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What If printed trail maps looked like this?

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A while back I saw this tweet and, to be honest, didn’t think much of it. I was busy, my brain was busy, my to-do list wasn’t getting any shorter and I honestly shouldn’t have been checking Twitter anyway.

But it lodged itself somewhere in my brain and patiently waited until a few moments ago when, as I was chewing on a totally different post topic, I saw this on my desk.


That is a trail map of Beaver Creek. The pink marker in the upper right is what I’d been using to track a similar quest to ski every run before I moved.

Three, Key Pieces
As I think about this concept of challenging someone to ski every run at your resort, I find myself mentally latching onto three elements.

#1) Accomplishment
First, it gives something for your skiers to accomplish. Something to work toward. Something that gives them an extra reason to make one more trip this spring and a little bit of extra meaning to their turns as they do.

#2) Multi-Day
For some ski areas, the challenge might be doable in a day or even a morning, but more many it requires a bit of planning and quite a few days of skiing. The larger the resort, the harder it becomes. The harder it becomes, the more attractive it becomes as an accomplishment.

It also simultaneously plays into the “size” factor that skiers, as much as I don’t like it, are drawn to. For a resort like Killington that integrates sizes directly into their brand message, that’s a nice little side effect.

#3) Exploration
Perhaps most of all, however, is that it gets skiers out of their typically skied runs and onto new terrain. Not only is exploring a fun experience in itself, but it’s a great way to find new favorite runs. A fresh face on perhaps on mountain you’ve long been familiar with.

Anecdotally, my favorite runs and lifts at Beaver Creek were all disocovered on a day when, on a whim, I tried to ride every lift on the mountain.

A Thought
What if every trail map had a check box next to each run to not only allow this behavior, but encourage it. Suggested it.

Heck, we have the tech. With some extra code and work, SnoCru or Trace or Resorts Tapped could automate this process. Or take it a step further by allowing skiers to take a photo as proof with a perk for finishing it within a season.

Maybe it wouldn’t do much, but looking at my own behavior and what’s helped me have the best skiing experience, I think Killington may be onto something.

Food for thought.

  • skimaine

    my son did this with a highlighter for Sunday River this year. Almost has everything done. It is a real thing, this “achievement unlocked”.

    • That a kid. Hopefully he used something other than a crappy pink highlighter. I think I’ve skied a few runs twice because I couldn’t see my markings.

  • Chris Danforth

    That trail “Colon Caper” on your trail map graphic sounds like a doozy!

    • It’s sponsored by the Colon Cancer Alliance in partnership with the American Cancer Society.

      • Chris Danforth

        That’s a partnership I can get “behind!”

  • Gravnetic

    Maybe in the trailsmap legend, huh?

    • Haven’t seen too many maps from larger resorts that list out every trail name in the legend. If they do, though, that would certainly be an easy solution.

  • Karen

    Recently, I went to Steamboat for the first time. As usual, had my Trace Snow app running. A local took me out to his stashes and gave me the grand tour. We skied a lot very quickly (talking is for the lifts is our motto)–around 15K in 3 hours all around the mountain. Now, I don’t care so much about the vertical logged–I use Trace Snow to retrace my day. With pen in hand (no highlighter available), I took out the trail map to mark where I had been. A check box would have been easier! Although the goal wasn’t to complete all the black diamond trails, it was to see where I had been before and enjoyed, and to figure out the other places I wanted to return to and new places to explore. I would suggest green, blue, and black check boxes. :)

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