I’ve had this question before: what happens when you expose those “top secret” pow stashes as a product or promotional piece?
Do you piss off locals?
Do you make more sales?
I first took a look at this idea in 2011 with Heavenly’s “Tahoe Stash” promotion. On the surface, it appeared the resort was screwing locals and passholders simply to add another layer of value to desitnation guests.
A sorta-local, however, saw it a little bit differently with his comment:
“I’m going to claim Heavenly local status even though I currently reside in CO. This is the mountain I literally grew up on. So I’d stand to be the most “jaded” local of them all with this, except they aren’t calling out the true secret stashes. All of the areas they call out have names and are on the trail map. They even have large on-mountain signs directing you to them.
I actually like the fact that Heavenly is calling these areas out. Maybe visitors will think that they’ve found the true local stashes…and will never know there’s dozens more.”
Interesting, eh? Maybe you can get the benefits of “revealing” stashes without stabbing season passholders in the back simply by revealing the stashes that are only secret to the family who skis at your resort 5 days a year, at the same time protecting the really good stuff by making these guests feel they’ve got the mountain in the palm of their hand.
I don’t mean to be deceitful, but I think you can provide some real value by showing some stashes without showing all or the best.
My first reaction to Park City’s Powder Club was the same as my initial reaction to Heavenly’s, especially after I read the copy:
“New for the 2012-2013 Winter Season is our “Powder Club”. Want to get in? There’s no membership required, you simply need to purchase your Powder Club lesson between 8:00 am and 8:30 am on any day on which the Resort has received six or more inches of new snow overnight. The Powder Club lesson will get you on PayDay Lift at 8:30am with up to four other participants and an instructor for a three hour tour with the inside scoop on our top-secret powder stashes, hidden runs and the best routes all over the mountain.”
It seems like a fine line to walk. Either the runs you share aren’t secret enough to warrant the price someone pays or they’re too secret and jade the locals. Same goes for quantity. Either you don’t share enough to match the cost or you share too many and lose a few passholders.
Is it possible? I think so, but it certainly carries a risk.
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