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How Gunstock Bought Priceless PR with Nothing but Burgers and Handrails

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The Road Trip Challenge is back.

If that means nothing to you, here’s the scoop from Freeskier:

“After months of anticipation, FREESKIER’s 2014 Road Trip Challenge (RTC) is here. This year’s rendition of the bout features Team K2 battling Team Nordica all across New England in a scavenger-hunt-style contest, in hopes of earning the coveted RTC crown.

Staying true to the 2007 debut of FREESKIER’s Road Trip Challenge, the rules for the seven-day battle were simple: Complete multiple unique challenges, both on- and off-hill, and gain points for each task completed.”

Some of those tasks are more benign, others, not so much.

Watch a few minutes of any episode and you’ll see a healthy dose of stuff from which a mother might shield her child’s eyes…if you get my drift.

The Tale
I mention this because I want you to picture the scene.

A bunch of freeskiers running on three days of no sleep and generous amounts of alcohol roll up to your resort. Do you:

  • A) Ignore them and hope they’ll go away.
  • B) Call the police.
  • C) Buy them food and build what park features they need.
  • C) Hook them up with free passes and call it good.

Before spilling the beans that were already spilled in the headline, here are the quotes that were jammed into a 60 second segment about Gunstock toward the end of Episode 4. Which response above do you think earned the quotes below?

“Gunstock is the best.”

“Favorite mountain so far.”

“This place is rad.”

And the answer is, “C”. According to 8:50 in the video below:

“We rolled up to Gunstock at about 8:00 at night and they just totally rolled out the red carpet for us. Our boy Bill brought us food to the RV, we had some burgers, the park crew setup whatever we wanted, and we just shredded laps.”

With a few burgers and some rails, Gunstock bought a place in the hearts of RTC viewers.

The Big Lesson
So let’s recap. A bunch of not-so-sweet-smelling freeskiers contact Gunstock either giving them a heads up and/or asking for their cooperation in regards to their Road Trip Challenge.

Faced with a decision to ignore and lend a hand, Bill Quiqley does neither and, instead, treats them like VIPs.

The result is clear and easy to see in hindsight, but there’s a huge lesson hidden in there about seeing opportunity behind appearances. I hope we don’t miss it. As I’ve said many a time:

“Instead of trying to say it all yourself, give people a reason to talk.”

That’s exactly what they did.

Huge props to Bill and the crew at Gunstock for seeing the potential in this one.

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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