Those words at the end of the title are ones I’ve thought about many, many times over the years:
“______ who happens to ski.”
For example, I’ve tied them to individual skiers to in an effort to explore whether our guests really consider themselves skiers or if skiing is just one of many things they enjoy doing. And I’ve pondered on whether our focus on skier celebrities is great for strengthening our community, but limiting our growth outside of it.
It’s that latter point I want to process a bit today.
We certainly have skiers who have become so incredibly good at what they do that their fame extends beyond the confines of our industry. During the olympics they’re the top stories but even during non-Olympic years there are moments, like Mikaela’s record breaking 2022/23 season, that make it into the larger public eye.
But these are fleeting and often limited to a single moment in time when one person does something that most skiers will never do.
Yet every month of every winter season there are famous people from other industries – industries much bigger or mainstream than ours – that happen to ski. Skiing isn’t everything, but it’s a key part of their life. In this way, their stories are not only vehicles to carry our sport into new markets, they also bring a much more relatable message than someone flying down icy slopes at 70mph.
As you watch the first 5-6 minutes of that video, notice how similar his skiing experience is to yours and mine, notice how he talks about the way it’s part of his life, and notice how easily skiing could carve out a positive place in the minds of racing fans who only know Lance on the race track.
The same was true for when Justin Bieber was learning some new skills on the snowboard, this clip framed our sport at a very real, accessible level…
…and also received more likes than many major resorts receive in an entire season.
I love all the content we make about our fellow skier celebs, but I am a huge fan of both the way skiing is portrayed and the markets that are exposed to our sport when skiing is the setting for these stories.
Stories of celebrities…who happen to ski.
Moving beyond the core skier as we search for stories is a simple idea, but, even on the scale of a local ski area telling the story of someone who is only famous within their 50,000 human population? It think it’s a really interesting one for our sport to explore more often.
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