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These parks have no rails or jump lines, but they’re the reason I go to ski resorts.

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It’s no secret that I’m a keen observer of my own behavior, ever diligent in watching what you resort marketers do that influences me to visit your resort. Usually that has to do with tactics, but today I want to highlight a product. One simple part of the resort experience that got our young family (a key demographic gap our industry needs to address) out of the house and to your resorts.

For example, when you visit Vail with a young family there is one place you will inevitably find yourself stopping at. No it’s not the fancy ropes course. And it’s not the multi-million dollar gondola.

It’s this: Pirate Ship Playground.

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Tucked just outside the main village walkways and just East of Gondola One, this playground is one of the most popular spots in the village on a summer afternoon.

You’ve gotta admit, this is a pretty legit setting for a child’s imagination to run free, but it’s not just this park…it’s pretty much all parks.

My daughter’s new favorite place at Snowbasin? Again, not the gondola (notice her in the bottom right corner frolicking around while her boring dad tries to nap her brother on the slide).

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And what was the highlight of my nephews’ trip to Colorado nearly a few years ago?

Another Vail playground in Ford Park.

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In other words, when you look at the ways to improve your village or base area’s summer appeal in the coming years, I hope you’ll give a new park a look.

The cost is relatively low, it just what tired parents of energetic toddlers need when they come, and, if played right, can even be the reason they come in the first place as was the case with my sister’s family when they were nearby Vail a few weeks ago.

The pirate ship!

A photo posted by Bret Farrer (@berfonz) on

Don’t believe in the power of parks? Borrow a 3 year old and go on a roadtrip :)

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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