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Is Free Skiing the Perfect Marketing Plan?

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I’m always psyched to get a good deal on a lift ticket. My favorite deal is still 4-1 at Brighton during the first 3-4 Wednesdays of December. However, when a resort offers free skiing for a week (or more), now that’s just flat-out unbeatable.

According to the Bellingham Herald, 49 Degrees North, a family-friendly resort near Chewelah, Washington, offers free skiing for an entire week during April. As far as I can tell this is also the last week of their ski season.

A few years ago, if I remember correctly, Crested Butte was free to ski from the end of November to near Christmas time, enjoying the lodging revenues generated by the crowds rather than hoping to get by on the scant ticket sales that period of the season was offering.

Free is an interesting offering in the ski world. Likely impossible to offer for long periods of time, short stints are popular. On Veterans day at least 3-4 resorts offered free skiing to members of the military. A few of the benefits I see are:

  • Gets skiers out so they spend money in other areas (lodging, food, rentals, etc.)
  • Gets newbies out that haven’t skied prior because “it costs too much”
  • Gives locals a chance to ski on the cheap, increasing loyalty
  • Gets a lot of media exposure and PR for the resort

What else? What other resorts offer free skiing and why do they do it?

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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