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Using Skier Data and Sherpa’s Concept, EpicMix Just Rolled Out a Really Intriguing New Feature

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Last year Copper Mountain rolled out an app and concept that was simple, clever, and as I discovered first hand, really effective.

This year, their neighbors seem to have noticed because Vail Resorts has taken much of the same underlying concepts (automated assistance and guiding) to build a new, extremely intriguing product on top of the data they’ve been gathering for the past half-decade.

They’re calling it EpicMix Guides.

The Low Down Low
Here’s how Kirsten Lynch described it in the release:

“Skiers and riders can input what kind of skiing they like to do, what kind of terrain they want to explore and how much time they have available, and EpicMix Guide provides a custom itinerary to help them navigate the mountain in a care-free way, maximizing the fun they’ll have that day.”

The inputs they’ve identified are:

  • Desired resort
  • Starting location at the resort
  • Terrain difficulty desired
  • Length of time available

Rather than build an engine that dynamically creates any one of an infinite number of guides, it appears they’ve create 350 guides already (about 35 per resort) and written some logic to select the best match.

Why This is Brilliant
I think I can highlight the value with two simple steps. First, take a close look at the teaser image they tweeted with the news:

Second, think about your 10 favorite runs at your resort. Now, think back to your very first day ever on the mountain. How many of those runs did you ski?

If you’re anything like me, virtually zero unless you skied with a local…which is kind of my point.

These guides will give everyone who rides any of these mountains for the first time (including the 50,000 new Epic Pass holders this season) a much better experience and, perhaps more importantly, greater confidence in their experience faster and in a way that’s totally automated.

Same Story
The feedback has been the same as it was with Sherpa, the same as it was with Park City’s powder guides, and the same as it was with Heavenly’s stashes: locals get scared their secret stashes will be revealed. But, time and again, we are reminded that the local’s favorites are safe and it doesn’t take much to show a destination skier something new.

So Facebook comments like this:

S. Wiley: “Horrible, horrible. Another reason not to support vail. Thanks for giving away “20 years of experience.” The locals are really going to appreciate this.”

Are always outnumbered by the people who see it for what it really is.

N, Webb: “If a run has a name and is on the trail map, it’s not a secret”

B. Harkins: “Very cool and useful for destination skiers. Locals shouldn’t be worried, no chance VR is going to take you anywhere but well marked runs, the true stashes will remain insider knowledge.”

J. Stewart: “Yes. Please continue to direct guest on clearly marked runs.”

True stashes are safe, crowds are spread out, new runs are discovered, the experience is improved, and everybody wins.

With other questions still unanswered (“Are the directions only on the screen or is there an audio prompt? Will I get a pin for finishing the steps?!?!”), I’m very interested to give this a try come December.

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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