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Ski Resort Websites: 7 Before & Afters from 2011’s New Designs

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GREGG
BLANCHARD
       

With lots of resorts updating their websites, I thought I’d share a few before and afters to see what was done to improve their online real estate. Some were amazing, others not as much, and more are launching here in the next few weeks (part “2” of this post will come soon) but here they are for your viewing pleasure.

Note: GNPWIR is not a rating for overall design, just improvement over the previous design.

Borealhttp://rideboreal.com
Design: BottleRocket
Gregg’s Near-Perfect Website Improvement Rating (GNPWIR): 8.2
The old Boreal site felt dark are hard to read. The new site is clean, simple and looks rather sharp. They didn’t go overboard with design elements and ended up with a great new look for Boreal.


Whitefishhttp://skiwhitefish.com/
Design: ?
Gregg’s Near-Perfect Website Improvement Rating (GNPWIR): 4.6
The new design has a new layout that fits the typical ski resort website template, but overall, the design didn’t really improve much. They’ve used the wood background in a lot of their ads which might be why it survived the redesign, but I think that element may have been forced a bit.


Sun Valleyhttp://www.sunvalley.com/
Design: In House
Gregg’s Near-Perfect Website Improvement Rating (GNPWIR): 2.5
Once again, I don’t see a huge improvement in the design and layout of the new Sun Valley site. Mostly just a facelift as many of original elements were preserved, but the dark colors and background don’t quite fit a resort whose name includes the word “Sun”.


Sugarloafhttp://www.sugarloaf.com
Design: Joe Myers
Gregg’s Near-Perfect Website Improvement Rating (GNPWIR): 9.1
I think Joe did a great job in transforming this narrow, outdated site into an innovative, clean design. One thing that I was surprised was missing is a vacation booking form. That’s not really a design element, but was an interesting item to leave out. Great use of large images while keeping navigation and functionality high.


Liberty Mountainhttp://www.libertymountainresort.com/
Design: RTP
Gregg’s Near-Perfect Website Improvement Rating (GNPWIR): 8.6
The new site looks great but it did take me a couple visits to realize that “Find Your Liberty” was actually an expandable element and not a headline. I like the use of colors, simple text, and layout. Really sharp design.


Copper Mountainhttp://coppercolorado.com/
Design: ?
Gregg’s Near-Perfect Website Improvement Rating (GNPWIR): 5.0
Nothing too terribly new, just adjusting the layout to match the above mentioned industry template of an image that is the full width of the content and a few tweaks to the rest of the layout. They did well to keep their retro theme while refreshing the look.


Brightonhttp://www.brightonresort.com
Design: Joe Myers’ Evil Twin
Gregg’s Near-Perfect Website Improvement Rating (GNPWIR): 0.0
The site, in my opinion, isn’t much of an improvement over their old site, if it is at all. The thing that rubs we the wrong way it that the design is almost perfect copy of Squaw Valley’s website. Jared and the Brighton marketing team may want to have a little chat with their designer. Take a look:

Brighton’s

Squaw’s

Overlaid

At least the designer was nice enough to switch which side the sidebar was placed on.

UPDATE: Joe was able to speak with both Brighton and Infobytes (the designers, if you can call them that) and posted details and specifics on his blog:
http://www.joe-art.com/blog/2011/10/hackjob-my-work-gets-plagiarized/


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