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TA partners with Blister Gear Review to the tune of $600,000

Two-year deal for marketing towards gear-loving adventurers

By Cayla Vidmar

Earlier this fall, Blister Gear Review (Blister) announced they would be making the Gunnison Valley home for three of their primary staff, with the Blister HQ located in the Elevation Hotel. During a Gunnison Board of County Commissioners work session with the Gunnison-Crested Butte Tourism Association (TA), executive director John Norton explained that the TA will be paying Blister $600,000 over two years for marketing.

Blister claims to have “The most honest and in-depth reviews of outdoor sports equipment,” and according to Norton, “tens of thousands of subscribers.” The Blister website is ad-free and does not take money from gear companies, which they attribute to their in-depth and honest reviews, according to the website manifesto. Blister instead offers memberships to its gear-obsessed readers, ranging from $59 per year to a $9 print edition of their winter guide.

Norton believes the value of the location-based media the company will be creating is a fair deal for the price. He initially thought half of the value in the investment was simply in getting them to relocate to the valley.

“They have podcasts, they have videos, they have reviews, they have tens of thousands of subscribers very active in the outdoor arena,” says Norton. “It’s all content coming out on a weekly basis, from trail running to Nordic skiing, to alpine skiing and riding, they do everything that we do,” Norton concludes.

“While we have a number of pretty big ideas and initiatives in the works,” writes Jonathan Ellsworth, founder and editor in chief of Blister, “for now, I’ll just say that the most direct and immediate way in which we will be promoting the valley on Blister is by baking the valley organically into our long-form product reviews.”

Ellsworth explained that no  matter what product they’re testing, Blister talks a lot about the trails the equipment is being tested on, and the conditions. “That is important information for any legitimate product review, and the Gunnison Valley truly is an ideal testing grounds to push equipment and come to understand the relative strengths and weaknesses of a product.”

Norton explained that much of the TA’s marketing is hinged on the valley’s trails in both summer and winter, and those trails are the reason people should visit. According to the Blister website, the company’s gear reviews are focused on skiing, biking, snowboarding, paddle sports and climbing. The $600k from the TA is being used over two years with Blister, according to Norton.

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