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Place, Preseason, Permission, and Pent-Up Demand: The Power Behind Brighton’s Bone Zone

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As winter ramps up, I wanted to retell the story of one of the Utah’s strongest ski-related brands.

It’s not a resort, it’s not a lodge, it’s not a media outlet or organization or campaign, in fact it’s something that only exists when the host resort is closed. It’s the brainchild of Brighton Resort and it’s something called the “Bone Zone.”

At first glance the concept – an early season rail setup before the resort opens – doesn’t look like anything too novel or intriguing. So why is it getting so much attention?

Well, let’s get to the heart of the matter with a few Ps.

P1: Preseason
The preseason is a gold mine for pent up demand. Skiers and snowboarders, quite literally, can’t wait for enough snow to slide on.

In other words, skiers love the preseason.

P2: Parks
One of the huge benefits to skiers and riders of the terrain park movement is the ability to take advantage of those small, early-season snows. They’re a perfect fit for satisfying that September urge to shred.

In other words, skiers love preseason parks.

P3: Place
But where do you build your setups? If you’re like a lot of professionals in Utah, you do it secretly in the backcountry on forest service land.

And you do that secretly because it’s, well, you know…building rail gardens is not something you’re actually supposed to do on public lands. And if you did it on Guardsman Pass during the last decade, you called your Stash the Bone Zone.

Not a bad setup, eh? But, being such a sweet, publicized place, it’s little wonder why the forest service found it and tore it down.

In other words, skiers love preseason parks, but need a place to have one.

Enter Brighton
So two of those pros got an idea (words from Jared Winkler in the TWsnow story):

“Alex Andrews and Ted Borland had the idea of taking the Bone Zone out of the forest and making it legit by building it on private property. So their first thought was Brighton…For pre-season, from first snow fall to the day we open, it will be located on our bunny slope area called Explorer….The plan for now is no passes needed.”

The wheels were set in motion and suddenly all the Ps came together when – are you ready for this? – a PR person provided pros permission and a place to produce a preseason park.

The Gist
I guess technically it was probably the GM (but having a former pro snowboarder as a marketing/PR director probably didn’t hurt), but they simply, and this is the important part, saw something riders cared about but couldn’t fix, realized they had to power to create a solution, and made it happen.

As is often the case, the angle wasn’t found in what they did necessarily, it was found in why they did it. It’s found in the Bone Zone being brought back to life in a place where it can live (and be ridden) in peace.

Great work by Jared and crew for not only making this happen but seeing the value in doing so.

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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