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Sunshine Village Offers the “Ultimate” Twitter Contest Reward

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I know, I know, you were expecting a Google+ post today after the launch of business pages yesterday. Sorry to disappoint, but I’m going to watch how the first week pans out and post an update then. Deal? In the meantime, if you’ve setup a Google+ page for your resort, please take a sec to let me know.

What is the ultimate perk for skiers? In August I proposed that maybe it is skiing a day early, depending on your location it could be exclusive access to powder or a long list of other benefits. But to continue my own argument, there is something about being able to ski before everyone else that lets some skiers brag and the rest of us jealous. This is at the core of a contest Sunshine Village just started on Twitter. Here’s how it works.

  1. Change your Twitter profile background to one of 4, contest-approved images (#1, #2, #3, #4)
  2. Tweet using the hashtag #WinSkiPassesB4OpeningDay
  3. Have a chance at winning one of five pairs of passes that will be valid the day before opening day from noon-3pm

That’s it. If you are local and want a chance to win tickets, the deadline is a week from today at noon. Speaking of chances, when I checked yesterday at noon ET, only 20 people had entered. Pretty good odds.

What I Like
I really like the basis of the concept. The prize is unique, gets your attention, and has a viral element built in. Props for giving it a go. It’s got all the making of a great contest, except for…

What Might Be Missing
I think there are a few things missing with this contest.

Entry Mechanism – Having a Twitter user change their background image would have been much more effective, say, a year or two ago, when people still visited profile pages en masse. However, between mobile use, apps (think Hootsuite), and the “new” Twitter that shows a user’s basic profile in the right sidebar, background images just don’t get seen like they used to. ¬†Also, why not require they @mention Sunshine Village or require their info link to be included in the tweet so others know how to enter?

Wording – “Win Ski Passes Before Opening Day” is a bit confusing. To me is says that the winner will get to win passes now rather than after they open, as if somehow contests for free passes don’t exist once the resort is open. I would probably have said, “Win Private Skiing the Day Before We Open” or, to clarify the current line, “Win a Ski Pass Valid BEFORE Opening Day.”

Timeframe – As far as I can tell, the contest started mid-day on Saturday. With only three days to promote it, the promotion simply didn’t have time to build on itself and really catch on. Luckily, yesterday brought the announcement that opening day, including the contest deadline, was pushed back a week. Bad news for skiers, good news for marketers.

Design – Maybe this is a reflection of the last-minute nature of the contest, but the design looks a lot like a Halloween poster. A bit more time on the design could have helped folks take it a little more serious.

Arena / Size – For a contest that has such an exclusive reward requiring lifts to be turning and staff to be on hand, Twitter seems to be a bit small for an Arena. I’d love to see it extended out to every one of their web profiles. A contest like this could be HUGE. Entry mechanisms could be:

  • Become a fan on Facebook to drive Facebook counts (fangate an email entry form on a tab, Facebook’s guidelines shouldn’t push you to other sites if you want to hold a contest, they just need a bit more ingenuity)
  • Join your e-newsletter
  • Post a link pointing to your resort’s website on their own blog / website for SEO
  • Opt-in to your text alert list
  • Buy a season pass and be automatically entered
  • etc.

Give out 5 pairs of passes on each outlet and let each of your various online profiles drive the buzz. You’d still only have 50 people on the mountain which would keep it exclusive.

The Bottom Line…
I love the prize, but for something that exclusive and that buzz-worthy, given time to blossom and pushed through more channels with a the reward/offer clarified a bit, this could be intense. Let’s remember it is the first go around I’ve seen for this type of concept. Maybe a few more rounds will refine the system.

  • Woohoo we made Slopefiller news! You are so right on one point which answers a bunch of your other points and that is that it was last minute, but hey I only started a week ago lol. I suggested this idea on Friday afternoon and was impressed that our Management here at the shine was able to ok it within less than 24 hours…especially coming from the new guy haha! So we just missed the newsletter that went out. We would have loved to have just made this a Facebook event but are being careful not to break Facebook guidelines. But we still want to drive traffic to our FB which is why the contest details are on our tab…and it's working. We've had so many Shares and RT's so far and our follower count has spiked. One pitfall we've run into, however, is that Twitter has a bug and is making it difficult for people to change their background so we're thinking of axing that part and just saying to tweet the hashtag #WinSkiPassesB4OpeningDay. Luckily, or unluckily depending how you look at it, our opening date is pushed back a week so that gives us more time to make this buzz! Great suggestions for us fine tuning this for next year. Keep watching because we've got some pretty fun stuff coming this year.

    • GreggBlanchard

      Shawn, I figured there was a tight timeframe this was squeezed into. Yeah, don't be afraid to use Facebook, there is still a lot of potential there. When you use a fan-gated tab with an email sign up form, you not only grow Facebook fans but opt-ins as well. Nice work for being so fresh on the job, looking forward to what you come up with! Feel free to pass stuff along if I don't notice it. Good luck!

      • If you view that tab as a non-fan, however, it does have a nice little graphic with an arrow encouraging followers to like!

  • Powdermonk

    Hello Gentlemen!

    Great stuff here to think about today. One element that might be missing. Mentioning the moment, and describing it with some detail (as the winner). Create even more reasons for your fellow skier & boarder to identify what they are missing, by not entering the contest. A mandatory description of the moment (by the winners) would help drive up the value of the contest in the future.

    Great job working within the moment and timeframe! Keep up the pursuit. This time of year is pressing for most resort Marketing Departments. Good stuff.



  • Ya earlier in the week we gave out a couple of SnowFest tix, all they had to do was tweet why they loved Sunshine Village with the hash tag #SunshineVillage and we actually got it trending in Calgary. It just seemed too soon to duplicate that.

  • Just a quick update on this, we had around 450 entries, even more RT and shares and an increase of Facebook followers of 7.96% in just over a week. Twitter followers was roughly the same increase as well as learned some of some ways to fine tune it next year.

    • GreggBlanchard

      Shawn, thanks for the update. Great work!

  • Pingback: Resorts, When I Say Social Isn’t About Your Fan Count, This is What I Mean : Ski Resort Marketing -

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