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An Open Letter to Skier Entrepreneurs: Fix Problems, Don’t Create New Ones

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Dear Skier Entrepreneurs,

I get it, you want to be involved in a start up. You want to build something, cut ties with employeeship and start on the path of be-your-own-boss-hood.

And what better place to start than skiing? Everyone says to “follow your passion” and you love the snow – a match made in heaven.


Before you “jump in with both feet”, take a step back and first ask yourself what problem you are solving. If the answer is a sly, Steve Job-esque, “skiers don’t even know they have this problem…yet”, please, please, please reconsider.

When the White Cupboard Inn revved up that Model-T-powered rope tow in 1934, they were solving a problem: hiking up the hill took a long time and a lot of effort. Then, resorts couldn’t guarantee snow conditions or season length for their guests until snowmaking came along.

Today, there are so many problems that need to be solved – stagnant skier visits, the cost of skiing, loss of baby boomers from the sport, insurance costs, knee injuries, global warming, small ski areas closing, competing vacation alternatives, etc. – that there’s little value (except to your own bank account) in creating, and solving, new ones.

When Liftopia launched CloudStores, they were solving a problem: outdated, poorly converting ecommerce platforms and distribution.

There has never been a reliable way to get a powder forecast for local mountains but Joel Gratz is solving that.

Resorts have much to share but are scattered in small numbers across the country. NSAA and SAM Magazine bring those ideas and practices together.

Valuable resort data is often siloed and innaccessible: Corey Ryan is tackling that, something I’m lucky to have been invited to be part of.

You know how the classic entrepreneur’s mantra is to dream big?

Do it!

Dream beyond a nifty app that you might be able to suck some ad revenue out of.
Dream beyond a t-shirt with a catchy ski-phrase screenprinted on the front.
Dream beyond another website where the exit strategy is the monetization path.

Dream up a BIG solution to a BIG problem.

That’s what I’m pleading for. Use your creativity, your drive, you never-say-die attitude to tackle one of the industry’s hairiest challenges.

New ski companies are born every month. Outwear brands are everywhere. More run tracking apps will pop up every season. We already have those, we need solutions that can help our industry thrive and you can be the one to make that happen.

Do that and the success you are yearning for will follow. I promise.


Gregg Blanchard

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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