skip to main content

Season Passes
Powder Mountain’s quantity-based pass sales offering even more insight than usual.

divider image for this post

The way Powder Mountain sells passes is really, really cool. And it’s just one of a handful of marketing tactics they use that I really enjoy following.

And while it’s hard to trace their season pass sales through the murky waters of the industry shutdown of last March, they’ve been one of the few to spring to life with pass sales in April. And with their limits on pass sales, the numbers are worth taking a quick look at.

Quick Recap
A few things to know about the way Powder Mountain does season passes.

  • They cap pass sales at 3,000
  • From Mar 6 – 19, only current full passholders can buy passes
  • From Mar 20 – April 2, full passholders, night passholders, and waiting list members can buy passes
  • From April 3 onward, anyone can buy a pass.

The timing with COVID fell right in the middle there, so let’s see how this played out.

Update 1: April 2 – 1,300 Passes Remain
Clearly they got a really strong start with their “current passholders only” sale that started 6 days before COVID started to take down resorts. From that moment until April 2, they’d sold 1,700 passes. This was a sort of “last call” for passholders and those on the waiting list.

Update 2: April 3 – 1,100 Passes Remain
Almost, sure enough, exactly 24 hours later, this tweet went out stating that passes remaining were now dipping under 1,100. So in a day, PowMow was able to sell about 200 passes suggesting that there were folks who got distracted by coronavirus news but were ready to buy when PowMow was able to get their attention again.

Update 3: April 9 – 1,000 Passes Remain
Six days of “open to everyone” pass sales later, another 100 passes have been sold which comes out to about 15 per day.

Rewind: April 15, 2019 – 700 Passes Remain
Keep in mind that last year about this same time, PowMow shared on Instagram that under 700 passes remained. Do the math, at 15 passes/day for another 7 days, PowMow is likely around 850-900 passes remaining. In other words, a bit behind last year but not a massive gap.

Given the circumstances, I think there are a few lessons here.

First, COVID is going to make a big impact on pass sales. Obviously we need to embrace that.

Second, there are still folks out there willing to buy.

Third, I think the key here is finding those people and getting in front of those people without hassling other skiers who aren’t in that same mindset.

Raise Their Hands
PowMow has taken a little bit of heat from their followers, but not a ton. And nothing you wouldn’t expect. But by my math, they’ve also sold $250,000-$300,000 worth of passes this month as well.

The alternative is looking for ways to only market to the group that’s ready.

  • Jon Slaughter at Sugar Bowl had an email sign up form on his season pass page to let that group raise their hands
  • Others simply have their passes for sale and make it easy to find for those who are looking
  • I still think using browsing behavior to target emails (“if they visit the season pass page, send an email”) is a great opportunity

Whatever route your resort takes, kudos to Powder Mountain for just getting out there, trying to make it work, and sticking to the original strategy so we could all follow along.

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.

Get the weekly digest.

New stories, ideas, and jobs delivered to your inbox every Friday morning.