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Vail Takes a Page from Strava’s Book, Adds a Nice Little Achievement Booster Called “Challenges”

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Sometimes as trends develop, we focus too much on the trend itself and not WHY the trend is happening in the first place.

This is especially true for a movement often described as “the quantified self” or, in other words, technology that measures and records everything we do (something we’ll likely cover during a Ski Tech Panel I’m moderating in Frisco, CO in a few weeks – Summit County-ians, I’d love to see you there).

But why has this become a thing? Look a little deeper and it gets interesting.

Meaning Meaning
Humans, in one way or another, all tend to look for meaning in their lives. And one of the most straightforward, guaranteed ways to find it is through achievement.

What technologies like FuelBands and FitBits have done is take what yesterday was normal activity and turn it into an achievement. You may have walked 20,000 steps the day before you bought a FitBit, but the buzzing lights, alerts, smiley faces, and emails at 10,000 steps today turn this into an achievement.


With more meaning from once mundane aspects of living, it’s little wonder why these technologies have caught on. We get more meaning with no extra effort.

We Need More
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, skiing could use a little bit more juice in both the achievement and meaning departments.

Killington has done a great job of building an achievable, meaningful brand for their skiers through their “100 Club“, but EpicMix has also been building similar principles into their platform since its inception through pins, numbers, and leaderboards.

The latest such addition takes a page from services like Strava with something called “challenges”.


Here’s how it works.

Step #1) Dedicated Icon on Home Screen
Challenges are found right on the home screen of the EpicMix app. These are also available from the EpicMix website.


Step #2) Challenge List
Some challenges span multiple (or all) resorts while others are limited to single mountains. The number of participants is listed for each.


Step #3) Challenge Details & Stats
Clicking on any one challenge will give you participant stats followed by a “join” button.


Step #4) Confirm & Share
A message confirms you have joined and encourages social sharing.


Step #5)
Monitor your progress from the original challenge screen.


So far I haven’t seen any messaging that is specific to my progress toward any one challenge. And, in a lot of ways, it appears many of these are simply pins that have been rebranded as challenge.

A smart move considering how long some pins take to achieve.

Good Stuff
Like with a FitBit, these challenges and pins add the label of “achievement” to things that, in previous years, went unnoticed.

And, in so doing, quench at least a tiny bit of that skier’s thirst for meaning.

We don’t have much outside of 100 clubs and EpicMix right now, but with our gamified society becoming more so every year, The Quantified Skier may need to become more of a “thing” before too long.

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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