skip to main content

Does the Future of Skiing Lie in Smaller, Closer Mini-Resorts and Terrain Parks?

divider image for this post

With my DeLorean fixed and my flux-capacitor…fluxing, I thought I’d share another one of my ultra-accurate visions of the future of skiing. This isn’t directly a marketing issue, but certainly has implications. My prognostication stems from handful of trends:

1) Woodward & Freestyle Progression
Woodward is awesome. It gives kids a chance to progress faster than they ever could. And kids are dedicated to doing so, even after snow melts at other resorts. Just check out this photo from Boreal’s Summer Shred:

A white ribbon of Spring awesome that the campers shredded for weeks, honing the skills they learned inside the Woodward facility.
The Lesson: progression and frequent practice are super important.

2) Urban Skiing
Part of the draw of urban skiing is the unique obstacle factor. There’s something tempting about rails, walls, ledges, and gaps that weren’t built to be ridden. However, the other draw of urban skiing is that it’s right there, not a two-hour drive away. Bored on a Friday night? Find a new rail to slay. There’s a reason this segment from “All I Can” resonated with skiers.

The Lesson: if it’s closer, they don’t need a big mountain to be happy.

3) Early Season / Late Spring Hikers
With hardly any snow both before and after the season starts, kids are hiking and shredding mini-parks in droves. If you test out the guns on the lower part of your mountain, it won’t be two hours before a couple shredders have a PVC pipe they found in the dumpster setup as an impromptu jib. This pre-season pic of Mount Snow’s launch pad shows the crowds of kids that were ripping in October after the fan guns put down a few inches.

The lesson: these kids just want to be on snow – snow totals and vertical drop aren’t as important.

So, how do these trends collide? Let me tell you.

Small, Local Ski Areas
For all the planned expansion of resorts, I predict an equal shrinking trend during the next decade. These ski hills would be small (200′ – 300′ of vert, only a handful of acres), close to urban areas but far enough away that land is affordable (20 minutes-ish away, especially universities and major cities that feed major resorts), and terrain park and progression focused (jump and rail lines, air bags, outdoor foam pits, etc.).

A quick perusal of will show you that, years ago, many such areas existed (minus the terrain parks). So why would it be any different now? I think it’s half demographic and half type of skiing. Younger skiers focusing more on tricks than vert that want to ski every day to become like Brown, Wallisch, or Torstein.

So that’s my rock solid, iron-clad guaranteed prediction of the future of skiing. Agree? Disagree?

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.

Get the weekly digest.

New stories, ideas, and jobs delivered to your inbox every Friday morning.