Originally Published: April 28, 2011

Royal couple mania reaches ski industry

By Megan Michelson
ESPN Action Sports
Archive

AP ImagesKate and Will have been known to ride a T-bar together in the Alps.

It seems even the ski industry can't be spared from royal wedding fever. To celebrate Friday's wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey, a ski area in England, the Snow Centre at Hemel Hempstead, will be offering couples named William and Kate free skiing from Friday through May 2. Not the actual William and Kate, mind you, just couples who happen to go by the same names.

"The Royal couple is passionate about snowsports, in particular skiing, so what better way to mark the event than by throwing open our doors to couples named William and Kate?" said Elise Hyslop of The Snow Centre.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., ski resorts are also clambering to get a piece of the Will and Kate show. Ski Vermont extended an invitation to Will and Kate to enjoy a honeymoon ("be it a winter ski and spa trip or summer mountain trek and golf getaway," says the invitation). The invite was sent Thursday to the Clarence House, Prince William's official residence. "We would be ecstatic to host them, and really wanted to have some fun and contribute to the positive energy this love story has brought about," says Ski Vermont's Jen Butson.

Middleton's father, Michael, recently commissioned a design for the Coat of Arms, which will appear on the back of the official Royal Wedding program, and which, according to some news reports, pays tribute to Middleton's love of skiing and the mountains. On the design, there are two white Vs that allegedly symbolize the mountains and their family's love of skiing.

The media attention to the royal wedding has been building to a frenzied, all-time high this week. According to a recent Nielsen study, U.S. media outlets (including, apparently, even ESPN Action Sports) are publishing twice the amount of coverage as the British media on the royal wedding, despite the fact that a study showed that only 6 percent of Americans admit to closely following the nuptials.

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