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October 05, 2006

The Joke is on Me--Brokeback Mountain Ski Area

You ever take stuff too seriously? I had a fairly serious e-mail exchange with Beth Clark of Brokeback Mountain Ski Area in Wyoming. First, a couple of days ago, I got a contact e-mail:

Great blog. I thought you may be interested in checking out Brokeback Mt. Ski Area website. We were the best kept secret of the Rockies but now the secret is out of closet.

So I head over and start looking around at their site. Not a lot of content, but it appears to be exactly what it is--a small resort on part with some of the other small resorts around the country. Not a lot of web development, not a lot of info, but a trail map, some stats, etc. Then I start looking at the runs:

Here are the lifts:
  • Giddy Up
  • Ride'm
  • Uranus
  • Pony Up
  • Howdy Partner

Alright, let's check some of the trails:

  • Over the Rainbow
  • Glory Hole
  • Peter Pan
  • 8 Seconds
  • Ramrod

Alright, that is not crazy off the wall. I mean, it appears a little odd. So I check out their PR area and they have a couple of articles about the goals of the resort, etc. I send a note back to "Beth":

So what is up with this:

"The recent Hollywood film "Brokeback Mountain" has generated unwanted attention to Brokeback Mt. Ski Area. The management of the Ski Area would like to stress that the aforementioned movie is based on a literary source and is a work of fiction.

"Contrary to some media reports the Ski Area was never involved with the filmmakers nor does the ski area have any interest in utilizing the popularity of the film to further its marketing goals. While the story of the film contains positive messages, Brokeback Mountain Ski Area is a family oriented resort and as such shares little in common with the fictional characters and situations depicted within the film.

"It is our understanding that the filmmakers and the author of the original story were unaware of the fact that the Brokeback Mountain Ski Area in Wyoming has been in business since 1965, long before the story has been written."

And then the new logo? And the names of the lifts and runs? Did you guys change the names and the logo to embrace the references to Brokeback Mountain? Just curious, because it seems to contradict the previous strategy. I would love to write about it and talk to you.

I get a note back that has more details, and I got my chuckle at the names of the runs. I am trying to be all PC and wanted to send a note back, but decided to start googling the authors of the magazine articles that they have in the PR section. Then the magazines. Then the people listed like Beth Clark or Jack Dunn. All come up zero. As I am scanning the listings in Google for "", there is nothing except this single post on a bulletin board called Gay Outdoors:

Hello All,

I am sure a good number of you will laugh quite a bit on this one. I've just completed a virtual Ski Brokeback resort project ( The site has been built in tradition of the Molvania project and I am sure you'll have fun while visiting our virtual mountain.


Ski Brokeback

Alright, Molvania. What the heck is Molvania... Check the Wiki on Molvania:

Molvanîa ('A Land Untouched by Modern Dentistry') is a fictional country set in Eastern Europe for the mock travel guide Molvanîa: a Land Untouched by Modern Dentistry, described as "the birthplace of the whooping cough" and "owner of Europe's oldest nuclear reactor.". It was created by Australians Tom Gleisner, Santo Cilauro and Rob Sitch (of The D-Generation and The Panel fame) to parody travel guidebooks.

The book became a surprise success in Australia, sparking a bidding war for the international publication rights. However, the book became a centre of controversy when the UK's former Minister for Europe Keith Vaz accused it of exploiting prejudices about Eastern Europe.

There has also been some confusion about whether the country actually exists. This could be partly due to the fact that the name is close to the real eastern European country of the Moldova, the circumflexed letter "î" also being characteristic for Moldovan (Romanian), the language of that country. It has been claimed that some tourists who read the tour guide book believed that the country existed and made plans to go there, but this story is probably apocryphal.

Then I got it. I had been duped. But this is exactly the kind of thing that I find hysterically funny. Just real enough that I don't immediately pick it out as a hoax, but also off the wall enough that I am not sure. You don't want to make fun of it because it is so un-PC, but at the same time, you chuckle to yourself.

So go over and check the site out. Pay attention to the pictures. They seem strange, but not too strange. Everything is funny and off the wall, but not too funny and off the wall.

Well played, sir. Well played.

Posted by Justin at October 5, 2006 12:35 PM