The first day on snow was one of the most magical experiences of my life.
In one morning, skiing went from something purely aspirational to something I was actually part of. I’ll never forget that feeling of packing up our skis the night before, driving through Provo Canyon in the early morning light, walking up to the Sundance ticket office, and then seeing the lift for the first time. I was scared and giddy. I felt out of place in a place I’d always wanted to be. I was wide-eyed and excited.
But I want to point out something very simple but important about the moment in my life I just described: I still hadn’t put on my skis or experienced a turn.
Whether it is the day before our 1,243rd day on snow or the evening before our 1st day on snow, anticipation is a powerful, beautiful thing. We watch the forecast, we plan our day, we wax up our skis, we lay out our gear, and along the way we dream of what that day will hold.
For someone who skis 100+ days a year, anticipation may only be a small sliver of their skiing experience. But for weekend warriors or 3-5 day-a-year casual skiers – the vast majority of the names in your marketing database – anticipation if often just as much a part of skiing’s relationship with their hearts and brains as the actual sensations of being on snow and riding lifts.
Here’s the trick, though, the anticipatory emotions and moments before skiing are almost completely missing from our marketing.
Of all the great memories I have skiing, some of my favorites are rocking Depeche Mode with my uncle as we wound our way up to Brighton or watching for The Canyons sign to know we were almost there. I love my on snow memories, but my off snow memories are just as deep and meaningful to my relationship to the mountains I love and the moments that keep me coming back. I keep buying tickets not just for the day of, but for the days before.
And yet, when I look across resort marketing I just don’t see messages that speak to this side of the experience…if I see any at all.
Anticipation is something we all know and love in so many aspects of our life. There are traditions and moments leading up to the experiences we fill our lives with that mean so much to us. Things like:
Skiing has so many of these, but for whatever reason we don’t always remember to include them in the stories we tell, the visuals we share, and the messages we craft about the skiing experience. My challenge to you today is simply to take some time to brainstorm more narratives around this part of our sport.
Start with your own moments of anticipation, branch out and listen to others’ stories, and I think you’ll have some great ingredients for your upcoming campaigns.
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