Chris Rudolph

Director of Marketing
Stevens Pass, Wash.

Six-word bio: "Wandering amongst mountains, stumbled upon purpose.”

A seasoned backcountry skier and pro-wrangler for high-profile video shoots, Rudolph’s reputation for excellence expands beyond the slopes and into Seattle’s vibrant urban culture.

At just 30 years old, Chris Rudolph’s work has already been recognized by the NSAA —twice—and featured in photographer Chase Jarvis’s book and multimedia project, “The Seattle 100,” a compilation of people who “drive and define” Seattle’s culture.

Rudolph is the director of marketing at Stevens Pass, Washington, an 1,800-vertical-foot day-use ski area 78 miles from Seattle. He’s been with the resort since September 2006, following an internship with the resort as he finished up his degree from the University of Puget Sound (a school he chose, he admits, so he could “be academically inclined and close to the mountains at the same time”).

He made an impression during his internship, it seems, because when the marketing job came up at Stevens Pass, the resort called him up and offered him the gig. He accepted, and in the seven years since, has made quite a mark for himself.

With a smaller budget than most resorts (less than three percent of the resort’s overall budget) Rudolph has managed to get Stevens Pass regularly featured in ski videos by the likes of Teton Gravity Research (TGR) and Rage Films. In fact, Rudolph experienced what he calls one of his proudest moments on the job last fall when he attended the premiere of TGR’s “Light the Wick,” which featured a 3D segment filmed entirely at Stevens Pass.

“When it all came together and we were sitting there at the premiere, and there it was, 70 feet wide and in Real 3D—that was one of the proudest moments I’ve ever had,” he says.

Chris’s ability to bring high-profile projects to Stevens Pass has earned him the respect not only of Stevens Pass management, but also of the creative companies and pros that help bring those movies to life.

“In an industry where the marketing departments are often completely out-of-touch about our sport’s culture, this guy is so far ahead of the curve he puts them all to shame,” creative professional and writer Dan Kostrzewski said of Chris in his nomination to SAM.

“He’s brought TGR, Poor Boyz, [skiing legend] Tanner Hall and several major film companies to his Pacific Northwest ski area…he always has a sled, a highway shuttle and a logistical hand ready for the film crews, while also still representing [Stevens Pass] from a sales standpoint at the ski shows. I’ve worked with many PR and marketing guys and he simply rocks.”
Add to that the NSAA Marketing award Stevens Pass received in 2007 for Best Overall Marketing Program (250,000 to 500,000 visit category) and the 2005 NSAA Marketing award for Best New Program to Increase Trial by New Participants, and Rudolph has had more than a few reasons to celebrate in the past six years.

One of his greatest marketing achievements was bringing Stevens Pass into a new era of marketing, which included a new, data-focused effort.

Using Stevens Pass’s guest information database, he selected Greater Seattle Area zip codes to target the resort’s marketing efforts, based on reach, frequency and average spend by those citizens at the resort. In combination with his referral based seasons pass program, the resort set a record for seasons pass sales last season, hitting the 17,000 mark for the first time, says John Gifford, general manager, Stevens Pass.

What impresses Gifford the most about Rudolph, he says, is not just his marketing acumen, but also his approach to learning.

“He is very interested in learning and, and not just about marketing, but about diverse learning. Things like the world around him and how current events affect us as an operation, and our business. He’s a very passionate energetic individual, and it’s amazing how much he comprehends, and how much he works at learning different things about the world.”

—Katie Bailey