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Half Reality Show, Half Ski School: Snowflex’s Trails to Rails

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GREGG
BLANCHARD
       

While much of the country is in a snowmaking frenzy, capitalizing on cold temps, Liberty Mountain Snowflex (part of Liberty University) keeps on riding as they have every day for years: on bristles. Without the need for snow, they have the freedom to do not only ski and ride every day, but do some pretty unique stuff when it comes to promotions and marketing. Take for instance their recent “Trails to Rails” program, as described by Ski School Director, Brent Blakeney:

“We’ve taken 15 students from Liberty University that have never touched skis or a snowboard before, given them each an instructor and two months and entering them in their own division in our semi-annual, DeMoss Rail Jam. Now this is exciting for us because this is a completely original even that shows the results of proper training and dedication and training that can take place at our year round facility.”

It’s a surprisingly simple, yet powerful idea.

Reality Show
Unfortunately, the only coverage of this program I can find is the video listed above. What I would love to see next time around is coverage from day one showing the apprehension of the newbies, then making their first turns, progressing to their first box, jump, rail, and finally competing in the event.

Testimonial for the Ski School
A ski school is supposed to teach people how to ski. What better proof can you have than video evidence of 15 people, who had never been on skis or a board, linking turns and sliding rails in just two months?

Residual Effects
Not only do you accomplish the two items above, but you’ve also turned 15 people into lifelong skiers and boarders. Now that they have not only become confident, but competed and proved a respectable level of riding, they’re bound to keep it up.

The more I think about this idea, the more I like it. With how powerful the idea is on each of these levels, I’m surprised this kind of content isn’t being used at every resort, even if it were just taking a random (or randomly interesting/attractive person, for the content’s sake ;) that came for a few lessons and charting their progress. It shows off your ski school, proves to hesitant non-skiers that they can quickly become proficient, and has all the attraction of a reality show if the content is given the right treatment.



  • Cool idea, but I question how many non-skiers/riders would ever see it. I don't think many noobs to the sport are searching YouTube for video evidence of a proven ski/ride school before taking a lesson. They have friends/family who convince them a lesson is the best way to learn. Personally I think BAF programs are much more effective. Of course, that's purely anecdotal. Liberty may be killing it with this. Would love to know

    • GreggBlanchard

      Matt, hope Mount Snow is treating you well, thanks for the feedback. There would certainly be a need to expand the way a resort's videos are traditionally shared in order to get this in front of the eyes of non-skiers. Simple sharing on social sites and organic YT / Vimeo views just wouldn't cut it like you said. But with content like this, paying to get these videos in front of your markets' eyes (on YT, a local news sites, etc.) would not only reach out to non-skiers, but remind those that don't come a lot what a lesson could do for them.

  • Walt

    Just a pity that 'snowflex' skis like ice and is sooo slow….

    • GreggBlanchard

      I've never had the chance to ski Snoflex, Walt, but there are some summer days where slow ice would be more than enough ;)

  • Thanks so much for the post about our trails to rails program here at LMSC. I wanted to say that we have video of these guys progressing from day one and its being chopped and mashed and hopefully will be out soon. I agree with the comments above (except Mr. Walt)and we accept any help/ideas on ways to better ourselves. Keep the comments coming! Thanks Gregg!

    • GreggBlanchard

      Casey, that's awesome, thanks for the heads up. When you get that all mashed up let me know, I'd love to see.

  • Brent Blakeney

    Hey this is Brent Blakeney. Thanks so much for the exposure of the event, I am really proud of how it turned out. Here is a 23min video that shows the finals of the contest and the results.
    http://vimeo.com/33455713

    • GreggBlanchard

      Awesome, thanks Brent!

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