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What I'd Do
It’s Green, It’s PR: a Simple Idea for Filling Slopes & Reducing Impact

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GREGG
BLANCHARD
       

Normally Wednesdays are where I talk about what I’d do. Today, I’m turning over the reigns once again to Alex Kaufman to talk about what he’d do after an idea came up during a conversation last week.

The amount of green talk throughout skidom is exhaustive. We see it everyday. Non-profits founded by pro skiers, resorts coming up with all sorts of ways to hype their bio diesel (insert any other commendable but globally minor initiative here), etc. In the end this is a business built on the wealthy travelling long distances to locations cut into pristine wilderness so that they can enjoy a sport that consumes an obscene amount of fossil fuels to provide.

Sure we “raise awareness” better than most, but at the end of the day, we can accept that we’re enjoying ourselves in a way that is not exactly on the honorable side of anyone’s carbon footprint.

Now that we’ve covered our general hypocrisy, and the author is fully a part of it as well, let’s chat on another green initiative to add to the mix that helps a little bit and provides a useful marketing angle. It’s simple and takes on one of the grossest parts of skiing’s impact.

Moving On
Carpooling. We all know carpooling is a simple and effective strategy for being less of a meanie to the planet. And of course the ol’ carload Friday type deals have been around a while. But I’m talking making carpooling part of your resort brand DNA. You’ve got season passholders centralized in certain cities. Make it easy for them to carpool with each other if they’d like.

Offer an online portal of your choice for your passholders to ride share / gas save (login with FB profile and pass # to reduce anonymity?). I’m not a developer, but I’m confident that’s not impossible. Lay a suggested ground rule that ride getters provide $10 to the ride giver so the topic is less uncomfortable for both. This is all much like the band Cake does for carpooling to their concerts. Sure you’ll need some disclaimer language to not be liable, but you know how to do that.

Of course there’s a fear of ride sharing (what about a crazy guy!?!), based on lore not data and the author being an historical Colorado mountain hitchhiker might tint my glasses a bit, but should fear keep this from being tested? Hope not.

Making it Happen
If it starts slow, that’s ok. Best to let it grow organically via those that care the most about it. But make no mistake; resorts and resorts alone are the ones with the keys to make this possible for the thousands of cars we put on the road everyday.

Sure, this works better at drive market ski areas, but there are plenty of you out there. And short of building that magic monorail on I-70, you folks outside of Denver should be willing to try anything, Epic or not.

In a month, you might just have some useful PR, skiers that appreciate your sincere efforts, the best skier to car ratio in the industry and a brand attached to caring about the planet. No need to bring up your nightly diesel bill for grooming.



  • Corey Ryan

    Kirkwood actually tried this back in ’07 to very limited support. http://www.skinet.com/ski/lake-tahoe-resort/2007/11/kirkwoods-innovative-carpool-blog-begins. It’s an idea with merit, but may take more marketing effort or incentives to get going.

    • Interesting. Sounds like they had some solid partners and each with some form of incentive, but perhaps not enough to motivate the effort required to find a ride.

      • AK

        Creating key locations for pickup and drop off, like near Golden Colorado or I93 x 128 outside Boston would also be a key factor in launching. Expecting people to figure out door to door style is too high a bar.

  • Kevin Forrest

    Interesting idea. Lots of people participate in “slugging”, or casual carpooling, especially in the D.C. area. The Pentagon in famous for it, I am sure resorts could figure it out. Why not have HOV parking at ski areas?

  • Pingback: Pseudo-Prediction #4: My Lingering Worries Over Skiers & Climate Change | SlopeFillers()

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