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If you could change one thing about skiing, what would it be?

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I’ve asked this question a handful of times to a handful of people. Sometimes it’s a bit of a rant, sometimes it’s a bit more thoughtful and measured, sometimes it’s a small realistic thing, and sometime’s it’s the impossible. But every time I think it starts an interesting discussion.

So, today, I’m asking everyone this question to hopefully start some interesting, off-season conversations.

I’d love to keep the conversations somewhat tied together, so if you have something you’d like to share try to reshare/common on the original LinkedIn post and tweet. Or, if you don’t use social or would prefer to not attach your name to it, use this anonymous Google Form and I’ll round those up for a follow up post.

I’ll start.

What I would change about skiing.

My answer to this question changes often, but, today, if I could change one thing about skiing it would be this:

I would require every large ski area to sponsor a small, feeder area.

Being only a feeder is a tough business, not because people don’t want to learn how to ski but because you never benefit from the long-term, generational loyalty that large resorts enjoy from that core skier segment. Feeders need a constant stream of people interested in trying skiing, large resorts mainly fight over the pie created by those feeders.

The crux, however, is that large resorts have the largest influence on how many people are interested in skiing but, because their bottom line is much less dependent on it. In other words, they can make decisions that are good for their business now even if those choices create perceptions that may hurt the number of people who are interested in skiing long term. And I say “may” intentionally there, we aren’t sure what the long term impacts of all the headaches that have been created by parking, lift lines, pricing decisions, etc., but if there is a negative impact the smaller resorts will feel that much sooner than the larger mountains do.

These sponsorships could be a long list of things like:

  • Revenue sharing for new passholders who learned at the feeder
  • Share / hand-me-down equipment the smaller area needs
  • Take on or share HR, etc. work / costs
  • Once one resort gets open, lend snowmaking, etc. teams to help the feeder
  • Lending marketing expertise / skill / time
  • Promoting the feeders pass / lesson products below theirs on the website
  • Regular marketing messages to the large resort’s database promoting the feeder
  • Work together on orders for common needs to help feeder get volume discounts

Whatever form they take on, they’d be a visible reminder of where all those skiers are coming from that would hopefully be more present in larger resort’s brains as they make big decisions, but either way their support would help ensure those feeders have a more sustainable future along the way.

So, that’s the thing I would change (today). What would you change?

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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