Dash Longe at Red Mountain, BC. PHOTO: Mark Fisher
Dash Longe at Red Mountain, BC. PHOTO: Mark Fisher

Instagram For Skiers, 101

Class is now in session for this essential course in how to develop your personal brand

PHOTO: Mark Fisher

Gnarnia Community College
Professor Sierra Davis | Spring 2017

powder@powder.com • 404.531.5555 • Office hours: N/A

Course description
Skiers will learn how to expertly utilize Instagram to build superficial relationships, add perceived value to their lives, and convert what was once a fun activity shared intimately among friends into content for profit.

The purpose of this course is to prepare skiers to better market a specially curated and unrealistic version of themselves and their skiing ability to their peers, while growing their followers to boost self-confidence, and create an inflated sense of self worth.

Pre-Requirements
20,000+ followers, or don't bother

Materials Needed
iPhone7
MacBook Pro (the latest)
RED Epic camera package
Drone
Bonus: A cool van

Grading Scale (based on likes/semester)
94-100,000 likes A
90-93,000 A-
87-89,000 B+
84-86,000 B
80-83,000 B-
77-79,000 C+
74-76,000 C
70-73,000 C-
<70,000 Retake class

Week 1
An introduction to syllabus
Class materials review

Week 2
Topic: Filters
Class discussion will focus on selecting the correct filter to best manipulate the authenticity of your images as well as exaggerate snow depth, steepness, and stoke levels.

Notes: Never admit to using a filter. Always use #nofilter.

Week 3
Topic: Hashtags
Class discussion will focus on how to live your brand, grow your following to include spam accounts, people who don't ski, grandmothers, and Instagram fitness models. The more hashtags you can use, the better, regardless of relevancy.

Notes: Extra credit for use of #winteriscoming #liveauthentic #firstchairlastcall in this week's homework assignment.

Week 4
Topic: When It Doesn't Snow
Despite your massive ego, even you cannot control when and where it snows. This should not slow your feed to anything less than six posts per day. Class discussion will focus on how to use archive photos from four years ago to imply it is currently #AllTime out there; how to repost last week's photos with enough filters so it looks completely different; how to post another photographer's image without crediting them.

Week 5
Topic: Location Tagging
Providing the exact coordinates of your new stashes is key to showing your follows how in the know you are. Give as much information as possible to help your followers find and overcrowd your best zones where other skiers used to go to escape people on their phones.

Week 6
Topic: The Instagram Economy
By this point in the semester, your following should have grown enough that brands should be considering you a "social influencer." Class discussion will focus on how to monetize your lifestyle to score free lift tickets, goggles, and specialty energy bars.

Week 7
Topic: Lifestyle
Once your following reaches a robust figure, it is completely standard in the Instagram industry to include lifestyle images, though these should be treated carefully. Ideally they will be entirely contrived and include images of coffee, craft beer, Patagonia anything, flyfishing, a teepee, or your dog. Class discussion will include how to best utilizes sunsets, product placement, a John Muir quote, and write lengthy captions about how #blessed you are to be living this lifestyle.

Week 8
Topic: Going Dark
If your account has plateaued at 200K followers and you need a little something to propel your brand back into the spotlight, announce that you have decided to live a life free of distraction and kill your Instagram account altogether. Class discussion will include how to leverage this announcement as much as possible, with cross promotion on all other accounts. Then, to not disappoint your tens of thousands of core followers, start a new dark account. We will use what we’ve learned in weeks prior to start over with your new account, where you will grow a new, more elite following.

Notes: For advanced users only.

This story originally published in the December 2016 issue of POWDER (45.4). Subscribe to the magazine here.