When it comes to growing skiing, the word “free” always comes to mind. It came to mind at MTS, and it came to mind 30 minutes ago. Since then, I’ve done a little math of a few free-skiing offers that came to mind or showed up in a Google search.
West Virginia Ski Free Day (Snowshoe)
Customer Appreciation Day (Mt Hood Ski Bowl)
Free Ski Day (Brian Head)
First, I used the “Most Popular City” from each resort’s Facebook fan page and found the distance from there to the resort as an average drive length for a skier, divided it by 30 mpg and multiplied that by $4.00/gallon to find the gas money required to snag the free skiing for some of the core market.
Then, I grabbed the cheapest full-day rental prices from their ski shops assuming that first-timers drawn by “free” probably don’t have their own gear.
Tacked on a full day of meals on the road ($15) and for a “free” day of skiing, the day could cost them:
A cost that doesn’t include a helmet ($8-$10), winter clothing they may not have ($30 rentals at Skibowl), and anywhere from 3-6 hours of driving “opportunity cost” that day.
So, Does Free Work?
The short answer is this: I have no clue. I’ve had a lot of “growing the sport” ideas lately that hinge on it so, in many ways, I want it to work. But when push comes to shove, I have my doubts for a few simple reasons:
So, I guess I’m opening it up and asking for your feedback. Do you think free can grow skiing? Is it enough to get people to spend the other cash necessary to get on the snow? Or is it just getting people on the hill once or twice who could never afford to be consistent skiers?
Or something else entirely?
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