Tourism - a must-read for anyone who loves skiing or works in the ski industry.
To whet your appetite for Spectre which debuts in North America tomorrow, here's my article on '007 on Skis':
|Oetztaler Alps, Tyrol, Austria by Homberger - courtesy of Austrian Tourist Office|
Since 1962 James Bond movies have been introducing viewers to seductive locations all over the world, inspiring travel. The latest of these is Sölden, Austria, which was well placed to become the most famous ski resort in the world when the crew and cast from the 24th James Bond movie, Spectre, arrived during the 2014/15 ski season to shoot action scenes.
In a Pinewood Studios press conference in December 2014, the 007 director, Sam Mendes announced the filming locations which included London, Rome, Mexico City, Tangier and Sölden. “We are bringing Bond back to the Alps, back to the snow – to Sölden in Austria,” Mendes said. Since it was way back in 1977 that an Austrian ski chase was featured in the iconic Spy Who Loved Me movie, there was considerable media attention focused on Sölden.
|Sölden, Austria by Mallaun - courtesy of Austrian Tourist Office|
This is the largest film production ever to be made in the Tirol, bringing immediate economic gains, long-term media impacts and film-tourism opportunities. Hosting the film meant a production office had to be set up in the quaint town with a team of 500 people involved, including 150 local filmmakers in various capacities and 22 filming days. Scouts had pinpointed Sölden because of its dramatic scenery and also the deluxe restaurant ice Q. Filming was scheduled from December 2014 to February 2015.
In an article for Cine Tirol, it was estimated that the economic impact for the area would be huge: “Taking into account production costs, with accommodation and meals, as well as transportation, accommodation and salaries of the local Tirolean filmmakers it is estimated that 6 million euros will be spent in Tirol. The impact alone on tourism is incredible: about 26,000 overnight stays will be generated by the film crew in Tirol. Furthermore, the filming of this movie will generate major media attention at an international level and also create future film-tourism opportunities for the Ötztal and lesser-known East Tirol region.”
The Grünwald Resort in Sölden jumped on the Bond-wagon for promotional purposes, advertising holidays during the filming period with a strong emphasis on potential Daniel Craig sightings. The website spiel read: “book your ski holiday now and with any luck you might see the secret agent. The team at Grünwald Resort will be happy to send you a non-binding quote for your stay directly on the ski piste” with a link to the Bond press release and estimated filming times and locations.
|ice Q Restaurant, Gaislachkogl, Sölden - courtesy of www.skiresort.info|
One of the reasons Sölden was so perfect for the movie was ice Q restaurant, launched in December 2013 by the Bergbahnen Sölden Lift Company on the Gaislachkogl, the area’s premier ski mountain. Linked to the peak by a suspension bridge (ideal for death-defying drama), it features ultra modern glass architecture, constructed from local materials – and, of course, gourmet food. The Sölden website calls ice Q a culinary summit and “a multi-functional and absolute barrier-free gourmet temple at 3048 meters above sea level”. It has a panoramic rooftop terrace as well as glass facades. The website reads: “The entire building seems to be transparent and fits perfectly into its natural surroundings. Together with the top station of the 3-rope mountain gondola it ranks among Tirol's undisputed highlights when it comes to architectural masterpieces in ski areas.”
Other factors that made the Spectre scouts choose Sölden included its unique glacier location and accessibility. “The easy logistics - transport of the material - was crucial for the choice of the location,” says Christina Ruhfass, Tourism Marketing Executive for Tirol Werbung GmbH. “Direct access via the glacier road to the glacier ski resort, helicopter landing spot at the glacier ski resort, and big gondolas to the ice Q restaurant.”
|Gaislachkoglbahn - courtesy of www.skiresort.info|
The Sölden website included an announcement about the film, with an apology for any restricted usages during filming which might have disturbed typical skiing and snowboarding activities. They also posted behind-the-scenes footage of Spectre - showing Daniel Craig firing a shot and running towards a burning vehicle in the snow - with links to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This teaser – the very first footage released from filming - was also aired on the 007 website along with interviews with Sam Mendes, news about each filming location and a Spectre poster available for purchase.
When the ‘featurette’ was unveiled in February 2015, it sparked a media frenzy with newspapers such as the U.K.’s Telegraph raving about the “tantalizing glimpse” of a cable car sequence. The Telegraph quotes associate producer, Gregg Wilson as saying: "This is going to be one of the major action sequences of the movie, a jewel in the crown so to speak. It’s going to be spectacular and Austria seemed to offer everything that we needed to pull it off." The article also included photos of iconic ice Q restaurant and the cable car.
|Courtesy of Austrian Tourist Office|
While information was kept to a minimum during actual filming, the Oetztal Tourism Board planned to position itself as a “James Bond Location” from the following season onwards as well as before, during and after the release of the movie. “They would like to use it for marketing and press activities,” says Ruhfass. “It’s the aim of the Oetztal Tourism Board, besides an increase of overnights with added value, to use the reputation of the James Bond movie to gain more film projects to the Oetztal valleys in Tirol.” Cine Tirol offers free location services to filmmakers.
Spectre opens in North America on November 6, a great pre-season advertisement for Sölden with all the ongoing advantages of being featured so prominently in such a high profile film.