People who are obsessed with finding white powder and will pay top dollar to get their feet on it have long been popular targets for car companies.
It stands to reason that people who ski tend to need cars to get to the mountains, and that - if they can afford to indulge in snow sports in Australia - they can probably afford to buy quite nice vehicles.
As such, you’ll often find yourself riding high on a Mercedes-Benz-branded lift or soaring over a BMW parked on the snow, and we’ve even seen Audi in New Zealand bravely turn one of its vehicles into a rail-ride for snow boarders.
Mercedes has, however, taken the idea of snow-based “brand activations” to new heights with a clever, comfortable and cool new installation at Victoria’s Mt Buller ski fields.
Well, not so much cool as warm, because the Mercedes-Benz Star Lodge, which opens to the public this weekend (you don’t even have to show a Benz key fob to get in, everyone is welcome) is based on the European tradition of “warming huts”, which give skiers and boarders a chance to defrost their fingers in between runs.
In a particularly nifty touch, the Star Lodge, which feels like a cross between a Swedish health spa and a high-end airport lounge, has air vents just like the ones you’ll find in any Mercedes car built into its windows sills, which pump out welcome warm air.
Perched at 1700 metres above seal level, at the meeting point of several of Mt Buller’s glorious ski runs, the best thing the Lodge offers are its views (there’s even a telescope), but the phone-charging points, water, comfy chairs and warm blankets will also no doubt be popular.
There are some nice subtle touches, too, like ambient lighting that changes to suit the time of day, just as the Energising Comfort Control system does in a Benz S-Class.
The built-in brand ambience, and the overall positive feelings it will give the thousands of people who will stop in this season to this temporary structure are one thing, but the big TV on one wall playing very exciting ads for Benz product is perhaps the point of this truly high-end activation.
Mercedes-Benz Australia-Pacific CEO Horst von Sanden said skiing and snowboarding were favourite pastimes of not only Benz owners, but prospective customers.
“With the Star Lodge we give not just our customers, but every visitor a subtle taste of the Mercedes-Benz lifestyle with an invitation to enjoy our warm hospitality,” he said.