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A Really Interesting Lesson I Learned from Arapahoe Basin’s Winning Opening Day

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As a snowmaking nerd, the Race to Open has always fascinated me. I’ve watched it unfold enough times to know that once certain resorts hit certain points, it’s fairly straightforward to predict when they’ll open.

The nerd level even reached the point that, using past years as my benchmark, I predicted within a few hours when they actually announced it.

But wait, there’s more.

A Look Back
But wanting to review the craziness after the fact, I went one nerdy step further by writing a script that saved their webcam image every five minutes between 8am and 4pm:

Looking back over the first few days I tweeted one of my takeaways.

Sounding more harsh than insightful (which was not my intention), let me explain this idea a little bit further because there’s a really important lesson hidden inside.

The Lesson
Humans share what we do. From cave paintings of the hunt to today’s social landscape, it’s our nature. It’s why when we saw a celebrity on the way home, the first word out of out mouth once we open the door are, “you won’t believe who I just saw…”

Along the way, this desire to share has created the motivation to do shareworthy things. But let’s hypothesize for a moment that there is a directly relationship between our ability to share and the motivation we have to do shareable things. As the ability increases, so does the motivation.

For example, I don’t think this guy would have walked across China…

…if he didn’t have a way to both record and share his experience. I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am.

Back to Ski
So as my fears that we’re creating spectators of skiing rise, the silver lining to me is that watching skiing isn’t as shareworthy as going skiing.

The reason people took Friday, Oct 17 off of work was not just to go skiing. If that was their sole purpose, they would have used that vacation day on Monday. People took Friday off and braved hour-long lift lines to be able to SAY they were the first to go skiing. Compare that to lift lines on Monday morning for the potential power in changing skiers behavior on a weekday.

Because an opening day is one of many things that people do at resorts for the sake of telling people they’ve done it. As spectating increases along with sharing, creating shareworthy experiences – opening days every day, as it were – may be the future of how we package and sell this sport.

Some food for thought.

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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