A video about a skier just trying to make it down a flight of snowy stairs went viral this week — but there’s more to this funny clip than meets the eye.
In the video, shared on Twitter by the Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Champion, Pennsylvania, on Jan. 20, resort spokesperson Abbey Way gives an update about the current conditions on the slopes.
But most eyes were on the woman behind her, who appears to be clinging onto the railing for dear life as she makes her way down a set of icy stairs.
Way continues her cheerful commentary about the “fantastic” conditions and “cool temps” and seems completely oblivious to the epic struggles of the woman in the background.
Near the end of the video, the woman eventually makes it to the base of the stairs and shuffles across the frame in her ski boots and poles, clearly trying not to fall again.
Many people initially took to Twitter to express their concern for the struggling skier.
“The person on the stairs would like to have a word Abbey,” one person wrote.
“Can someone please check on her?” another person wrote.
“Don’t let that poor person on the slopes,” another viewer tweeted.
But others suspected that the video had been staged for laughs — and publicity.
“This is how you advertise. Hilarious,” one person commented on Twitter.
“If this was intentional it is the most successful viral marketing of a small company that I’ve ever seen,” someone else wrote.
It turns out they were right: The resort’s director of marketing and communications, Alex Moser, later confirmed that the whole thing was a PR stunt.
Moser told the local Pennsylvania newspaper the Daily American that the struggling skier was, in fact, the resort’s e-commerce marketing manager, Candace Weaver.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Moser said about the overwhelming response to the video, which has been shared by news stations and viewed eight million times, and counting, on Twitter.
He also clarified for anyone who might be concerned that the staircase in the video is not normally that slippery.
“Safety is paramount here, so we always keep those steps clean,” he said. “They just added the snow for the clip to make it look like it was icy.”