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Low Snow Totals Bring Out Creativity in Western Resort Marketers

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Breaking news: the base depths at many resorts are freakishly low. If you need take a minute to recover from the surprise of such out-of-left-field news like that, please do so. Last weekend, rather than hit the slopes, I put my pass on the shelf and got my road bike out for a surprisingly comfy afternoon ride that took me to nearly 9,000′ on dry roads. The way things are is the way things are, however, so resorts are getting creative with the ways they are trying to convince skiers to ski despite the less-than-ideal conditions.

Mammoth Mountain
The Mid-Winter “Snow Guarantee” Pass
“Want a warranty on winter? The Mid-Winter “Snow Guarantee” Pass is on sale for a limited time. The Mid-Winter Pass is valid January 9 – February 10, including weekends, but here’s the catch…Starting January 4, for every day that goes by until we get a total of 24 inches of new snowfall, we’ll add another day to your pass for FREE! The Mid-Winter pass must be purchased by January 9. Bonus days are simply added to the end of the pass period.”

Pretty clever. Simplifying their value proposition, it’s a 30 day pass that doesn’t start counting until it snows 24″. I like it.

Deer Valley
Talk about the positives.
“The added benefit of this year’s capricious weather is that the harder ski surface has forced me to pay greater attention to my technique and to the tuning of my equipment.”
A positive view of bad snow: it helps you work on your technique.

Mt Bachelor
“More Terrain Open Than All of Northern California and Lake Tahoe Resorts Combined”

Even though Bachelor doesn’t have that much snow, compared to theirs friends to the south, it’s a goldmine. So, they let folks know.

Squaw Valley & Deer Valley
“Say How Great it Is On Mass Media”

I don’t know if CNBC was looking for a story or if the PR crews at Squaw and Deer Valley are going the extra mile, but getting on national television and talking about how great it is doesn’t hurt.

Other the other hand, this video doesn’t have such an optimistic tone:

Big Sky
“Ski Free With Your Epic Pass”
“Colorado & Tahoe skiing not so epic this season? We’d like to help. Home of America’s Biggest Skiing: Big Sky Resort is currently skiing on 3000+ acres with a vertical of 4,350 ft. We understand the passion for powder and invite you to come to the snow and ski with us this January.

Epic Passholders: Book your lodging with Big Sky Central Reservations and ski FREE in January 2012. Bring your not so epic friends and they ski for $74/day, up to two friends per day per passholder.”

A clever play on the use of “Epic” by Vail Resorts. You’ve probably already enjoyed seeing this one circulate. Heck, even Rob Katz, Vail Resorts’ CEO, has:

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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