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Kids + competition + mountains = a winning combination for Northstar.

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My daughter just turned six. Which means that for the last two years we have heard, on almost a weekly basis mind you, the exact same question:

“When are you going to sign Callie up for [some sport or activity].”

There is something about kids sports that has gone from 0-60 on the list of how kids and parents spend their time.

Speaking of which, let’s talk about those parents.

The natural question is why. Why are kids sports such a big thing these days? Why are we getting asked this non-stop? Why are parents so willing to sit in camp chairs every night of the week?

I think there are two answers.

First, it’s good for the kids. Whatever the reason, kids don’t have the long leash we used to have. So it’s good to see younguns have a time to get outside, run around, and get kicked in the shins a bit.

Second, it’s fulfilling for the parents. One, because the parents are getting older and slower and it’s a sort of vicarious extension of their competitive natures. But it’s also just super fun to see the human beings you created work hard and succeed at something.

But you what question I ask myself more than anything with kids sports? Not, what can resorts learn from it. But what can we resorts do about it.

And to find that answer, you need only look as far as Northstar California.

This “Kids Adventure Games” concept is genius. It’s team-based, so it absolutely qualifies for the “learn team work” reason some parents put their kids in sports. It’s challenging but not risky, so it also qualifies for the “help them learn to do hard things” reason as well.

Just check out the tagline:

Work Together. Embrace the Challenge. Enjoy the Adventure.

That’s money, but it’s also based in the mountains so, oh yeah, it is best done at a ski resort.

It’s sorta like a cross between summer camp and team sports.

Parents gets the thrill of seeing their offspring compete, kids get to do something challenging, and everybody gets to stay in resort lodging along the way (the event takes a full weekend).

It definitely feels like one of those “test, tweak, try again” situations, so maybe there’s an even more brilliant concept like this yet to be rolled out, but I really, really like the direction Northstar is taking this one.

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