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The marketing value of skiers calling it a day.

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Over the years I’ve come to love slow lifts.

No, it’s not some bit of nostalgia for the good old days or desire to avoid crowds (well, sometimes it was at Beaver Creek…Elkhorn FTW!), but rather it’s because it gave my legs a much needed rest.


One aspect of small skiing I didn’t mention a few weeks ago that proved to be really beneficial was the combination of smaller vertical and a slow double chair meant that my legs were almost always fresh. And fresh legs, it turns out, have more fun skiing.

They’re also less likely to get injured.

Which brings me to this picture Peter from Lift Blog shared a few weeks ago.

Taken at Steamboat, it’s a sign I’ve never seen at any resort I’ve ever skied.

#gondolafacts #free #scenic #restful #quick

A post shared by @lift_blog on

This is simple and absolutely fascinating to me. It speaks to two opposing forces we rarely discuss.

#1) Safety
First is the marketing value of safety. Of responsibility. Of getting people to have a great time, but do so in a way that keeps them fighting for another day and enjoying their last turns as much as their first.

#2) The Desire to Get Moneys Worth
Opposite to it are things like not wanting to be the “weak” one who quits early, but also opposed is the desire to get your moneys worth.

If I spend $100+ on a lift ticket but am tired by lunch, I’ll probably keep going so I don’t “waste a half day I paid for” even though the likelihood of injury likely grows exponentially with every run I make.

A Balance
What I love about this sign is that it seems to strike a balance between some of these demands.

It gives tired skiers permission to call it a day but it does so in a way that adds value to their experience (scenery, something that normally costs money, etc.) so it doesn’t feel like they’re flushing money down the drain.

Every skier that heeds this sign is a skier that will get the bottom safely and, by so doing, will be more likely to return.

Simple, creative, effective. A solid combo from the team at Steamboat.

  • WisSkier

    Good points. I am a “ski-small” skier and I can ski nearly non-stop from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm on my home hills. However, on my Whitefish trip that was definitely not the case and I probably took on too much on the first day out. I took the mountain tour, a break, and then some lessons. The lessons ended and I was holding on but we stopped on the final (and long) pitch of a run and I was done. I sideslipped (which has its own costs) down and made my way to the tavern for a PBR.

    The next day I made one run and knew I was not going to be skiing too much. I skied some easy greens and went in for the day. Got my camera out and walked around and took photos. I am sad that I walked away from 3/4 a day of skiing but glad that I WALKED away. In addition, getting that rest (the lessons too) set me up for ski-joy the next day.

    The next day was good (hell, I would say great with a fresh coating of boot-deep) and I skied most of the day, but that same thought about slow lifts hit me as well. I like the slower lifts as it gives my legs some recovery time. This day I was much more mindful of taking rests, going in taking some rest, getting some water, and a coke.

    Like everyone else I value slopetime, but I have come to love it all. I make special points of checking out the resort as a whole and a day on the big mountain is more about pacing than sprinting. I love that lifttime especially when shared with others (friend or stranger).

    Ski resorts would do well to be more forceful about that reminder and direct their customers into venues able to provide solid and sound rest. That path would not lead to the tavern but to somewhere else.

    I am a cyclist and watch my fatigue and fitness levels closely and know that time off of the bike, time resting, is time well spent and is in fact the time I get stronger.

    • Love that perspective, Mark.

      It’s an interesting balance for sure and one I think we’ve all wrestled with. I even did it on behalf of someone else when I had a pass but they had forked out $90 to ski with me. He was fresh and I was getting tired, but I kept going and about took a knee to the face as a result of wobbly legs on our last run.

      Lots of forces at play but an interesting challenge to consider from a marketing angle.

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