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Nordic Valley’s brilliant, zero-budget solution to trail/lift status.

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GREGG
BLANCHARD
       

I love clever solutions to complex problems. I’ve covered dozens of them over the years. But today, man, today’s might just take the cake.

Here’s the thing: trail status widgets can get tricky.

For example, Winter Park’s is super fancy and breaks it down not just by number of trails groomed, but by zone on the mountain. The result is really impressive, but it’s also complex. Without some serious code-wrangling this doesn’t exist.

Snowbird’s is another of my favorites with simple controls to filter by zone and status. But, again, simple on the surface, complex behind the scenes.

So what do you do if you’re a tiny ski area like Nordic Valley (Utah’s smallest)? You want to show some level of granularity, but you certainly can’t afford the level of interface like a Snowbird or Winter Park or virtually any large resort.

A conundrum indeed, but one they solve beautifully.

Their Solution
So I haven’t been surprised by the lack of trail-level detail at small ski areas, but I was surprised when I saw this on Nordic Valley’s website this year.

It looks great, has all the info they need, and clearly fits their budget because…well…there it is.

So how did they pull it off? It all starts with a new feature in a tool you might recognize:

What you are looking at is an embedded, read-only view of a Google Sheets file. Yeah, it’s totally free to use, but think about this a little more.

The Backend is the Frontend
No need to reinvent the wheel, the place where you update status works equally well in read-only for the public-facing view. One interface, both needs met.

Easy Sharing Built Right In
Google Sheets is made for easy sharing, so putting this in the hands of anyone who needs access is dead-simple. Add them to the file or just send the link.

Mobile Friendly
The grooming crew can even update on the go because, yes, there’s a mobile app for Google Sheets. No cost, no work, just install the app and open the file.

Seriously
Seriously, this is one of the most clever solutions to a resort communications problem I’ve ever seen.

Hats off to my home mountain for turning their constraints into creativity.


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