Built in 1998 and perched at an elevation of 7,100’, Hideout Lodge in northern California’s Sierra Nevada brings exquisite accommodation and amenities to a remote, awe-inspiring wilderness setting. It is truly a spectacular property, particularly given the limited amount of private land in the Sierra high country, and has been a summer luxury destination for weddings and explorers since it opened in 2008. But, when Hideout Lodge came to 970 Design in 2017, they were looking to make huge changes: The Lodge had just been bought out, and the new owners wanted to completely rebrand the lodge as a luxury backcountry ski destination–the first of its kind in the region.
Hideout Lodge’s needs were all-encompassing. The lodge needed 970 to handle every aspect of creating their branding, top-to-bottom, from the most granular details like color palette selection to large-scale needs like website creation and creative direction. And they needed it all to ring true to an audience that values authenticity more than anything else–winter action sports enthusiasts–in a geographic market where nothing else like it exists.
To start, we identified color palette and design schematic we knew would appeal to backcountry skiers drawing from our experience as, well, backcountry skiers. We paired on a minimalist logo design along with a collection of Earth tones that suggested the honey sheen of the hand-peeled logs that the lodge is constructed out of and the unrivaled alpenglow of the Sierra Nevada at sunset. We created a brand image that evoked both immense luxury warmth while simultaneously being strongly connected to nature, touchstones that we knew the backcountry community cared deeply about.
We took that final sentiment–secluding yourself in a wild, remote landscape while still having access to world-class amenities–and applied it to every aspect of branding from brand statements to photography to web and mobile layout.
John Muir’s letters and essays from the Sierra Nevada continue to inspire generations to head West to this day. Some of his most famous musings were first jotted down in moleskin notebooks, so what better way to embolden that naturalist spirit than by creating brand collateral that channels it?
There are few sights as awe-inspiring as the sweet buttermilk sparkle of fresh morning snow of the majestic magenta glow of the midnight stars deep in the mountains. We created Hideout’s website to elicit those sensations, its design provoking the same welcoming feeling as an untouched field of morning snow; its layout the same unbusy serenity of a cloud-free starry vista.
Tracing your fingers along the lines and contours of a paper map is one of life’s simple pleasures, so we created a map for site users that not only aroused that same emotion but worked to illustrate just how withdrawn our property is. Because what’s the point of having a 40-acre winter oasis that’s only accessible via helicopter, snowcat, or multi-mile ski touring if you can’t brag about it?
A Luxury Vacation Experience, Created From Scratch
When starting a brand from the ground floor, you have seldom little room for errors. Each social media post you author, each photo you publish, and every word you write has to feel authentic to your identity and to your audience.
970’s team put painstaking effort into creating the visual and editorial storytelling that would be the foundation of the brand’s marketing. We made an intuitive website design that allowed prospective customers to quickly distill the essence of an entirely new business and created an online portal to help eliminate the legwork of clients having to play phone tag to book the backcountry vacation of their dreams.
“970 isn’t just a web and branding company. They are so much more. When preparing to launch HideOut Lodge, I was seeking a team of creatives to help me hone the vision and tailor the messages being marketed. I also wanted a team of folks that live, breath, and sleep the winter sports industry. I wasn’t sure if that team existed until I came across 970. They designed a sleek, concise, and modern website and brand for me in no time. And, I was surprised to see that I ranked number 1 on Google within just a few months of launch. But most of all, I’ve enjoyed the fact that they stay in touch and help when I need something fast. Their communication and quick turnaround with support items is their greatest strength and something I value a lot. And, I have a handful of new friends now too.”
-Bobby Lauterjung, CEO, Hideout Lodge
What started as a pipedream has turned into a resounding success. With a majority of its bookings coming through the online 970 Design created, Hideout Lodge managed to not only overcome poor snowfall in its opening season of 2017-2018, but it has also flourished–the lodge is already fully booked out for next year’s snow season (2019-2020).
In addition to the overwhelming interest from clients, 970’s marketing work has also helped catch the eye of a multitude of local and national media outlets, both within and outside of the outdoor sporting space, with press outlets like the San Francisco Chronicle, SNews, and the Tahoe Daily Tribune.