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Copper Launches Sherpa and Renews the "Can You Sell Secret Stashes" Discussion

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If Siri were Nepalese, she might be named “Sherpa”.

Released just last week, Copper Mountain’s new app is aimed to act as a personal guide to their mountain. Here’s the launch video:

The response has been mixed. YouTube commenters seem to share a common perspective:

“This is beyond uncool. Get rid of this app Copper Mt. Stay Real!”

“I don’t want to ski at any resort that uses this.”

“I hope some anonymous hackers are also copper locals and will do their civic duty and crash this app everyday of the season until you stop giving tourists from Texas knowledge that has taken years for locals to gather.”

“Worst idea ever, local knowledge should stay local knowledge. You have just ruined the mountain for those of us that have called copper home for decades. How is it a secret stash if every Jo schmo can find it not from skill and experience but with the help of your retarded app. Allowing beginners that sacred knowledge is completely against everything skiing was bases on.”

On Facebook and Twitter, the feedback carried a more positive tune:

“I’m happy to see my favorite mountain stepping up their game! Awesome!”

“Great work Copper! Can’t wait to use it!!!”

“Very cool!”

But a few of the commenters shared similar concerns:

“What if we don’t want other people to know about the “locals only” powder stashes and secret glade entrances? Knowledge of the mountain is something that should be earned over time and through experience not downloaded.”

“Yet we still have to pull our passes out of our jackets to get on the lift.”

“By making it more enjoyable for people who spend a week a year here you ruined it for those of us who ski 50+ days a year.”

The angst is, once again, centered on the balance of selling the stashes that would make your mountain more appealing to destination guests without sparking backlash from the locals.

Selling the App
The thing is, when you watch the promotional video, very little in terms of actual app usage suggests that the app would be giving away secret, insider information:

  • “Look for fresh snow along the treeline…”
  • “Groomer is opening at noon…”
  • “Traverse skiers left then drop in…”

It’s actually the narration in-between that sends that message.

  • “It’s locals only insider information…from secret powder Stashes and glade enterences to…”

Copper has also replied to some of the negative feedback saying that “because Sherpa is geo-aware, skiers and riders need to be in a proximity to get the audio…[so] secret spots are safe.”

The Line
Even then, Copper recognizes the line that they are walking and, along with it, have hinted at what’s to come.

“We realize the inherent nature of skiers to hold on to their “stashes” close, so we will leave it up to each individual to choose what they want to share and who they want to share it with. As Sherpa is developed and updated in future years, we will open the content creation up to the public and you will be able to choose whether you want to share your secrets or not.”

Within a couple years, it sounds like we’ll have something similar to an on-mountain, active Fourquare system that will let skiers geo-tag and share things that other skiers can then discover through this location-aware guide as they cruise the mountain.

An innovative idea and I’m very interested to see how it shakes out…especially with the locals.

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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