SOUTH LAKE TAHOE - Lake Tahoe tourism boosters are hoping a Carson City teenager's turns on MTV next month will help raise its profile in a highly competitive market.
Amanda Barnes' appearance on "MTV Made" - where she learns to snowboard - will be one of three shows hitting the national airwaves this summer, along with commercials displaying the beauty and majesty of Lake Tahoe.
"Images of our town in people's faces is a positive thing," said Pat Ronan, a Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority board member. He liked the idea of publicity of the three shows reaching diverse markets - especially at a time when marketing dollars have been reduced.
The shows balance the LTVA's own Northern California advertising campaign, which started last weekend, that use print, radio, billboards and television to get Tahoe in the minds of travelers expected to hit the roads and airports in greater numbers this season. The Travel Industry Association of America predicts at least a 2 percent increase in travel in the United States this summer.
In the fall, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will bring Heavenly images to viewers in spots for the California Travel and Tourism Commission. The California governor skied the slopes of Heavenly Mountain Resort in early May. The spots are expected to air in October.
On July 13, "MTV Made" - a show that takes willing candidates on a mission to transform their lives - will feature Carson City high school student Barnes, who mastered snowboarding.
With hand-holding by the crew, she learned the sport in five weekends. She placed fourth in the Rail Jam at the South Shore resort.
"'Made' is a big part of MTV. It's a highly watched show. To have that at Tahoe is certainly prestigious," said John Wagnon, Heavenly's vice president of marketing. "It's a market we want to keep up. For our long-term growth, the younger audience - that's where the future is."
The Block, a Stateline motel with a penchant for attracting 18- to 26-year- olds, played host to the MTV crew - which followed Barnes around in a blow-by-blow view of the lifestyle. Owner Liko Smith told his staff of seven to "let it be what it is," allowing the stage crews to see the real world of Tahoe.
"This kind of thing is good for Tahoe," he said.
Even publicity agents like Beverly Hills-based Janie Hoffman - who did some entertainment-booking work for the Tahoe Douglas Visitors Authority - was impressed that MTV returned after its summer gig here last summer.
"Very rarely do they come to an area as remote as yours twice in the same year," she said.
As for the Food Network, chef extraordinaire Emeril Lagasse joined Cabo Wabo revelers in a simulcast setup in April to celebrate the Harveys eatery's ground-breaking one-year anniversary. That show will air Aug. 14.
"While You Were Out" remodeled a Chicago man's home as he frolicked on Heavenly's ski slopes. The Learning Channel program will air June 29.
Tahoe on TV
n MTV Made at Heavenly and The Block - July 13
n Emeril Live (Food Network) at Cabo Wabo - Aug. 14
n "While You Were Out" (Discovery's Learning Channel) at Heavenly and The Block - June 29