I’m on my way home from a quick trip out to the NSAA West show at Keystone. There are a few things I’m reflecting on this week, but the one that stands out the most is Keystone’s new Bergman Bowl expansion.
Before I dig into why, let’s back up a little.
When skiers think about what they love about a day on the mountain, they’ll name a long list of things and feelings and experiences. Among that list, however, you’ll often find a pattern that has something to do with amazing views. While this is true even of midwest hills that provide one of the few elevated vantage points of the area, it’s especially true in more mountainous areas.
Getting a beautiful view of snowcapped peaks and oohing and ahhing at the scale of it all is something so many of us savor on the days we spend in the mountains.
Unless you’re a beginner.
I’ve talked about this a few times over the years and it’s not a hard and fast rule, but given the geography of many mountains the mellowest terrain is often down near the base and the gnarliest stuff is up toward the peak. In other words, a beginner skier misses out on some aspects of the experiences we enjoy because of skill, but they often miss out on this aspect of the skiing experience solely due to geography.
So when I watched this awesome launch video of Keystone’s new Bergman Bowl expansion and heard this line from GM Chris Sorensen, I couldn’t help but think this expansion was a really, really smart move:
It allows folks who are beginners to get above treeline. And there aren’t many places in the country that have that kind of terrain to offer.
Some people will never progress beyond a beginner skier. They either don’t have the fitness or they don’t have the opportunity to ski frequently enough. Expansions like this open up opportunities for this segment of skiers to experience something that’s often only reserved for experts.
It’s a brilliant move.
I think a lot of resorts could draw inspiration from this. Not just for big projects, but for the products they sell. If they have a gondola that goes to the summit, they could simply include a scenic ride with all beginner lift tickets or lessons.
However this idea is approached, I love the direction. I love things that give beginners more of the experiences that we love. The experience that keeps us coming back.
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