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Face it, Cherry Peak, Skiing is Simply Not Going to Be Enough to Succeed

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The first new resort in Utah in over 30 years is opening this Fall just a stone’s throw from my old stomping grounds. I haven’t heard back from their Marketing team to get their take, but with a million thoughts about what they should do, this week I’m temporarily going back to my daily-posting ways to share five quick things I’d do first and foremost if I were in their shoes.

In Colorado, upwards of 20% of people ski.

In Utah, that number is well below 5%. It’s been that way for years. Is it because people don’t want to go outside during winter? Maybe, but last year an Ice Castle in Midway, UT was turning away visitors because they lines were so long. And that was before local musicians had two covers go viral that were filmed at the castle (over 30 million combined views).

I read in an article that Cherry Peak is positioning itself as a “teaching mountain”. That’s great, but that’s not going to be enough.

But I also read that they will have a tubing hill. That, to me, will be the most important factor of this resorts success both as a business but also as a feeder. Over and over again I hear that tubing hills all over the country are the most effective way to get people hooked on sliding down snow. Once they catch the bug they want more.

They want skiing. Utahn’s don’t ski, you’ll need to start with tubing.

So, if I were you, I’d make tubing just as prominent in my marketing as skiing. All that stuff I said about youth groups and family nights? That should be tubing first, not skiing.

But I wouldn’t stop there. I’d try to make Cherry Creek as much of a winter hub for the valley as possible. I’d do lights displays, sleigh rides, heck, build an ice castle. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that being a ski hill first (with a few “other activities”) is going to be enough. It’s not.

But I wish you the best of luck. If you’re open during my next trip to Logan I’ll be sure and come up to make some turns.

  • Vincent Carriuolo

    I agree with tubing and ice castles. Where does it stop? Sunday River, ME
    hosted Red Bull 900HP truck racing. Aired on Superbowl Sunday. Quick hit
    for sure. Does it have legs? Is it sustaining for the long haul? Is it compatible with upscale skiers who are not college frat boys or dirt track oval fans?

    Jay Peak, VT, with Federal citizenship-for-investment money, is trying to become an all-season resort. I question whether or not folks want all season resorts. Quick hit and loads of press for sure. INDOOR WAVE PARK! Jobs for the locals!

    I want to see what happens when the Federal money goes away. Let’s look five to ten years out. I could see that Jay has salted the mines and offers
    investors nothing but fools gold. The bubble will burst.

    • Vincent, not sure how you got off on a tangent so quickly from such a short post.

      I do remember you recommending me books like “in Search of Powder” and tossing out the word “bubble” before, so I understand which camp you’re in, but a waterpark is not a winter activity and Frozen Rush is a one-time event, both part of strategies for larger destination resorts.

      This post was about a small, local hill becoming a “winter hub for the valley”, not a large destination resort becoming a four-season business.

      • Vincent Carriuolo

        Thanks for the reply. I don’t know if I’m in any, “camp.” You’re a great marketer, that’s for sure.

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