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Let the Million Dollar Ski Resort Marketing Race Begin

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Last year I did a quick interview with John Sellers, Marketing Director of Loveland Ski Area, about the drama that is the race to open each year. This media coverage from winning this race, according to John, “is in excess of a million dollars and that is the biggest perk of being the first to open. It is exposure that we can’t afford to buy.”

With Loveland’s countdown already started up this year (just 52 days until snowmaking begins), I thought I’d share this interview again, as well as bring up this idea of countdowns. The other day on Twitter I noticed a few people scoffing at some “100 days until opening day” notices that had popped up. And it’s legit. Summer operations are still in full swing with many weeks or months left of mountain coasters, lift served biking, and concerts.

So, I guess the questions is: when is it too early to start counting down to winter?

It my book, as soon as the snow melts I’m open for a countdown. Unfortunately, my survey of one is not very representative of the industry as a whole. Is July too early? Is October or November too late? Or does it even matter? Will summer lovers ignore the countdown? Do countdowns even do any good?

The real question, of course, is who will win?

  • Sunday River, again. Obvi.

    • GreggBlanchard

      I wouldn't be surprised if they were the first in the East. My money is on Loveland overall though.

  • Jon Slaughter

    we are gunning for Loveland this season. Boreal has been right on their heels, but I have a feeling about this season.

    As for count-downs. I think now is a great time to begin, coinciding with the drop of the magazine 1st issues, and the release of the videos teasers. if the industry is creating a wave for us, we should jump on it.

    • GreggBlanchard

      Great point about the timing, Jon. It does seem a touch early to me, but like you said, if the wave is there, ride it.

    • Chris

      I agree with Jon about timing. The vast majority of our customers want to hear about snow from us, not how great our greens are playing right now. In our situation, I think we need to balance our summer messaging with what most of our customers really want to hear about – the winter season.

      • GreggBlanchard

        Chris, thanks for the feedback. That's interesting to hear about golf already taking the backburner to skiing in the minds of your customers.

  • Boreal is going to sneak up on the giants soon and win that race. But on the other side of winter the same results can be had. Two years in a row now we farm snow in April/May for summer shred. Summer Shred is a full lift serviced terrain park in July. This year July 23rd to be exact with 20plus park features in mid winter form minus the warm weather and soft snow. We draw a crowd on par with opening day and get play on the AP, CNN and Weather Channel not to mention the facebook, vimeo, youtube wave that hits afterward as all the shredders post their gopro edits…I swear you cant shake a stick in a Cali terrain park these days and not hit a gopro or two or three…they are everywhere all of the time.

    • GreggBlanchard

      I love the snow farming idea. Seems the joy of skiing wears off around mid-April for a large chunk of the market when all they are skiing is ice in the morning and slush in the afternoon. By June/July, though, the bug is back which is perfect timing for your summer shred. Brilliant stuff.

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